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FDA Picks Two New Vaccine Strains for 2012-13 Flu Season


Lisa Schnirring, Staff Writer

Feb 28, 2012 (CIDRAP News) – An advisory group to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today selected two new strains for the 2012-13 seasonal flu vaccine, based on a recent recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Today's FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) vote allows pharmaceutical companies that make seasonal flu vaccine for the US market to proceed with their production steps. It takes several months to develop vaccine viruses based on the circulating strains, grow large quantities in chicken eggs, and formulate them into vaccines.

In considering the strains, VRBPAC heard detailed information from experts on circulating strains, US and global flu surveillance, and vaccine manufacturing. They also received updates on other technical issues such as vaccine effectiveness, vaccine response, and the availability of vaccine viruses and reagents.

They heard the most current information on the topic from Nancy Cox, PhD, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) influenza division, who recently took part in the WHO vaccine strain selection meeting in Geneva.

VRBPAC's vote follows the WHO's Feb 23 recommendation for next season's Northern Hemisphere flu vaccine, which included changing two of the three strains—the H3N2 and the B components.

The WHO recommended strains similar to the following for the 2012-13 season:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09, the pandemic strain
  • A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2), which replaces A/Perth/16/2009
  • B/Wisconsin/1/2010, which replaces B/Brisbane/60/2008 and is of the Yamagata lineage

The WHO also recommended that countries considering using influenza B Victoria lineage virus, either in trivalent vaccines or quadrivalent vaccines containing two influenza B strains, use a vaccine similar to B/Brisbane/60/2008, which is a component of this year's seasonal flu vaccine.

The H3N2 virus has dominated the Northern Hemisphere's flu season...

To read the full article go to:  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/influenza/general/news/feb2812fda.html

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