New vaccine type to be widely available for next flu season

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 28, 2013

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The Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 16 approved a new form of trivalent influenza vaccine that is made using an insect virus expression system and recombinant DNA technology. The vaccine, called Flublok, is approved for the prevention of seasonal flu in people ages 18-49.

Flublok will be widely available for the 2013-14 influenza season and is available in limited supply for the current season, said the vaccine’s manufacturer, Protein Sciences Corp. of Meriden, Conn. The vaccine has a shelf life of 16 weeks from the date of manufacture.

Unlike other flu vaccines, the new immunization is produced without using the live influenza virus and it is not grown in chicken eggs, the FDA said. As a result, Flublok can be produced quickly.

Although Flublok’s novel manufacturing technology is new for an influenza vaccine, it is used to make other FDA-approved vaccines, the FDA said. As it does with all flu vaccines, the FDA will evaluate Flublok annually before it is distributed for public use.

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