FDA Approves Flu Vaccine For Coming Season
FDA announces the approval of 2008-2009 year's flu vaccine according to predictions made by health officials and scientists that the new vaccine for flu will be ready before the Fall flu season.
According to FDA statement, there are six flu vaccines all targeting A/Brisbane/59/2007 (H1N1)-like virus, an A/Brisbane/10/2007 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Florida/4/2006-like virus. Vaccines are provided by CSL Limited, Afluria; GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Fluarix; ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec, FluLaval; MedImmune Vaccines Inc., FluMist; Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited, Fluvirin; and Sanofi Pasteur Inc., Fluzone.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, flu seasons begins in October and lasts till May. Each year, flu affects from 5% to 20% of US population, leading to 200000 hospitalizations and 36000 deaths. Older people, young children, and those with health conditions are the most vulnerable ones.
Every year, scientists and health officials make predictions on which strains of influenza will be widespread during the current year. Based on these predictions, health officials decide, which strain of infection must be targeted by the year's vaccine.
Generally, the flu vaccine targets two types of A infection and one type of B infection, and researchers are changing only one strain of vaccine, but this year's vaccine has entirely changed the way of targeting flu and all three strains. During the past 20 years, scientists had 16 successfully predicted seasons. The other 4 seasons showed flu vaccine weakness, especially 2007-2008 season, which was the worst among the last 20 years.
After last year's failure, health officials and major organizations like FDA, WHO, and CDC were very hopeful to target all strains of flu infection and to provide with better infection prevention. They examined flu data of last year from all over the world and hope that this season's prediction will be better.