New Influenza Vaccine Holds Promise of Faster Production of Vaccine for Flu Outbreaks

By Preeti N. Malani, MD, MSJ

A new approach to making vaccine that protects against  influenza virus is expected to enable faster production of the vaccine during an outbreak. (Image: Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC)

A new approach to making vaccine that protects against influenza virus is expected to enable faster production of the vaccine during an outbreak. (Image: Cynthia Goldsmith/CDC)

A new type of influenza vaccine approved last week by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers the promise of faster production of flu vaccine. The approach used to make the recombinant vaccine, which does not use eggs or influenza virus, allows production of large quantities of a key protein involved in immunity against influenza.

The new vaccine, called Flublok, was developed by Protein Sciences.

“This approval represents a technological advance in the manufacturing of an influenza vaccine,” said Karen Midthun, MD, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in a statement. “The new technology offers the potential for faster start-up of the vaccine manufacturing process in the event of a pandemic, because it is not dependent on an egg supply or on availability of the influenza virus.” Continue reading