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Revamped Flu Vaccines Approved by FDA

Agency Alters Vaccines After Virus Strain Mismatch in Last Flu Season
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Aug. 5, 2008 -- Flu vaccines for the upcoming flu season have been overhauled and approved by the FDA.

The FDA today announced that it has approved six flu vaccines after taking the "unusual" step of changing all three flu strains in each of those vaccines. That's what an FDA advisory panel recommended in February after last year's flu vaccine didn't match two of three main types of flu that sickened people in the U.S.

Flu vaccines contain three strains of the flu virus that disease experts expect to be the most likely cause of flu in the U.S. in the upcoming flu season. Flu vaccines change every year, but usually, only one or two strains change. This year, all three strains have been changed.

Two of those strains are already in use in the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is already under way, the FDA notes in a news release.

Will this year's flu vaccine be a better match to this year's flu bugs? There's always a possibility of a less than optimal match, but vaccination remains the cornerstone of preventing influenza, states an FDA news release.

The six approved flu vaccines and their makers are: Afluria (made by CSL Limited), Fluarix (made by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals), FluLaval (made by ID Biomedical Corporation of Quebec), FluMist (made by MedImmune Vaccines Inc.), Fluvirin (made by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited), and Fluzone (made by Sanofi Pasteur Inc.)

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