Vaccine: Fluarix Quadrivalent
Approval Date: Dec. 14
Protects Against: Influenza
Snagging the last FDA vaccine approval of 2012, Fluarix Quadrivalent from GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) will hit the market in time for the 2013-2014 flu season. Like FluMist Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent protects against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B. This increases the likelihood of health experts and vaccine manufacturers matching circulating strains with strains in the vaccine. Fluarix Quadrivalent is approved for use in children age 3 and older and in adults.
"So far this year, the CDC estimates that about one-third of B-strain flu cases have been caused by the B strain not included in this year's flu vaccine," Robert Perry, a GSK spokesman, told FierceVaccines upon receiving the approval. "Interestingly, this also means the strain protection choices made by the CDC for this year's flu vaccines were spot on; there's just an inherent limitation when you can only incorporate three-strain protection into a vaccine while there are four strains that cause illness that are circulating."
GSK, which already sells the FluLaval/Fluviral vaccine, will again jump into a market ripe with possibility. Only about 42% of people receive their flu shots--far below the CDC's target rate of 80%--meaning a large population remains untapped.