AstraZeneca's FluMist Quadrivalent to hit U.S. market
The FDA has approved AstraZeneca's ($AZN) nasal FluMist Quadrivalent flu vaccine for use in people ages 2 to 49. Made at AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit, FluMist Quadrivalent contains two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B, and is the first to contain four strains of the influenza virus.
The company has compared FluMist Quadrivalent with its previous trivalent formulation of FluMist, and found that both have similar safety levels, and that adding in the second B strain did not affect its ability to trigger an immune response.
"According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the 2001-2002 season, influenza B viruses from both lineages have co-circulated in the USA," said Dr. Stan Block, FAAP, professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine in Lexington and at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
The extra strain of flu virus should improve FluMist Quadrivalent's efficacy compared with other marketed vaccines that include only three strains, and because it's a nasal spray it's preferred by people who don't like needles.