Flu vax committee picks next year's virus strains after 2014 debacle
- The FD Vaccines and Related Biologics Product Advisory Committee sat down to determine which viral strains would be included in the 2015-16 flu vaccine, trying to improve upon this year's vaccine's dismal 23% effectiveness rate.
- It will include the same HINI antigens, based on the virus responsible for the 2009-2010 pandemic.
- There will be no change to the extra B used in quadrivalent vaccines.
Given the dismal failure of this year's flu vaccine and the increase in flu-related morbidity and mortality, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about how to choose the constituent strains for next year's vaccine.
When determining the mix of strains, experts look at factors, such as viral drift and how various viruses, including virulent strains, such as the H3N2 influenza A strain are reacting to this season's vaccines. There is a lot of math, combined with a lot of science, but there is still an element of forecasting and of doubt. Nonetheless, this process must continue until a universal vaccine becomes available.
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