FDA picks current strains for 2011-12 flu season

Feb 25, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) vaccine advisory group today voted to follow the World Health Organization's (WHO's) lead in keeping the current three strains for 2011-12 seasonal flu vaccine.

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee helps guide pharmaceutical companies that will be making seasonal flu vaccine for the US market.

The WHO and FDA normally pick flu strains for the Northern Hemisphere in February, because it takes several months to develop vaccine viruses based on the circulating strains, grow large quantities in chicken eggs, and formulate them into vaccines.

Shelly Burgess, a spokeswoman for the FDA, told CIDRAP News that the vote on retaining each of the three strains was unanimous, except for one abstention on the 2009 H1N1 strain decision.

The strains chosen by the FDA panel today, according to Burgess, are:

  • For the H1N1 component, a strain similar to A/California/7/2009
  • For the H3N2 component, a strain similar to A/Perth/16/2009
  • For the B component, a strain similar to B/Brisbane/60/2008

The FDA and WHO recommendations also match the ones made by WHO's vaccine experts for the Southern Hemisphere's next flu season, which starts around May.

See also:

Feb 17 CIDRAP News story "WHO sticks with current strains for next flu vaccine"

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