Oct 18, 2012
Sanofi files for FDA approval of quadrivalent flu vaccine
Sanofi Pasteur announced today that it has applied for licensure of a quadrivalent (four-strain) version of its Fluzone flu vaccine, containing two influenza B strains, and expects a decision from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the second quarter of 2013. The move is a response to the difficulty of predicting which of two type B lineages—Victoria or Yamagata—will be more common each season. "It makes sense to include both in the vaccine rather than attempting to predict which of the two will be the dominant strain," said David Greenberg, MD, Sanofi's senior director of US scientific and medical affairs, in a press release. He added that in 6 of the past 12 seasons, the B strain picked for the vaccine was not the predominant one during the ensuing season. The release noted that seasonal flu vaccines contained just two strains, one A and one B, until 1978, when authorities decided to recommend a second type A strain in view of the co-circulation of two subtypes (H3N2 and H1N1). The Sanofi move comes about 7 months after the FDA approved a quadrivalent intranasal vaccine made by MedImmune Inc., which is expected to be marketed in time for the 2013-14 flu season. Sanofi said its Fluzone quadrivalent vaccine is intended for everyone older than 6 months. The company is also working on quadrivalent versions of its other US flu vaccines, Fluzone High-Dose (for seniors) and FluZone Intradermal.
Oct 18 Sanofi Pasteur press release
Mar 1 CIDRAP News story about MedImmune's quadrivalent vaccine
U of Michigan offers 'digital encyclopedia' on 1918 flu epidemic in US
Students of the disastrous 1918 influenza pandemic can now turn to an extensive online collection of US materials about the event, which was recently unveiled by the University of Michigan. "The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918: A Digital Encyclopedia" includes more than 50,000 digitized pages of a wide range of records, from correspondence to newspaper accounts and photos, the university said in an Oct 10 press release. The site also includes a detailed essay about the course of the epidemic in each of 50 US cities. "This collection permits scholars to explore how the 1918-1919 influenza epidemic influenced many communities and sub-communities and how individuals and society responded to a health crisis of extraordinary magnitude," said Dr. Howard Markel, director of the university's Center for the History of Medicine, which developed the collection with help from the U-M Library's MPublishing. The project originated in 2006 with a joint project of the U-M center and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study nonpharmaceutical interventions used in 43 cities during the 1918-19 epidemic. That effort led to a 5-year collaboration between the center and the CDC's Global Migration and Quarantine Division to develop the online archive. The project also received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1918 Digital Encyclopedia home page
Oct 10 U-M press release