Sanofi Pasteur has announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved its four-strain influenza vaccine, Fluzone Quadrivalent. Whilst trivalent vaccines used in previous influenza seasons contained two A strains and one B strains, a quadrivalent vaccine such as Fluzone will also offer protection against a second type B flu strain.
The 2013 season will be the first season in which quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available in the US. But Sanofi is not alone in the US quadrivalent marketplace. The company's newest addition to the Fluzone family will align itself against GSK's Fluarix Quadrivalent and AstraZeneca's FluMist Quadrivalent (Top 4 influenza vaccine FDA approvals). A key selling point for Sanofi's vaccine, however, is that it is licensed for use in children as young as 6 months, a good 18 months earlier than FluMist.
In 6 of the past 12 influenza seasons, the dominant circulating B strain was from the B-lineage not selected for the vaccine. David Greenberg, MD, Vice President U.S. Scientific and Medical Affairs, Sanofi Pasteur, said: "Protection against the type B flu strain may be an especially important factor that healthcare providers consider when immunizing children since influenza B causes a substantial number of illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths in the pediatric population."
If you want to know more about strategy and innovation in vaccines, you might be interested in attending the World Vaccine Congress Europe 2013, 16-17 October 2013, Lille.