GSK sneaks in second quadrivalent flu shot approval in time for this winter

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There will be four strains of the four-strain influenza vaccines circulating this season, with the FDA granting GlaxoSmithKline approval for a quadrivalent influenza vaccine for the second time in a year. The vaccine giant anticipates it will make a limited amount of the newly approved vaccine, FluLaval Quadrivalent, available for the upcoming 2013-14, in addition to Fluarix Quadrivalent which gained approval last December. FluLaval is delivered in multi-dose vials while as Fluarix is available in pre-filled syringes.

FluLaval Quadrivalent joins the four-strain club, members of which are MedImmune's FluMist Quadrivalent and Sanofi's Fluzone Quadrivalent.

Quadrivalent vaccines contain two of each influenza virus subtypes A and B, and health authorities hope the addition of the second B strain will reduce the risk of vaccine mismatch. The CDC has so far ordered 8.4 million doses of quadrivalent flu vaccines for this year's season, and vaccine manufacturers have begun shipping the vaccines to consumers.

The approval also marks the first time that all of Glaxo's flu shots are FDA approved for use in children aged 3 years and older, as well as for adults.

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