Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi announced today that the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) for licensure of its four-strain influenza vaccine, Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine.
Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine is the newest addition to the Fluzone family of influenza vaccines.
Like Sanofi Pasteur’s Fluzone vaccine, which is administered to more than 50 million people in the US each year, Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine is licensed for use in children six months of age and older, adolescents, and adults.
The 2013 influenza season will be the first in which quadrivalent influenza vaccines will be available in the US. Until this year, seasonal influenza vaccines included only one B strain.
Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine includes two A strains and two B strains to help protect against influenza disease.
Epidemics of influenza B occur every two to four years in all age groups. Influenza B is a common cause of influenza-related morbidity and mortality in children and has been associated with pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses, nervous system disease, muscle pain and inflammation, and other complications.
In recent years, up to 44 percent of influenza-associated deaths in children and adolescents 18 years of age and younger were due to influenza B.
“Sanofi Pasteur is committed to providing new immunization options for the prevention of influenza to help healthcare providers meet the specific immunization needs of all types of patients, and we are excited to introduce Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine as an important new addition to our Fluzone family of specialized influenza vaccines,” said David Greenberg, MD, Vice President US Scientific and Medical Affairs, Sanofi Pasteur.
“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.”
Each winter, the strains for the seasonal influenza vaccines are selected from the influenza strains anticipated to circulate in the Northern Hemisphere during the approaching influenza season.
Seasonal influenza vaccines in the US contained only two strains (one strain of type A influenza and one strain of type B influenza) until 1978, when the decision was made to incorporate a second type A influenza strain to help provide protection against both A strains that were co-circulating.
For the past 35 years, influenza vaccines have been trivalent to help protect against three strains of influenza virus: a type A(H1N1), a type A(H3N2) and one type B. However, since the 2001-2002 season, two distinct influenza B types (the Victoria and Yamagata lineages) have co-circulated with varying prevalence, making it difficult to predict the next season's dominant B lineage strain.
In six of the past 12 seasons, the dominant circulating B strain was from the B-lineage not selected for the vaccine. Even in years where the correct B lineage strain was selected for the vaccine, some influenza disease was caused by the B lineage omitted from the vaccine likely reducing the overall vaccine effectiveness against circulating influenza viruses.
Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine will be available to healthcare providers in the U.S. for the 2013-2014 influenza season in prefilled syringes and single-dose vials for intramuscular administration.
These presentations of Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine do not contain preservatives and are not made with natural rubber latex.