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Vaccines committee approves recommended influenza strains for 2016-2017 vaccine




The Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee unanimously approved recommendations regarding the trivalent and quadrivalent influenza vaccines to be distributed during the 2016-2017 flu season.

The 14-member committee voted that the components of the trivalent influenza vaccine for the upcoming flu season should include an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus; an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus; and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus of the B/Victoria lineage.


Additionally, the quadrivalent influenza vaccine should include a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus of the B/Yamagata lineage as “the second influenza B strain in the vaccine.”

All four components correspond with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which announced its proposed components for influenza vaccines in the Northern Hemisphere on Feb. 25.

“I’m comfortable trying to follow the footprint of the virus we’ve seen today, quite elegantly put out in front of us,” said committee member Dr. Sarah Long, professor of pediatrics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, adding that she was “very pleased with what happened in the last year” regarding the predictions of dominant virus strains and the effectiveness of the eventual vaccine.

The proposed vaccine for next season differs from the one distributed during the 2015-16 flu season. While both vaccines contain the identical California strain of influenza A and the Phuket strain of influenza B, the 2015-2016 vaccine included an A/Switzerland/9715293/2013 (H3N2)-like virus in its trivalent form, and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus of the B/Victoria lineage in its quadrivalent form.

“Timely vaccine supply requires close collaboration and communication between multiple stakeholders to ensure sufficient provision of [a] well-matched vaccine,” said Matthew Downham, Ph.D., associate director of biopharmaceutical development, AstraZeneca. Timely strain selection will ensure “vaccine availability and usage” for the most widespread and effective coverage.

While the FDA is not obligated to follow the recommendations of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, it generally does.

None of the committee members reported any relevant financial disclosures, nor were there any waivers for conflicts of interest.

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