On January 16th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a new type of flu vaccine has been approved for use in the United States. Earlier in the 2012 flu season, the FDA approved another new type of flu vaccine that is grown in cells rather than chicken eggs, allowing for faster production and the possibility that the vaccine will be safe for people with egg allergies.
This new vaccine is unique because it does not use eggs or the flu virus in its production. Instead of using a killed or inactivated influenza virus, the new vaccine - which will be called Flublok - uses the active protein of the influenza virus that allows the virus to enter the body's cells. This is the first flu vaccine that is being manufactured this way, but there are other vaccines that use the same technology.
Finding new ways to produce flu vaccines are important because it will allow for faster vaccine production in the event of another flu pandemic. Since this vaccine does not require eggs or even the influenza virus, large quantities of it can be produced quickly to protect a lot of people.
- Read more about the new vaccine in the FDA's press release.