FDA approves combination vaccine for bacterial infections

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new combination vaccine for the prevention of the causes of meningitis and Hib disease.

GlaxoSmithKline manufactures the new combination therapy, known as MenHibrix, according to ABCActionNews.

Dr. Leonard Friedland, GSK's vice president of vaccines and clinical/medical affairs in North America, explained the significance of the FDA decision.

"In the United States, before the approval of MenHibrix, GSK did not have a licensed Hib vaccine for infants - GSK's US Hib vaccine, Hiberix, is approved for use in children 12 months of age and older - nor a licensed meningococcal vaccine," Friedland said, ABCActionNews reports. "Therefore, MenHibrix is in fact new for GSK and is not a combination of two existing vaccines.

"The vaccine also is the first and only combination vaccine in the United States approved to protect against both Hib and meningococcal diseases. To be very specific, there are two existing meningococcal vaccines available from other companies, but neither is approved for use in infants as young as six weeks of age, which is a very important distinction."

Children under the age of one year can now receive the same protection with four injections instead of eight.

Dr. Bob Sears, a California-based physician and author of The Vaccine Book, regards the combination as unneeded.

"The only problem is that the meningococcal portion is for strains C and Y - non-infant strains," Sears said, ABCActionNews reports. "Strain B is what hits and kills infants. But they haven't been able to make an effective infant vaccine for strain B. So, this new vaccine is completely unnecessary."