FDA panel recommends strains for 2013-2014 flu vaccine

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration committee recently recommended that the composition of the influenza vaccine for the 2013-2014 influenza season should be slightly altered from the current vaccine.

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee determined that the 2013-2014 vaccine should replace the A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus with an A(H3N2) virus antigenically similar to the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011 (A/Texas/50/2012) during a meeting on February 27. The committee also recommended the replacement of current vaccine strain B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus with a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus, Medscape Medical News reports.

The committee recommended retaining the current vaccine strain A/California/7/2009pdm09-like (2009 H1N1) virus for the next season's trivalent vaccines.

For quadrivalent vaccines, which are expected to be available for the upcoming season, the committee recommended the inclusion of the B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus in addition to the virus strains recommended for the trivalent vaccine.

The committee based its recommendations on global influenza surveillance data and the availability of candidate strains and reagents.

The recommendations of the committee matched the ones made by the World Health Organization for northern hemisphere influenza vaccines, Medscape Medical News reports.