SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016

FDA approves flu drug for those 65 and older

Fluad, a seasonal flu drug that contains an adjuvant, has gained first-of-its-kind market approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used by people who are over 65.

The drug is made from three separate flu strains using a process involving eggs, while adding the MF59 adjuvant, which is an emulsion of water in squalene oil. This type of oil is found naturally in animals, plants and humans. It’s purified, so it can be used in vaccines.

“Fluad provides another alternative for a safe and effective influenza vaccine in people 65 years of age and older,” Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said. “Immunizing individuals in this age group is especially important because they bear the greatest burden of severe influenza disease and account for the majority of influenza-related hospitalizations and deaths.”

Seasonal influenza is an annual problem, especially among the elderly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 80 to 90 percent of seasonal flu deaths occur in those above 65 years old, while 50 to 70 percent are hospitalized.

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