Flublok vaccine touted as solution to new flu virus threat

There might be a solution in the wake of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recent warning that the current influenza vaccine may not work this season after a new strain of the flu virus began circulating.

The new H3N2 strain is not included in this year's vaccines, but the technology used to make Protein Sciences' Flublok flu vaccine may be the answer, the company's CEO said Monday.

"A drift in influenza virus strain can effectively be addressed by a strong antibody response," Dr. Manon Cox, Protein Sciences' president and CEO, said. "Flublok contains three times more antigen than traditional trivalent flu vaccines and induces a stronger antibody response against the influenza A viruses and a comparable response against influenza B viruses. The H3N2 virus is an influenza A virus, and therefore we expect similar results to those observed in our 2007/08 clinical study, where Flublok was effective against drifted H3N2 viruses."

Flublok is the only flu vaccine made in a 100 percent egg-free system, making it unnecessary to use an infectious influenza virus or antibiotics in manufacturing.

“If the government deemed it necessary, we could begin manufacturing an H3N2 vaccine that matches the new circulating flu virus immediately and have it ready for release within a few months,” Cox said.

Flublok, FDA-approved for adults over the age of 18, is still available this season and is fully reimbursed by Medicare, among other insurance providers.

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