The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new flu vaccine, specifically geared for patients age 65 and over. The Seqirus’ Fluad is the first flu vaccine to include an adjuvant, a compound that helps vaccines work more effectively. Fluad has been used in other countries since 1997, and is currently in use in 38 other countries. It should be available for distribution in the United States in 2016. Seqirus, the maker of Fluad, is a new company that formed through the merger of drug giant Novartis‘ vaccine department, and bioCSL, another flu vaccine maker. Seqirus is now considered to be one of the leading vaccine manufacturers in the world.
According to NBC News, Fluad is expected to work at least as well as the current vaccines on the market and may improve a persons ability to fight off the flu. Squlaene, the adjuvant found in Fluad, is an oil and water based additive that is said to improve the vaccine’s performance. Sequiris says an adjuvant will help to increase the availability of the vaccine by increasing supply. Fluad was approved by the FDA using an accelerated acceptance process.
There has been some controversy in Italy however, as officials banned use of the vaccine after 19 post-vaccination deaths. The deaths were later said to not be related to the vaccine. On the Fluad insert, it notes that “if Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) has occurred within six weeks of previous influenza vaccination, the decision to give FLUAD should be based on careful consideration of the potential benefits and risks.”