The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new flu vaccine that is made without using chicken eggs, meaning it is safe for people with egg allergies.
The new vaccine, Flublok, uses just part of the flu virus, a protein called hemagglutinin. It is put inside insect cells, which produce mass quantities of the protein as they grow. Current flu vaccines are made using whole flu viruses grown in chicken eggs.
According to Protein Sciences Corp, the company that makes Flublok, the proteins in the virus protect against three flu strains: two influenza virus A strains (H1N1 and H3N2) and one influenza virus B strain. It is approved for adults ages 18 to 49.
Side effects are similar to current vaccines, including pain at the site of the injection, headache, and muscle aches, according to the FDA.
The FDA adds that in a study of about 2,300 people who were vaccinated with the new drug, Flublok was found to be 44.6 percent effective against all strains of the flu virus.
While the supply for this year is limited, the company that makes the vaccine reports it will be widely available in the US by the start of the next flu season, this autumn. The company is applying for EU approval early this year.
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