Regulators approve new insect-based flu vaccine
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
- Unlike other flu vaccines, Flublok doesn't rely on eggs or the influenza virus
- Instead, it's made by growing a virus protein in insect cells
- This allows for more rapid production in the event of a pandemic, the FDA says
- The vaccine is available in limited supplies during the current flu season
(CNN) -- As flu season rages across the United States, federal regulators say they have approved a new kind of vaccine for the virus.
The new product, Flublok, which is available in limited supplies for the current season, is different from other flu vaccines, because it isn't made using eggs or an influenza virus, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
Instead, Flublok's production involves programming insect cells grown in steel tanks to produce large amounts of a particular flu virus protein, known as hemagglutinin, according to Protein Sciences, the vaccine's manufacturer.
Most human antibodies that fight flu infection are directed against hemagglutinin, the FDA said.
Flu vaccine attitudes abroad differ from U.S.
This method allows for more rapid production, making more of the vaccine available more quickly in the event of a pandemic, the FDA said.
Flublok, which is different from other flu vaccines, because it isn't made using eggs or an influenza virus, is approved only for adults ages 18 - 49.
"This approval represents a technological advance in the manufacturing of an influenza vaccine," said Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
It has already been used in vaccines approved for other infectious diseases.
Flublok is approved only for adults ages 18 - 49.
Flu activity is "elevated" in most of the United States, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said last week.
Inside a flu vaccine lab
Flu fear goes to Hollywood
Manufacturers said there was plenty of vaccine for those who want to get a flu shot. But there have been reports of spot shortages, Frieden said.
Flublok will be available in limited supply this winter and widely available during the next flu season, said Protein Sciences, which is based in Meriden, Connecticut.
Flublok contains the elements necessary to help fend off three different flu strains, including H1N1 and H3N2, the regulator said.
And it proved 44.6% effective against all influenza strains in circulation, not just those that matched the strains included in the vaccine, according to the FDA.
Flu vaccine poses no risk to unborn
Part of complete coverage on
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
An early and severe start to the flu season has many health experts concerned. Here are your top 10 questions, answered.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1425 GMT (2225 HKT)
As flu season rages across the United States, federal regulators say they have approved a new kind of vaccine for the virus.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1434 GMT (2234 HKT)
Fears and misconceptions often surround the flu vaccine: Does it really work? Will it make me sick? Could it hurt my baby?
Influenza activity is spreading, creating a moderately severe flu season in the U.S. Send us photos of your flu survival kits.
January 14, 2013 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
We can track flu outbreaks down to the county and determine much about an outbreak's severity and how the virus is spreading. But there's still much that's unknown about influenza.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1838 GMT (0238 HKT)
Parents of young children who get the flu may have a hard time finding an antiviral drug to help treat them.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1936 GMT (0336 HKT)
Flu vaccine myths can confuse people trying to decide whether to get a shot. Here are five common myths.
October 14, 2013 -- Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
You feel worse by the hour. Your joints ache, your head feels heavy, you can't stop coughing, you're freezing even as your temperature keeps climbing, your stomach is upset, even your eyes hurt.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 2133 GMT (0533 HKT)
With so much flu activity, it's important to protect everyone around you if you feel like you are getting sick. Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
How will you know if the flu has crossed the line to become deadly? CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has the story.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 2128 GMT (0528 HKT)
So you got a flu vaccine this season, and you've been reading about the flu epidemic. You might be wondering: Will the vaccine keep me healthy?
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1020 GMT (1820 HKT)
Carl Azuz talks to CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about how to prevent the flu.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1044 GMT (1844 HKT)
During the past few months, I have gently suggested to my patients that they receive the flu vaccine. Many said yes, but some declined.
January 9, 2013 -- Updated 2259 GMT (0659 HKT)
What do you need to know when it comes to flu germs? CNN's Lisa Sylvester reports.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1531 GMT (2331 HKT)
If you go to a doctor's office or hospital any time soon, you may encounter an uncommonly long wait.. This year's flu season started earlier, and health officials say it is more widespread and more severe than usual.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1248 GMT (2048 HKT)
The common flu rarely kills the young and healthy, but the Schwolert family knows it can.
Today's five most popular stories