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FDA Approves Sanofi’s Four-Strain Flu Vaccine

Update Date: Jun 11, 2013 01:52 PM EDT

According to Sanofi SA, a French multinational pharmaceutical company based in Paris, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new four-strain flu vaccine. This new vaccine, the Fluzone Quadrivalent, is supposed to give people better protection from infections in comparison to the older three-strain vaccines that are currently administered. Although this vaccine is not the first four-strain vaccine approved by the FDA, which recently approved GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Fluarix Quadrivalent in December, it will become one of the first new vaccines for the 2013-14 flu season.

The Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine will be available for all adults, adolescents and children over six-months-old. Along with Fluarix Quadrivalent, which is an injectable vaccine for adults and children over three-years-old, it will protect people from a wider range of infections. Traditional three strain flu vaccines currently protect people from the two most common A virus strains. It can only protect against one B strain. Although A virus strains tend to be more common, since 2000, two B strains have been circulating more frequently. The new vaccines would now be able to protect people from these B virus strains.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who are over six-months-old should be vaccinated each flu season. Around 226,000 people end up being hospitalized for influenza with the number of deaths ranging from 3,000 to 49,000 depending on the season based on Sanofi's reports. The company added that nearly 44 percent of the flu-related deaths tied to influenza B were young children and adolescents in recent years. Influenza B is linked to pneumonia and other potentially lethal respiratory illnesses.

These new vaccines aim to provide a wider range of protection next season.

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