FDA already working on next year's flu vaccine

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The most common strain of flu now affecting people in Arizona, known as H3N2, is linked to a strain kids were exposed to in 1968, according to Michael Worobey, the head of the ecology and evolutionary biology department at the UA. While the H3N2 strain was included in the vaccine this year, the virus tends to adapt to the eggs, making it hard to formulate the right vaccine for the public.

Toward these ends, scientists at FDA are collaborating with colleagues at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to use a large database that includes details of the flu vaccines administered to four million individuals along with whether they were hospitalized for influenza or treated with antiviral medications for influenza-like illness.

It looks like the nasty flu season we've been experiencing is leveling off, according to the Maryland Department of Health.

About half of the children who have died were otherwise healthy, and most weren't fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. "Maybe the key thing is a virus can hurt you if it's quite different than what your immune system imprinted on that very first time you saw influenza as a kid". "It's all still occurring throughout the state, but overall, we're seeing a leveling off", she says.

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What might this information reveal? As I noted previously, the work conducted with CMS shows a preliminary finding that suggests the cell-based influenza vaccine might be somewhat more effective than the egg-based vaccine. We're also combing through the data to see if there are other reasons for why this season's vaccines were less effective against H3N2.

While this scientific work is underway, the composition of next season's flu vaccines will be the subject of an FDA advisory committee meeting March 1, 2018. World Health Organization has recommended changing two of the strains now contained in this year's influenza vaccines for the Northern Hemisphere.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is already taking steps to improve the flu vaccine's effectiveness for the next flu season, agency Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, wrote in a February 26 statement. "Clearly states that the vaccination is at least part of the problem if not the whole problem".

But certain age groups got better protection from the shot than others.

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"Pneumonia is a very common secondary infection that people get after having had the flu and you can only test for flu for a very short period of time", Anton said.

To help separate fact from fiction, The 74 recently spoke with William Schaffner, a doctor and infectious-diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, to learn more about how the virus affects children, teachers, and classrooms.

"We're planning for the flu all year", Powell said. "We are pleased that the ACIP has voted in support of a renewed recommendation for FLUMIST QUADRIVALENT in the United States and look forward to continuing to work with public health authorities to optimize protection against influenza", said Gregory Keenan, vice president of USA medical affairs for AstraZeneca, in a statement.

And researchers are working to make a better flu shot, said Meda Higa, assistant professor of biology at York College. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

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