Washington, Mar 3 (ANI): The FDA has approved a first of its kind flu vaccine that protects against four influenza strains.
The FluMist Quadrivalent vaccine from AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit protects against two strains of influenza A and two strains of influenza B, and is approved for people ages 2 to 49. Similar to the previously approved FluMist, the new vaccine is a nasal spray that delivers weakened strains of the virus.
Previously, all flu vaccines contained two strains of influenza A and one strain of influenza B, chosen annually by medical experts based on their potential to spread the virus. Having an extra strain of influenza B increases the likelihood that the vaccine will protect against illness, the FDA said in a statement.
"Illness caused by Influenza B virus affects children, particularly young and school-aged, more than any other population," CBS news quoted Dr Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's biologics centre, as saying.
The severity of illness and death due to influenza varies widely from season to season, which is why vaccination is the best method of protection, according to the FDA. Between 1976 and 2007, flu-related deaths have ranged from an estimated low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people, the agency said. (ANI)
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