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News & Trends - Biotechnology

Seqirus secures extended paediatric indication for the first and only cell-based influenza vaccine

Health Industry Hub | December 14, 2021 |
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Biotech News: Seqirus, a CSL company, extends the paediatric indication for its cell-based seasonal influenza vaccine, Flucelvax Quad, which will be supplied for the 2022 flu season.

The four-strain vaccine is the first and only cell-based influenza vaccine available in Australia, approved by the TGA for use in adults and children two years of age and older. Flucelvax Quad will be available in 2022 as a private prescription.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Australia typically sees more children aged under 5 hospitalised with influenza than any other vaccine preventable disease.

Professor Terry Nolan, Head of the Vaccine and Immunisation Research Group (VIRGo) at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) and the Doherty Institute at the University of Melbourne, was the lead author on the study that confirmed Flucelvax Quad led to a robust immune response in children aged two to 18 years. He said he was pleased that the indication had been broadened to include younger age groups.

“Young children and older adults are at a higher risk for serious influenza-related complications than the rest of the population, so this indication is welcome news for healthcare professionals and their patients,” said Professor Nolan.

“Cell-based flu vaccine production is an alternative to traditional egg-based manufacturing where reference influenza viruses are grown inside fertilised hens’ eggs. Egg-based manufacturing can result in mutation of the influenza virus leading to a mismatch between the World Health Organization’s (WHO) selected influenza strains and the strains contained within the seasonal flu vaccine.”

“Cell-based flu vaccines, grown in mammalian (animal) cells, are designed to produce a closer match by avoiding egg-adapted mutations which may result in greater effectiveness in some seasons.”

Professor Nolan said cell-based vaccine technology may also offer additional advantages including increased scalability and production speed in the event of an influenza pandemic.

Dr Jonathan Anderson, Seqirus Head of Medical Affairs Asia Pacific, said there had been a major focus on the importance of vaccine science and technology in improving the health of all Australians in recent years.

“Seqirus has been committed to developing, supplying and extending the indications for Flucelvax Quad as part of our contribution to reducing the impact of influenza in Australia and around the world,” said Dr Anderson.

“We want to make sure Australians have access to cell-based vaccine technology. Flucelvax Quad offers a choice when it comes to flu vaccination protection and it is important for Healthcare Professionals to discuss options with patients before a decision is made.”

Dr Anderson urged to GP clinics and healthcare facilities to prepare for the flu season early and confirm their ordering plans.

“No-one really knows what kind of a flu season we might have in 2022 given that international arrivals into Australia will start up again. We’re already starting to see flu circulating in Asia and we’ve seen outbreaks in American Universities, so early preparation is essential to ensure adequate supply of suitable flu vaccines throughout the season,” confirmed Dr Anderson.

Availability of Flucelvax Quad in Australia follows Seqirus’ $800 million investment in a world-class cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facility in Melbourne.


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