Abbott has recently launched a novel inactivated third-generation quadrivalent sub-unit vaccine for influenza, in India. The sub-unit vaccine which is designed to offer protection against 4 different flu virus strains claims to cause lesser side-effects. The vaccine has been approved for use in children from 6 months onwards, and in adults.
The new vaccine provides added protection against a second B-strain of influenza virus, compared to a single B-strain included in trivalent vaccines. The inclusion can help broaden protection, reducing mismatch in the vaccine strain and circulating strain of the virus in the blood. Thus the quadrivalent influenza vaccine is designed to protect against four different influenza viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
Influenza A and B, are currently the widely circulating viruses that cause flu outbreak globally and in India. The disease burden of influenza is substantial, and B viruses have been estimated to be associated with 25% of all influenza-related mortality.
According to recent research published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the quadrivalent vaccine is demonstrated to have superior immunogenicity when compared with the alternate- lineage B-strains in trivalent vaccines, also by exhibiting comparable safety. A sub-unit vaccine is also more refined as it undergoes a further step of purification and thus shows lesser side-effects when compared to split vaccines.
The inactivated influenza vaccine is beneficial in high-risk populations since it can be given to a larger set of people, such as pregnant women, including children, the elderly, asthmatics and diabetics and immunocompromised patients and exhibits a favourable safety profile compared to other flu vaccine types.
Influenza causes a respiratory infection in patients which is distinct from a common cold. The infection typically results in high fever lasting for 3 to 4 days, including symptoms such as headache, myalgia or muscle pain, exhaustion and severe chest discomfort and cough. It can cause serious complications in certain groups such as those with respiratory ailments, cardiac disease and diabetes, as well as young children and the elderly.
According to the National Center of Disease Control, influenza reported cases have increased about 5-fold in India from 5,044 in 2012 to 28798 in 2019.