FDA Advisory Committee Discusses 2018-2019 Flu Vaccine Strains

MARCH 04, 2018
One week after the World Health Organization (WHO) published their recommendations on the strains to be included in quadrivalent vaccines for use in the 2018-2019 northern hemisphere influenza season, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) weighed in with their vote as confirmed by a Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

The following strains will be included in the 2018-2019 trivalent vaccine:
  • Influenza A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • Influenza A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
    Replaces A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus from the 2017-2018 northern hemisphere influenza vaccine
  • Influenza B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus (B/Victoria/2/87 lineage)
    Replaces B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus from the 2017-2018 northern hemisphere influenza vaccine
Quadrivalent vaccine addition:
Influenza B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata/16/88 lineage)

WHO officials acknowledged in their recommendations that the change to include the A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016-like virus is the result of the lack of activity against A(H3N2) viruses seen with the “egg-propagated A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus” included in the 2017-2018 vaccine. The WHO found that “recent A(H3N2) viruses were better inhibited by ferret antisera raised against the egg-propagated reference virus A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 compared to ferret antisera raised against other recent egg-propagated A(H3N2) viruses.”