Wednesday the FDA approved a new flu vaccine that will take less time to produce.
The new flu shot innovates the way the flu virus is grown—rather than using chicken eggs (which prohibits people with egg allergies from getting the current flu shot), the new vaccine uses the flu’s genetic information along with a virus that infects insect cells. The new flu shot would not use the live virus.
This year’s bad flu season has put heavy demand on the flu shot—which likely influenced the approval of the new vaccine (it’s gone through years of testing to prove the safety of the new method).
One of the problems with all flu shots is the need to match them to the current flu season; since development takes so long, there’s a heavy amount of guessing. The new development method could reduce the need for guessing by allowing the manufacturing process to respond to the current flu season a little better. It also means that in the case of a worldwide epidemic a flu shot could be readily developed.
Flu symptoms can be deadly for those with weakened immune systems, which has affected the panic around this year’s flu season.
Did you get the flu shot this year? Did it prevent you from getting flu symptoms?