Manufacturers react cautiously to flu vaccine efficacy analysis

CIDRAP, Oct. 31, 2011

Companies that market influenza vaccines in the United States are reacting cautiously to last week’s meta-analysis that highlighted gaps in the evidence for the efficacy of the vaccines, with officials stressing that vaccines are still the best preventive tool and that the firms are working to improve them.

The meta-analysis, published last week in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, showed that evidence from the best randomized controlled trials (RCTs) indicates that flu vaccines have an efficacy of about 59% in adults aged 18 to 65. The authors emphasized that vaccines remain the best defense against flu, but that better vaccines are needed.

“The authors have written a good and rigorous paper that does support the use of current influenza vaccines while new vaccines are developed,” said Darryl Maher, MD, vice president, medical and research [of CSL Biotherapies]. “It would be disappointing if those most at risk from influenza complications were to lose confidence in influenza vaccination on the basis of the paper.”

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