The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the GlaxoSmithKline vaccine Flulaval Quadrivalent, used to treat seasonal influenza.
The drug is specifically intended for people three years of age or older to prevent the disease caused by flu strains A and B.
This is the second vaccine by GSK that has passed the FDA’s evaluation.
Its initial intramuscular quadrivalent flu vaccine, Fluarix Quadrivalent, was approved by the FDA last December.
Dr Leonard Friedland, VP, director, scientific affairs and public health at GSK Vaccines North America, said: "Since the late 1980s, public-health authorities have known that four primary influenza strains circulate each year causing the majority of influenza illness, but the influenza vaccines used for the past 30 years only covered against three strains."
He added that because of the limitations posed by previous flu vaccines, "global influenza experts have had to make a difficult determination around the strains each season to cover, and in six of the past 11 influenza seasons (2001-2012), one of the predominant strains was not included in the season’s influenza vaccines."
"Trivalent vaccines do reduce influenza risk even in years when a vaccine strain-mismatch occurs, though quadrivalent influenza vaccines are the important next step in broadening strain coverage," Dr Friedland concluded.
The consent by the FDA gives GSK permission to supply large amounts of Flulaval shots in the US, starting in 2014.
The mass availability of this flu vaccine, GSK believes, will allow them to meet the needs of healthcare providers who prefer to stock multi-dose vials of influenza vaccines.
Although FluLaval has been approved in the US, it has not been granted distribution permission internationally.
Image: Last year the FDA approved 39 drugs, up nine from the previous year. Photo courtesy of Adam Ciesielski.