South Korea approves SK's quadrivalent flu vaccine

Christmas was kind to South Korea's SK Chemicals after government officials on Christmas Eve approved the company's quadrivalent influenza vaccine, which can act against four types of flu with one inoculation. The approval was notable because the vaccine was made using the cell-culture method for the first time, according to the country's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

The approval follows one in November of a similar vaccine made by South Korea's Green Cross.

The two companies look set to take on drug giant GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), which has all but monopolized quadrivalent vaccine markets, according to a report in the Korea Times.

SK's vaccine production method is drawing attention because it can alleviate worries in people with chicken egg allergies and can be mass produced. The downside is that it is relatively expensive to produce.

A government official said South Korea would support the development and commercialization of the vaccines by both companies "to cope better with a possible flu pandemic and help the domestic companies get into global markets," according to the Korea Times report. 

- here's the report from The Korea Times