New studies help mold market for flu vaccines

Two new studies came out this week that could play a big role in shaping the market for seasonal flu vaccines. In the first, researchers found clear evidence that influenza is linked to a higher risk of heart attacks. The data should help spur new efforts to vaccinate everyone in that target population.   

In a separate study, researchers report in the New England Journal of Medicine that injectable vaccines hold a clear advantage over the intranasal FluMist vaccine when it comes to protecting adults from the flu. The investigators said that injectables prevented 50 percent more cases of flu than the intranasal version, which has struggled to gain market share in the U.S. But the study's author says that he prefers to use FluMist for children while reserving a jab for adults.

"We have two effective vaccines," Dr. Arnold S. Monto told the Los Angeles Times. "In children, I would prefer FluMist [intranasal vaccine], and in adults, injected, based on the data we have. However, an adult who does not want a shot should take FluMist." Monto also said that it's still too early to tell how FluMist is likely to stack up in the battle against swine flu.

For its part, MedImmune, which makes FluMist, says that the jury is still out on the intranasal vaccine's effectiveness in adults, noting other studies that indicate it is just as effective or more effective than an injectable.

- read the story from the Los Angeles Times