February 21, 2018 / 9:00 PM / 10 months ago

U.S. health officials reverse stance on AstraZeneca's flu vaccine

FILE PHOTO: A sign is seen at an AstraZeneca site in Macclesfield, central England May 19, 2014. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

(Reuters) - AstraZeneca Plc said on Wednesday an advisory committee of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the use of its FluMist Quadrivalent vaccine in the upcoming flu season, reversing its earlier position.

In 2016, the agency advised doctors not to use the nasal spray citing data that demonstrated it was not effective at preventing influenza. (reut.rs/2sJavQ5)

The latest recommendation follows results from a U.S. study in young children that showed vaccines containing a 2017-2018 strain of H1N1 flu virus performed better than the 2015-2016 strain that had shown decreased effectiveness, AstraZeneca said.

The announcement arrives in the midst of the most severe flu season the country has experienced in decades. As of Feb. 3, 63 infants died this season, the CDC reported earlier, adding outbreaks were likely to linger for several weeks and cause more deaths.

The company said limited quantities of the vaccine continue to be available for the current season.

FluMist, made by an AstraZeneca subsidiary, was first approved in 2003.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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