Study finds AstraZeneca's FluMist vaccine effective, contradicts CDC

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In June, the CDC recommended against using AstraZeneca's nasal flu vaccine, FluMist, citing a lack of evidence regarding the vaccine's efficacy. Now, results from a new Canadian study contradict this decision and point to the vaccine's effectiveness.

In the study — published in Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday — researchers from the McMaster University in Ontario randomly assigned 1,186 children aged 3 to 15 to receive either the live nasal vaccine or the inactivate flu vaccine injection.

For the past three flu seasons from 2012 to 2015, 5.3 percent of kids in the live nasal vaccine group and 5.2 percent of kids in the inactivated vaccine group had confirmed cases of the flu, showing the two vaccine forms were equally effective.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices based its recommendation on data that showed the live nasal vaccine was highly effective until 2013, when the vaccine changed from covering three strains to four.

While the ACIP analyzed data using the quadrivalent vaccine, the Canadian study used the trivalent vaccine, which is like "comparing oranges and tangerines," Kawsar R. Talaat, MD, an assistant scientist at the Center for Immunization Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told NPR.

However, he new study's findings corroborate evidence presented to ACIP from three separate studies that proved 46-58 percent efficacy for the quadrivalent nasal vaccine in children.

Experts hold different views on how much — if at all — ACIP should consider the study's findings when they meet again in October.

London-based AstraZeneca has taken an $80 million hit since the CDC's ruling on FluMist.

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