HHS Awards MedImmune Contract to Manufacture Live Attenuated Nasal Spray Vaccine for Novel Influenza A (H1N1)

June 12, 2009

MedImmune (Gaithersburg, MD) has been awarded a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contract to manufacture monovalent (single-strain) live attenuated influenza vaccine for Novel Influenza A (H1N1) to vaccinate priority populations identified by HHS in the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. An initial order of $90 million of vaccine has been placed, with the potential for additional orders.

MedImmune (Gaithersburg, MD) has been awarded a US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contract to manufacture monovalent (single-strain) live attenuated influenza vaccine for Novel Influenza A (H1N1) to vaccinate priority populations identified by HHS in the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. An initial order of $90 million of vaccine has been placed, with the potential for additional orders. This project has been funded in whole or in part with the Federal funds from HHS/ASPR/BARDA, under contract no. HHSO100200900002I.

MedImmune scientists have identified several promising vaccine candidates against the Novel Influenza A (H1N1) strain, and are currently evaluating their growth properties and antigenicity (i.e., their ability to stimulate antibodies) for mass production as part of the vaccine manufacturing process.

MedImmune’s live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) is different from the injectable influenza vaccine (flu shot) in that it is a mist sprayed into the nose, where the influenza virus usually enters the body. It contains live vaccine virus strains that are weakened so as not to cause the flu, but prompt the body to mount an immune response after the first dose. Because it is live and stimulates a broad range of immune responses, LAIV may offer some cross-protection against circulating flu strains that are “drifted,” which means they are very closely-related but not perfectly matched to the flu strains in the vaccine.

As a needle-free nasal spray, LAIV is suitable to facilitate mass vaccination, and has been widely used for school-based vaccinations and to help protect active-duty military personnel.