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Swine flu vaccines containing an adjuvant, or booster, are more effective at tackling the condition than drugs lacking the bolt-on, research has suggested.
A study published in the British Medical Journal found that a H1N1 antiviral containing the substance provoked a stronger immune response in children than treatments lacking the performance enhancer.
The use of adjuvants, which are designed to boost the body’s response to a vaccine, has divided health authorities in Europe and the United States.
While they were widely used in Europe, US officials stuck with the standard formulation without adjuvants for seasonal flu vaccines.
“I think this data is reassuring for countries such as the US which haven’t approved the use of adjuvants for influenza vaccines,” said researcher Dr Matthew Snape of the Oxford Vaccine Group at Oxford University.
The same study suggested that while the two main vaccines used in the UK – GlaxoSmithKline’s Pandemrix and Baxter’s Celvapan – both provided high levels of protection, the latter provoked a higher immune response rate, which is generally indicative of longer-lasting protection, in children.
Copyright Press Association 2010
British Medical Journal