Flawed splitting agent may be behind Fluvax reactions

A THEORY that a virus-splitting agent associated with clusters of adverse events globally was behind the high rate of febrile convulsions in children receiving Fluvax in 2010 is creating interest among experts.

Researchers from Australia and Canada suggest that suboptimal virus splitting during the manufacture of the trivalent seasonal vaccine could be linked to the adverse reactions.

The agent used, sodium taurodeoxycholate (TDOC), was known to sometimes leave viral DNA in larger chunks compared to other agents, so that they had “antigenic properties… of whole viruses”, the researchers wrote, citing clusters of adverse vaccine events involving the agent in Canada and Europe from 1995 to 2001.

“We hypothesise that suboptimal virus splitting or other mechanisms related to the use of [TDOC] may have played a role,” said Dr Heath Kelly, from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory, and colleagues.