The currently licensed seasonal trivalent influenza vaccines contain 15 micrograms of viral hemagglutinin protein per strain for adults, and up to 60 micrograms for elderly individuals; however, due to recent shortages, reducing these doses would be highly desirable. A recent study has found that significant dose sparing is possible with the use of whole virion vaccines and aluminium adjuvants, without compromising safety.
Whole virion vaccines contain whole virus, not just hemagglutinin as in most human flu vaccines. Adjuvants are added to help create a stronger immune response in the patient's body.
"Based on our results, a new, reduced dose seasonal vaccine is being licensed in the European Union member state in Hungary, which will impact production capacities and ultimately, vaccine availability to patients," wrote the authors of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study.