Infectivity Titers of Each Component of the Influenza Virus in the Live Vaccine Purchased from a Parallel Import Distributing System

Ko Sato, Yuki Kikuchi, Yoshifumi Masago, Suguru Ohmiya, Hiroko Ito, Tatsuo Omura, Hidekazu Nishimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Currently in Japan, the only approved influenza vaccine is the inactivated vaccine which is injected subcutaneously. On the other hand, there is a live vaccine available elsewhere in the world. Flumist, an intranasal influenza live vaccine which contains four strains of infectious viruses, has been used in the United States for more than 10 years; the vaccine has been found effective in clinical trials, while it has some limitations such as those on subjects for the administration, strict storage conditions, relatively short expiration date etc. It is not yet approved in Japan, but available through personal import by some medical institutions, and prescribed based on the decision of the doctor. However, in Japan, there is no checking system whether the vaccine contains appropriate amounts of infectious viruses or not. In the present study, we purchased 2013-14 and 2014-15 years' lots of Flumist from a parallel importer and measured the amount of infectious viruses of each component of them using the focus assay. Consequently, for type A influenza viruses, the titers of both of H1N1pdm09 and H3N2 viruses in the 2013-14's lot were 1/30 of the lower limit of those shown in the package insert and 1/10 in 2014-15's lot, while those of type B viruses, both of B/Massachusetts and B/Brisbane viruses marginally cleared the lower limit. The digital PCR analysis showed that the absolute genome copy numbers of type A viruses were 1/10 of those of type B viruses. The relatively higher titer of B/Massachusetts also gradually decreased over time during its storage at 4°C and finally reached the lower limit at about one week before the expiration date. In case it is approved officially in the future to be used in Japan, some studies will be required to elucidate the minimum viral titers of the components necessary for effective live vaccine. In addition, there should be a system to check the titer during the distribution process in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-726
Number of pages7
JournalKansenshōgaku zasshi. The Journal of the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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