In the first study of its kind, a head-to-head comparison of three flu vaccines targeted to seniors against the standard vaccine found that enhanced versions produce better immune response, which may translate to better protection.

The three newer vaccines, two that have higher doses of antigen and one that contains an immune-boosting adjuvant, produced a better immune response than the regular version of the flu vaccine. The authors, though, are careful to say that immune response doesn’t guarantee clinical protection.

However, the findings are promising and lay the groundwork for more efficacy trials that could shed light on any clinical advantages the new products might have over regular flu shots.

The study was conducted in Hong Kong by a team from the University of Hong Kong and their colleagues at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings appear today Clinical Infectious Diseases.

People age 65 and older at known to be at greater risk of flu complications, in part because the immune system weakens with age. In any given flu season, seniors account for the highest number of flu hospitalizations and deaths. The new flu vaccine formulations aimed at people age 65 and older are designed to provide an extra boost in the face of declining immune function.

Comparison findings

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