AstraZeneca’s MedImmune unit is looking to get approval in Europe for the intranasal influenza vaccine which is sold in the USA as FluMist.

MedImmune had submitted a marketing authorisation application for its nasal spray live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) to the European Medicines Agency for the prevention of seasonal influenza. The submission is based on data from 73 post-marketing studies of more than 141,000 subjects ranging from 7 weeks old to 97.

FluMist, which was approved in the USA in 2003, has made minimal inroads into the US flu vaccine market up to now but AstraZeneca is confident that its needle-free alternative still has considerable potential. MedImmune announced last year that it was tripling production to 12 million doses for the 2008-2009 flu season.

MedImmune chief medical officer Alex Zukiwski said that influenza creates “a heavy medical and economic burden on Europe and throughout the world”. As such, “we are hopeful that the future availability and product characteristics of this novel nasal spray influenza vaccine will contribute to an increase in vaccination rates and reduce the spread of influenza".