US panel recommends adult vaccine against hepatitis B
New York – A federal advisory panel on Wednesday recommended a new vaccine against hepatitis B.
The vaccine, called Heplisav-B, was licensed for use in the U.S. in November and is the first new hepatitis B vaccine in 25 years.
Hepatitis B vaccines have been in childhood shots for decades. The new vaccine made by Dynavax Technologies Corp. is for adults and is given in two shots over a month. It uses an additive that boosts the body’s immune response.
The hepatitis B virus can damage the liver and is spread through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. Cases have been rising, a trend linked to the heroin and opioid epidemic. Meanwhile, researchers found older vaccines falter in diabetics and older adults.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsed the vaccine during a meeting in Atlanta. The government usually adopts its recommendations.