US FDA approves Merck’s pneumococcal vaccine for adults

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(Reuters) – Merck said on Monday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its next-generation vaccine to protect adults against pneumococcal disease.

The drugmaker’s vaccine, branded Capvaxive, helped produce an immune response against all 21 serotypes, or variations of the bacteria, that the shot targeted in a variety of adult populations across studies.

Merck competes with Pfizer in the U.S. market for pneumococcal vaccines and hopes to gain a majority share with the launch of Capvaxive.

Pfizer’s shot, Prevnar 20, was approved in 2021 for use in adults aged 18 years or older and protects against 20 serotypes. It is also approved for use in six weeks old infants to 17-year olds.

Pneumococcal disease spreads through direct contact with respiratory secretions such as saliva or mucus. Children younger than five-years old and adults 65 years and above are at an increased risk of contracting the disease.

(Reporting by Bhanvi Satija, Sneha S K and Puyaan Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Shilpi Majumdar)

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