Comparative analysis of six European influenza vaccines

Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1996 Feb;15(2):121-7. doi: 10.1007/BF01591484.


Three split-virion vaccines (Vaxigrip, Begrivac, and Influsplit/Fluarix) and three subunit vaccines containing only viral surface glycoproteins (Influvac, Agrippal, and Fluvirin) available for the 1994-95 season were analysed by biological, molecular, and biochemical methods. Although all vaccines are required by health authorities to contain 15 micrograms haemagglutinin per dose of each virus strain, there were significant differences in haemagglutination titres among the examined vaccines of both types. The enzymatic activity of neuraminidase was present in all vaccines except Fluvirin. Total protein content was lower for subunit vaccines. Viral nucleoprotein was detected in all split vaccines but to varying levels according to SDS-PAGE and Western blot analyses. The ovalbumin content was low in general but was about tenfold higher for Influvac than for the other vaccines analysed. This protein may induce hypersensitive reactions among persons with severe egg allergy. All three split-virion vaccines were found to contain the matrix protein; however, it was not detected in the subunit vaccines. Differences in influenza antigen variety in currently available vaccines may affect efficacy, whereas differences in concentrations of nonviral compounds such as ovalbumin and endotoxin may lead to different postvaccination reactogenicity profiles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Viral / analysis
  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Europe
  • Hemagglutination Tests
  • Influenza A virus / immunology
  • Influenza B virus / immunology
  • Influenza Vaccines / analysis*
  • Viral Proteins / analysis


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Viral Proteins