Exclusive: GSK says science does not link pandemic H1N1 flu vaccine to sleep disorder

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FILE PHOTO: A GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) sign at the GSK research centre in Stevenage, Britain, November 26, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) – British drugmaker GSK said on Thursday that its previous flu pandemic vaccine, which used some of the same ingredients as COVID-19 vaccines currently under development, was not linked to a rise in cases of the sleep disorder narcolepsy.

A spokesman for GSK said the “science has moved on” since concerns were first raised about links between narcolepsy and its H1N1 vaccine, called Pandemrix.

Previous studies in several countries, including Britain, Finland, Sweden and Ireland, where GSK’s Pandemrix vaccine was used in the 2009/2010 flu pandemic, had suggested its use was linked to a significant rise in cases of narcolepsy in children.

Narcolepsy is an incurable, lifelong disorder that disrupts normal sleep-wake cycles and causes severe nightmares and daytime sleep attacks that can strike at any time.

Reporting by Kate Kelland; Editing by Josephine Mason and Jon Boyle

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