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.

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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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