"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 16th Nov 2017

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Pandemic Influenza News
Africa must plan for global pandemics
Bill Gates is among a growing number of world leaders who have expressed concern that the world is not ready for a pandemic. He is right to argue that systems for responding to a global emergency are still not strong enough. The only African countries where human vaccine production — albeit limited — exists are SA, Senegal, Egypt and Tunisia; four out of 54 countries that are likely to be the most afflicted by such an outbreak
Doctors warned of a possible epidemic of the deadly flu
Scientists from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, USA, suggested that from China across the world in the form of large-scale epidemics may spread avian influenza H7N9. The study of samples of H7N9 have shown that the deadly virus may be resistant to the effects of drugs and rapidly spread
Lincoln biotech firms develop 1st license bird flu DNA vaccine for chickens
Two Lincoln companies developed a DNA bird flu vaccine for chickens that recently became the first such vaccine ever licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Benchmark Biolabs, an AgriLabs subsidiary, and Nature Technology Corporation announced Wednesday that the vaccine had received conditional approval from the USDA
Could Your Cat Give You 'Bird Flu?'
U.S. scientists are reporting a case of a veterinarian who apparently caught "bird flu" from an infected cat at a New York City animal shelter. The case occurred in December 2016. The unnamed veterinarian got through the battle with the H7N2 strain of influenza, but the cat died, according to researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Industry News
Aptimmune launches inactivated mucosal influenza A virus vaccine in swine (IAV-S)
Aptimmune has introduced the industry’s first inactivated mucosal influenza A virus in swine (IAV-S) vaccine administered via nasal spray. Aptimmune’s IAV-S vaccine utilizes the BARRICADE proprietary vaccine formulation that gives swine producers and veterinarians a different approach to conventional inactivated injectable and live virus vaccines for safely preventing and managing respiratory disease
Sanofi: UGA Research Team Explores Impact of Age on Response to Influenza Vaccine
A team of researchers at the Center of Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia has published a study that examines the relationship between age and previous exposure to influenza on a population's reaction to the flu vaccine. The study is the product of an ongoing collaboration between UGA and Sanofi Pasteur. The team examined volunteers aged 18 to 85 in four consecutive flu seasons between 2013 and 2016. Each volunteer was vaccinated with Fluzone
Sanofi brings innovative medication to Saudi Arabia
Sanofi is planning to introduce innovative new medication in Saudi Arabia to help treat various diseases, as well as the most recent innovations in vaccines. “Our collaboration with the MoH also stretches into the vaccines area, supporting key projects like the National Flu Vaccination Program, which started in 2014 and has been hugely successful, especially in the target patient populations (i.e. chronic-disease patients, health care professionals, children and the elderly). The vaccination rates in the Kingdom are now among the best in the region, if not globally,” Ahmed Serag, Sanofi’s KSA country chair and general manager, said
Academic studies
Text message reminders increase rates of influenza vaccination
A randomized controlled trial in Western Australia identified patients who were at high risk of serious influenza illness and had a mobile phone number on record in their physician's office. Among 12,354 eligible patients, half were randomly assigned to an intervention group, which received a vaccination reminder by text message, while the other half (control group) received no text message reminder. Approximately three months after the messages were sent, 12 percent of the intervention group and 9 percent of the control group were vaccinated during the study period. For every 29 messages sent, at a cost of $3.48 (USD), one additional high-risk patient was immunized
Novel tool forecasts severity of coming influenza season
A novel tool accurately forecasted details of the 2016 to 2017 influenza season based on the epidemiology and evolution of the virus before the season began, according to findings recently published in Science Translational Medicine. “Combining information about the evolution of the virus with epidemiological data will generate disease forecasts before the season begins, significantly earlier than what is currently possible,” Mercedes Pascual, PhD, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, said. “You could imagine using our model to make an early prediction about overall severity of the season, and then use other methods to forecast the timing of the outbreak once it begins”
Genes, age may play a role in flu shot effectiveness
Researchers may have found genetic clues to help predict who will have a better response to the flu vaccine. A study conducted by the Human Immunology Project Consortium and Center for Human Immunology used gene profiling and RNA sequencing to track gene expression before and after flu vaccination. The team found that individual immune responses to the flu vaccine can vary depending on the level of protective antibodies an individual produces, particularly in people under age 35
Vanderbilt researchers working on universal flu vaccine
Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center are working on a universal flu vaccine that has the potential to protect everyone against all strains of the flu, anywhere in the world. Vanderbilt is the hub and coordinating center for this groundbreaking research being conducted around the world. Current flu vaccines can reduce the risk of some influenza by about 60 percent. This research would make it near 100 percent for all strains of influenza
Seasonal influenza vaccine effectiveness in preventing laboratory-confirmed influenza in primary care in Israel 2016-2017 season: insights into novel age-specific analysis
Israeli researchers found flu vaccine effectiveness of 29.0% against influenza H3N2 last season, when that strain caused 98% of infections, but protection was as high as 69.2% in some age-groups
PSC-Led Flu Vaccine Research Wins International Supercomputing Award
Research on the best strategies for offering flu vaccinations to the public at PSC, the University of Pittsburgh and Soongsil University in the Republic of Korea has won a 2017 Innovation Excellence Award from the Hyperion Research User Forum Steering Committee. Hyperion Research, the world’s most respected high-performance-computing industry analyst group for more than 25 years, presented the award at the SC17 supercomputing conference in Denver, Colo.
Pediatric influenza news
Parents help shape how much pain preschoolers feel after vaccination
New research from York University's OUCH Cohort at the Faculty of Health found that the amount of distress and pain felt by a preschooler during a vaccination is strongly related to how their parents help them cope before and during an appointment
Influenza vaccination in pediatric EDS cost effective
Administering immunization against influenza in pediatric ED settings to all eligible patients demonstrates cost-efficacy and can reduce the number of infections by 27 cases per 1,000, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics
Over 65’s influenza news
Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn unveils action plan for seniors
Ontario has launched a new plan aimed at increasing the community supports available to its growing seniors population. The plan includes an annual high-dose influenza vaccine, targeted to protect seniors, available free of charge as part of the Ontario Universal Influenza Immunization Program. Beginning in the 2018-19 flu season, Ontario will invest $17 million per year into this program
General Influenza News
Influenza not widespread in county yet, but precautions should still be taken, expert says
The flu season is still in its early stages, but Lebanon County residents are urged to be prepared, and that means getting a flu shot. A new, higher-dose flu vaccine has been released for people over the age of 65: “a lot of physicians are offering (it to) their older patients,” Pamela Goodling, manager of infection prevention for WellSpan Health, said. “They recommend the higher dose because it helps them produce a better immune response. As you get older your immune system doesn’t respond as much, so they have a higher dose for older people.”
Diabetics! Get yourself vaccinated against the flu as soon as you can
Vaccination against influenza is essential for those living with diabetes. In 2016, 80% of all deaths from the virus were in people with this chronic degenerative disease. When the seasonal flu winter season arrives, which is when one gets the highest circulation of influenza viruses, it is essential that the entire population gets vaccinated, specialists point out that people with chronic diseases, and in particular with diabetes, are most at risk as they have a higher risk of complications if they contract flu
80,000 get influenza vaccine for free since October
In Malta, some 80,000 people received the influenza vaccine in health centres and at Mater Dei Hospital, the Health Ministry said. This year the Health Department ordered 20,000 injections more than in previous years, and the second batch will be available in the coming days
People with a Learning Disability reminded of flu jab importance
People who have a learning disability can be more susceptible to the effects of flu and are therefore at increased risk of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Anyone with a learning disability is entitled to receive a free vaccination. Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination
Officials promote flu jabs
In Hong Kong, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung and other officials received seasonal influenza vaccinations today and urged the public to do the same. Mr Cheung said the Government has implemented the Government Vaccination Programme and the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme to provide free or subsidised seasonal flu jabs to eligible people.
Are We Ready for the Next Flu Pandemic?
As flu activity continues to ramp up around the U.S., public health leaders met at a recent event to discuss the lack of preparedness for the next flu pandemic. In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) weekly FluView report for the week ending November 4, 2017, regional flu activity was up from the previous week and reported in six states—Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas—and Guam; 13 states reported local activity
News Scan for Nov 15, 2017 Northern Hemisphere flu uptick; Flu vaccine protection by age
In its latest global flu update, the WHO notes that flu increased slightly in the Northern Hemisphere last week and globally influenza A H3N2 is still the dominant strain. Israeli researchers found flu vaccine effectiveness of 29.0% against influenza H3N2 last season, when that strain caused 98% of infections, but protection was as high as 69.2% in some age-groups
Influenza arrives - here's how, where and why you should get vaccinated
In Italy it is estimated that the numbers falling sick will be around 4 million: 40 percent under 18, 40% between 18 and 65, 20% over 65. Do not be discouraged: the giant government machine to counter the contagion has already started and it ranges from the Ministry of Health to the Regional Asl organizations. In Cagliari, the Public Health Service ramps up its flu vaccination campaign during the next few days.
In the Auvergne region, flu vaccinations in pharmacies are slowly taking off
In a few regions of France, some pharmacists have been trained to give the flu vaccine. In the Auvergne region, patients are slowly taking up the offer, but pharmacists also find they have to turn a lot of people away and refer them to their doctors as pregnant women, children and people who have never been vaccinated against the flu cannot be immunised by a pharmacist
Tips to help practices cope with winter pressures
In the UK, GPs' surgeries are receiving advice on how best to organise themselves in case of a severe flu outbreak. One of the key ways to prevent a flu pandemic is to increase vaccination rates, especially in children. They should consider how to increase vaccination rates (evening or weekend clinics, increased use of text messaging or phone calls to patients to encourage vaccination are some options), and ask all clinical staff to be vigilant and check every patient’s eligibility for flu and encourage uptake
Only Hospitalisation Would Stop Millions of Employees from Working, New Study Reveals
New research by Canada Life Group Insurance found a significant culture of office presenteeism is brewing throughout UK offices, with almost a quarter (23%) of UK workers – around seven million people – saying they would only take time off work if they were hospitalised and had no other choice. More than half (55%) of respondents would go into work if they had the flu – despite the high chance of this illness spreading to their co-workers
Judge denies union's motion to block Essentia Health flu-shot mandate
With less than a week remaining until Essentia Health's flu shot requirement takes effect, a judge has denied a union's motion to block it. U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright said the United Steelworkers had failed to establish that a preliminary injunction was needed to "prevent arbitration from being rendered a meaningless ritual." Essentia has announced that flu shots would be required this year as a condition for working or serving with the health system, with the exception of those who obtain religious or medical exemptions
Burden of disease
Seasonal flu normal, within permissible level: Al-Shatti
Dr Ahmad Al-Shatti, spokesman for the Ministry of Health, said seasonal influenza in Kuwait is normal and within the permissible world rate. In the meantime, in response to what has been published in the social media about isolated cases of people infected with the swine flu, Al-Shatti said that the Health Ministry has taken all precautionary measures in addition to educational and awareness programs against the disease which runs throughout the year
Flu cases are three times higher than in previous years
Flu cases are almost three times higher in 2017 than in the previous years, said the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency Wednesday. So far this year, three people have died from influenza A. There have been 445 cases, compared to 112 for the last three years.
CDC Flu Update: Overall Activity is Low but Increasing
According to the latest FluView report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seasonal influenza activity remained low overall in the United States, but is increasing. However, six states and Guam reported regional flu activity and 13 states reported local influenza activity. The most frequently identified influenza virus type reported by public health laboratories was influenza A virus
14 flu cases and counting, say Delaware Health officials
Delaware has confirmed 14 cases of the flu so far this fall, five of which resulted in hospitalizations, health officials said. The Delawareans hospitalized were ages 65 and older, and several had underlying conditions. While health officials recommend everyone receive a flu shot, older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions are more vulnerable to complications