"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 30th Nov 2017

Seqirus mentions
Flu Shots for Seniors
There are two different flu shots – Fluzone High Dose and FLUAD – that are designed specifically for people age 65 and older. Approved for U.S. use in 2009, Fluzone High-Dose is a high-potency vaccine that contains four times the amount of antigen as a regular flu shot does; available in the U.S. since last year, FLUAD contains adjuvant MF59 that helps create a stronger immune response. In a 2012 Canadian observational study, FLUAD was 63% more effective than a regular flu shot
What’s new this flu season? CDC provides insight
The CDC said there are a few new things this flu season, including a quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV, which was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published. The trivalent formulation of Afluria is recommended for people 5 years and older (from 9 years and older)
Pandemic Influenza News
Bird flu hits South Korea
Authorities in South Korea imposed a 48-hour nationwide ban on the movement of poultry last week after bird flu was detected there. According to officials, the outbreak of this H5N6 strain was the country’s first bird flu outbreak this winter. However, South Korea’s worst ever bird flu outbreak was experienced between last November and this March, with millions of chickens and ducks culled to contain the spread. However, no human infections have been reported
Avian flu could be on its way to Shropshire this winter
The migration season for birds is in full swing and recently a duck, infected with avian flu, was discovered near the Netherlands border in Germany. Shropshire breeder, Andy Cathwray said he feared there would come a time when the threat of avian flu was all year round. National Farmers Union specialist, Aimee Mahony said: “All poultry keepers should review their biosecurity and business continuity plans now, as risk levels may well increase.”
FAO warns of possible new outbreaks of bird flu in coming months
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned on Tuesday of the risk of increased outbreaks of bird flu, with cases expected to surface in the coming months. Speaking to Spanish news agency Efe, FAO specialist Sophie von Dobschuetz said that several strains of the bird flu virus have become endemic in China, where birds are being vaccinated to reduce the circulation of the virus. "As the country is not in a position to eliminate the virus from poultry populations by killing them, vaccination helps reduce the pressure of the virus and decrease human exposure," von Dobschuetz said.
Industry News
Genetic mutation could, if altered, boost flumist vaccine effectiveness, research suggests
Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have discovered a genetic mutation in the FluMist intranasal flu vaccine that has the potential to be altered to enhance the vaccine's protective effect. When the researchers reversed the mutation in one of the viruses, the virus became more active, making copies of itself more quickly in cultured human nasal cells and inducing a stronger production of immune proteins
Health Dept takes stock of swine flu preparedness
In Chandigarh, India, the Health Department held a meeting to review the swine flu preparedness. Oseltamavir is now withdrawn from the X category drugs and can be sold under the schedule H1 drugs and the Cosmetics Act rules
UK and pharma industry call for transition period for medicines supply
With Brexit barely 15 months away, the UK government, as well as the European and British life science industry, is calling for a transition period on the regulation and supply of medicines in order to avoid potential disruptions in the market that will negatively affect patients. The European Council guidelines provide such transition arrangements, but according to the European Commission, it is still “too early” for this discussion
Bio-investment boasts do not diminish Brexit uncertainties
The UK government has outlined its industrial strategy as it prepares to leave the European Union and boasts of investments and collaborations driving the life science sector. However not all these investment boasts are clear-cut, and others have been put on hold as the companies 'wait and see'
Academic studies
Fighting the flu, year after year
In a New England Journal of Medicine perspective, experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, and the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne discuss how the process of preparing seasonal influenza vaccines in eggs may contribute to their limited effectiveness. The authors offer research strategies that might yield more protective vaccine candidates
Induction of a robust immune response against avian influenza virus following transdermal inoculation with H5-DNA vaccine formulated in modified dendrimer-based delivery system in mouse model
A new study aimed to evaluate the immunogenicity of recombinant plasmid DNA, pBud-H5-green fluorescent protein (GFP)-interferon-regulatory factor (IRF)3 following delivery using polyamidoamine (PAMAM) dendrimer and transactivator of transcription (TAT)-conjugated PAMAM dendrimer as well as the effect of IRF3 as the genetic adjuvant.
Pediatric influenza news
Make sure your child gets flu jab to stop disease spreading, parents urged
In Nottinghamshire, UK, parents of young children are being reminded to make sure their child is protected from flu this winter by getting a free nasal spray vaccination. In some areas of Nottinghamshire, flu vaccination rates are lower for this age group than this time last year and lower than the national target of 40 per cent
Christmas could be deadly for grandparents after poor uptake in child flu vaccinations
In the UK, grandparents are being put at risk as parents shun flu vaccinations for their children. With less than a month to go until Christmas, the NHS has revealed that fewer than one-in-five school age youngsters have had the nasal spray immunisation so far. Health chiefs have said the lack of interest in vaccinations risks spreading infection over Christmas, when families get together
Over 65’s influenza news
It does not make sense for people not to get vaccinated; flu vaccines are very safe and effective
H3N2 is the flu virus feared this winter, a subtype is potentially more serious and makes the elderly and the more vunerable susceptible. The Directorate-General for Health is calling for them to get a vaccination, doubts that may still exist need to be dispelled and prevention by vaccination remains the best route
Doctors urge Malvern residents aged over 65 to get flu vaccination
In the UK, doctors across Malvern are encouraging people aged 65 and over to get their flu vaccination this winter. Anyone aged 65 and above or who is in one of the other at risk groups is asked to arrange a free flu vaccination by contacting their GP surgery or local pharmacy
Age Cymru issues influenza warning to the over 65s in Wales
With the annual NHS influenza immunisation programme in Wales well underway, Age Cymru is urging pensioners to get their flu vaccination as soon as possible. According to Public Health Wales a third of the over 65s in Wales missed out on getting protection against influenza last year, despite the vaccine being made free of charge as part of NHS care
General Influenza News
Hiring spree for nurses as winter flu season looms
In Hong Kong, the Hospital Authority has hired 1,607 full-time nurses since October to deal with the coming winter flu season, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said. The flu vaccination subsidy scheme, which targets high-risk groups - was launched last month. So far, more than 400,000 flu shots have been given to people, a 1.9 percentage point increase over the same period last year
Vaccines and anti-viral drugs advised as flu season peaks in UAE
With an apparently stretched flu season and severe cases of coughing and sneezing, UAE doctors are asking residents to take precautionary measures to stop the spread of influenza. The Ministry of Health and Prevention has also said that the number of influenza cases reported at the national level are slightly higher this year. However, no statistics were available on the number of cases or the number of vaccines since the start of the season
Flu prevention for diabetics is particularly crucial
The consequences of flu can be very difficult especially for chronically ill people like diabetics. A high fever due to flu often confuses blood sugar. This leads to serious blood sugar imbalances. Every year, there are up to 25,000 influenza-related hospitalizations in Germany and several thousand people die of influenza
​Marcelo gets vaccinated to set an example for others to follow
In Portugal, Minister of Health Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa got his flu vaccination in order to demonstrate to others the importance of flu prevention and in the hope that many others would follow his lead
Alentejo has already given out almost 60,000 flu vaccinations to those people who are most at risk
Of the 86,000 flu vaccine doses that the health service had freely available in the region of Alentejo, Portugal, it has already used 57,604 doses, which corresponds to 67% of the total. These figures exclude vaccines purchased directly from a pharmacy by people not eligible for free vaccination, the numbers of which have not yet been determined
Flu alerts using the digital tools available
In Portugal, if you are over 65 and have a mobile phone, be prepared to receive a text from the Ministry of Health asking if you have already got vaccinated against the flu. It is a promotional message, complementary to the ongoing campaign stressing the importance of being immunized against the virus, and which is part of a set of various new measures being implemented.
More than a million vaccinated against flu
The Portuguese National Health Service has administered more than one million flu vaccines since October, which is up almost 20 percent on 2016. Health officials said 1.4 million vaccines were purchased to counter flu this winter, with the elderly, diabetics and firefighters receiving free vaccinations
Flu jab take-up improves among Brighton hospital staff
A higher percentage of staff at Brighton’s main hospital have had the flu jab this year, chief executive Marianne Griffiths said. More than four in ten staff at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have been vaccinated compared with slightly fewer than four in ten last year. Mrs Griffiths told the BSUH board that more staff were being encouraged to have the jab to improve protection for staff and patients still further
BMA fails to act on C+D's "political" letter on flu service rivalries
The British Medical Association has failed to act on C+D’s open letter about flu service rivalries, instead labelling it a “political piece”. C+D had written to Andrew Green, GP clinical and prescribing policy lead at the BMA, urging him to issue a statement calling for BMA members to collaborate with local pharmacies, and denounce the use of tactics designed to restrict patients’ freedom to choose where they receive their flu vaccination
Bolton taxi driver joins Greater Manchester flu vaccination campaign
In the UK, a Bolton taxi driver is helping to help drive home Greater Manchester’s flu campaign. Mustahsan Shahzad is part of a major push to raise awareness and help reduce pressure on the health service, and wants to help encourage people to get their flu jab with his newly-branded cab carrying the 'Stay Well This Winter' branding, reminding people to get their vaccination
Midwest Health System Fires Staffers for Not Getting Flu Shot: Public Health Watch
In the U.S., Essentia has recently fired 50 employees for not complying with its new compulsory flu vaccination policy. Until last year, its influenza vaccination program was voluntary, and some 70% of staffers participated, company officials said, but this has now reached 99%. On Twitter, public response to Essentia’s decision to terminate non-compliant employees was mixed, with vaccine skeptics weighing in heavily as well as those concerned with workers’ rights-related issues
105,000 doses of vaccine flown into Kyrgyzstan to kick-start influenza immunization campaign
WHO and the Ministry of Health of Kyrgyzstan encourage health-care workers and those at risk of influenza-related complications to get vaccinated against influenza during the immunization campaign that starts in the country on 28 November 2017. An additional 105,000 doses of influenza vaccine were shipped to Kyrgyzstan to allow more people to be vaccinated. The Ministry of Health received the supplementary vaccines under the Partnership for Influenza Vaccine Introduction project, which is coordinated by the Task Force for Global Health and funded by the U. S. CDC
Health Care Personnel Work Despite Having Influenza Symptoms
More than 40% of health care personnel with influenza-like illness work while ill, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The highest frequencies of working with ILI occurred among pharmacists (67.2%) and physicians (63.2%)
Don't let it spread: doctors in UAE offer latest advice as flu season arrives
UAE hospitals and clinics are bracing themselves for the onset of flu season but are not expecting an increase in the number of cases seen last winter. People are advised that the best way to prevent the disease and its serious complications is to get seasonal influenza vaccination every year, especially if they belong to an at-risk category
How A Vanderbilt Doctor Became The Nation's Go-To Flu Expert
Dr. William Schaffner says that one of the problems we are faced with the flu is that "because it’s annual, people take it for granted. Whereas from an infectious disease doctor’s perspective, flu is serious." To get more people on board, Schaffner is promoting trendier research about longer-term complications from flu like heart attack and stroke
Call for calm as Savona runs low of flu vaccines: "Tomorrow we will have enough in stock"
In Italy, Renato Giusto, Savona's chief family medical professional and chairman of the municipal council, spoke to tone down the alarm sounded by his colleague, Angelo Terisdio, who said that Savona running out of flu vaccines might mean it could take days for health authorities to restock. The flu outbreak proper will be at the end of the year and ASL has assured us that we will have new supplies very soon indeed, he concluded
Top infectious disease doctor calls for new flu vaccines
Doctor Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health has been closely following flu trends for years. He agrees that Australia's record-high flu season could signal for problems for the U-S. Fauci says part of the problem is that the current vaccine was only 10-percent effective against the dominant flu strain circulating there. He is calling for a faster way to make vaccines than the egg-based method
AAFP Joins Call for Fully Funded Immunization Program
A robust immunization infrastructure is needed for vaccines to reach their full potential of saving lives and preventing illness, and in the U.S., the AAFP recently signed on to a letter reminding lawmakers that this requires adequate funding in 2018. "Vaccines are one of the greatest success stories in public health and are among the most cost-effective ways to prevent disease," the letter stated. "However, purchasing vaccines is not enough to protect a population."
Flu vaccines are 'sold out' in the Province of Savona
Health authorities have temporarily run out of the flu vaccine in the Province of Savona in Italy, according to general manager of ASL 2, Eugenio Porfido. The campaign to get at risk groups vaccinated was more successful than anyone anticipated and this has led to an unexpected depletion in vaccine stocks
Burden of disease
Flu cases on the rise with the first death of the season in Florida
The Florida Department of Health reports the first flu death of the 2017-2018 season. According to the most recent flu report from the state, the death was a child without known underlying health conditions who hadn’t been vaccinated for the flu. The report also showed flu cases in the state on the rise; faster than Florida’s seen since the 2014-2015 season
Our first death from AH3N2 this winter
As the cold arrives, the first death due to influenza AH3N2 in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, has been reported. Already by the start of October there are more flu cases than there were during the whole of last winter season
Seasonal flu activity remains low in Europe
In the week from 13-19 November, seasonal flu activity in Europe remained low. Out of 34 samples from infected patients, more than 68% turned out to be A(H3N2) flu virus, which is a strain picked by WHO for the 2017-2018 flu season vaccine
Flu Case Uptick In Colorado
Numerous gatherings and holiday travel mean it's an important time to get a flu vaccine. Flu activity is increasing across the U.S. and in Colorado, and most people who get the flu get sick between December and February. "While it's hard to say how flu season will play out, so far, more people have been hospitalized with flu this year than at the same time in the last five seasons," said State Epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment