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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 8th Dec 2017

Seqirus mentions
Vaccine giant Seqirus plans $9M expansion, additional jobs at massive Holly Springs plant
Seqirus is investing $9 million in an expansion project at its mammoth production facility in this Wake County town. The company is hosting a ground-breaking ceremony to discuss plans for a new warehouse. Additional jobs also are going to be added at the complex
Flu vaccine company breaks ground on $9M Holly Springs expansion project
Seqirus is expanding its manufacturing facility in Holly Springs to support immediate growth of its seasonal influenza vaccine business and bio-security partnership with the United States government in pandemic preparedness. The company broke ground on a $9 million expansion project that will allow the company to support an increase in manufacturing capacity and support future growth, officials said
Seqirus announces $9M expansion of Holly Springs site
Seqirus announced a $9 million expansion of its Holly Springs site. Executives said the expansion will help Seqirus meet its goal of quadrupling the number of doses of flu vaccine produced on site. "It will probably increase the warehouse staff by about 50 percent," said Dr. John Anderson, Seqirus Vice President of Operations and Holly Springs Site Head. "We will need to have more people to handle more material. Also, we're likely to be operating a late afternoon, late evening shift as well as a day shift."
Seqirus Breaks Ground for $9M Expansion of Vaccine Plant
Seqirus has broken ground for a $9 million expansion of its massive manufacturing facility in Holly Springs. Seqirus said the construction of a 15,000-square-foot warehouse would enable the company to grow its seasonal influenza vaccine business and support its biosecurity partnership with the U.S. government in pandemic preparedness.
CSL opens new $230m Melbourne plant
In Australia, CSL has expanded its local manufacturing capacity with the opening of a $230 million facility, which will add 200 new jobs and generate $850m worth of product each year. The company today officially opened its new advanced manufacturing facility at its CSL Behring site at Broadmeadows, Victoria. “CSL’s investment in Broadmeadows embeds the site into our global plasma manufacturing supply chain, which now supplies lifesaving therapies to patients in more than 60 countries,” CSL’s chief executive, Paul Perreault, said
Seqirus Announces Be FLUent Collaborative
Seqirus, in partnership with health care provider advocacy organizations, announced the launch of Be FLUent, a collaborative initiative that brings together nurse practitioners, physician assistants and pharmacists to drive dialogue about influenza prevention between health care providers and their patients age 65 and older. "We're proud to be partnering with the American Pharmacists Association, the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation and the Physician Assistant Foundation to elevate the importance of flu prevention in older adults," said Gregg C. Sylvester, MD, MPH, Global Head, Medical Affairs, Seqirus
What’s New this Flu Season?
This season, the CDC advises that only injectable flu vaccines are recommended. Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses. A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine, “Afluria Quadrivalent” IIV, was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published. The age recommendation for “Flulaval Quadrivalent” has been changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling. The trivalent formulation of Afluria is recommended for people 5 years and older (from 9 years and older) in order to match the Food and Drug Administration package insert
Pandemic Influenza News
Bird carcass removed, samples sent for tests in Mysuru
The carcass of a spot-billed pelican that was found floating in Kukkarahalli Lake in India was removed on Thursday. Samples of the bird have been sent for lab analysis in Bengaluru. No further pelican deaths have been reported from the lake. Deputy Conservator of Forests (Mysuru Wildlife Division) Yedukondalu said the cause of death will be known by Friday. He ruled out the possibility of bird flu
Industry News
America, it's time to get ready for the flu
A roundup of useful information now the flu season has started in the U.S., including the fact there are 3 antivirals available and effective against the flu strains currently in circulation. They are: Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Relenza (zanamivir) and Rapivab (peramivir). The drugs stop new flu viruses from leaving their host cell and finding new cells to infect
Philippines threatens Sanofi with legal action over dengue vaccine
The Philippines plans to sue Sanofi over its dengue fever vaccine in response to the French drugmaker’s warning that the drug could lead to severe infections in some cases, the country’s health secretary said on Thursday. The country’s regulators on Monday suspended sales of Dengvaxia, which has been used in the world’s first mass immunisation programme against dengue fever, after Sanofi said the drug could worsen symptoms of dengue fever among people who had not been infected by the virus before vaccination.
What the future of medicine looks like
Norbert Bischofberger, Vice President and Research Director of Gilead Sciences in California, one of the largest biotech companies in the world is a biochemist who helped develop the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu, anti-HIV drugs, and new anti-hepatitis C therapies that cure more than 90 percent of patients. On Tuesday he spoke at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna about the "Future of Medicine: Technology and Personalized Therapy".
Academic studies
H3N2 mutation in last year's flu vaccine responsible for lowered efficacy
The below average efficacy of last year's influenza vaccine (which was only 20 to 30 percent effective) can be attributed to a mutation in the H3N2 strain, a new study reports. With the mutation, most people receiving the egg-grown vaccine did not have immunity against H3N2 viruses that circulated last year
Last season's flu shot protected only 1 in 5 people
Last season's flu shot protected as few as one in five people and this year's could be similarly ineffective, researchers said Monday, calling for a better way to make the vaccine. Lead author Scott Hensley said: "Our data suggest that we should invest in new technologies that allow us to ramp up production of influenza vaccines that are not reliant on eggs." Nevertheless, he urged people to go ahead and get the flu vaccine this year
Mississippi Public Universities Attack Healthcare Issues on Many Fronts
Scientists at Mississippi State University want to make getting the flu something of the past. They must find a way to stay at least one step ahead of virus mutations, so students and faculty are collaborating with global research teams to peer into the future and develop new defenses against flu’s mounting threat to world populations. Powered with a major grant from the NIH and led by MSU’s Dr. Henry Wan, researchers are helping accelerate expensive, time-consuming analysis conducted by thousands of scientists at more than 130 influenza centers in 106 countries. The goal of the team is to help prevent, diagnose and treat pandemic flus and other illnesses
Update: Influenza Activity — United States, October 1–November 25, 2017
Influenza activity in the United States was low during October 2017, but has been increasing since the beginning of November. Influenza A viruses have been most commonly identified, with influenza A(H3N2) viruses predominating. Several influenza activity indicators were higher than is typically seen for this time of year. The majority of influenza viruses characterized during this period were genetically or antigenically similar to the 2017–18 Northern Hemisphere cell-grown vaccine reference viruses
Vanderbilt Influenza Vaccine Initiative working to create a universal flu vaccine
The first step in the Universal Flu Vaccine Initiative is conducting detailed observations of the immune responses of flu vaccine recipients about a week after their initial vaccination. Next, the project seeks to evaluate vaccine responses in real time by measuring blood levels of antibodies more frequently to determine how quickly individuals can begin to mount an effective response. The project ultimately seeks to become a global initiative taking the impact of age, gender, and exposure into account. This has critical social implications as one of the goals is to develop a vaccine that could be delivered perhaps once every five or ten years, allowing developing countries that cannot afford an annual vaccine to purchase one that is administered much less frequently
Pediatric influenza news
Influenza vaccine prevents pediatric influenza-related hospitalizations
Immunization against flu is effective in averting lab-confirmed influenza hospitalizations due to increased vaccine efficacy, according to a study published in PLoS ONE. “Although most influenza infections are mild, influenza can cause ear infections, pneumonia and exacerbations of medical conditions, such as asthma. Some children experience complications, leading to hospitalization, admission to intensive care and even death,” Sarah Buchan, PhD, from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, said. “Children who are unvaccinated are at greater risk of influenza infection, and therefore at greater risk of these serious outcomes than those who are vaccinated”
Over 65’s influenza news
Families Fighting Flu Shines a Spotlight on Grandparents in New Influenza Prevention Videos
Families Fighting Flu announces the availability of a new video series on the importance of annual flu vaccination for seniors. The Protecting Grandparents from the Flu series features the Miller family and their battle with influenza when daughter, Caroline, nearly died from flu complications at the age of five. She was rushed between three hospitals and lay in a medically-induced coma for two weeks while her small body struggled to recover
Make a Difference by Being a Vaccine Insister!
William Schaffner, MD, Medical Director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, writes "National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), an annual event created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a great time for healthcare professionals to highlight the importance of annual flu vaccination for everyone age six months and older. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone has gotten the message about flu vaccines and many vulnerable individuals remain unprotected. NIVW also reminds healthcare professionals to strongly recommend flu shots to their patients, especially those at high risk, including adults age 65 years and older"
General Influenza News
CDC warns too few people have got the flu shot this year - meaning this year's impending outbreak could be even worse than we thought
Flu shot rates in the U.S. are lower than hoped this year, new CDC figures reveal as America hurtles towards one of the worst flu seasons in years: the rate of adults getting vaccinated against influenza this year has dropped 3.7 percent, meaning just a third of adults and children are protected. Just a third of pregnant women have received the shot. This year's flu shot is only 10 percent effective against the difficult-to-stop H3N2 strain, but doctors insist we cannot underestimate the importance of 'herd immunity', and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick
UofL researchers develop novel flu virus and disease detection method
Using lasers, electricity, very thin film and their expertise in physics and biology, University of Louisville researchers have developed a method for early detection of diseases, such as the flu, dengue fever and even cancer. They hope that their approach eventually will lead to the production of hand-held medical devices with which doctors — in hospitals, homes and remote locations — can easily, quickly and cheaply detect potentially deadly and quickly spreading diseases
Virus test developed by 15 Hong Kong university students could mean difference between life and death in an epidemic
A faster and easier test for viruses has been developed by Hong Kong university students which could speed up treatment and save lives by allowing doctors to make quicker decisions and gain critical time when faced with the threat of an epidemic. The testing method has already been put to work on influenza A viruses in preliminary experiments, where it was able to identify subtypes in about an hour
Q&A: Why the flu vaccine isn't always effective
A doctor from Brigham and Women’s Hospital spells out what you need to know for the 2017-2018 flu season, and stresses the fact that getting a flu shot cannot give the patient the flu itself
Physicians Face the Burden of the Anti-vaccination Argument
Federal and global entities are dedicating time, effort and funds to persuade patients of the proven safety and efficacy of vaccinations, and to dismantle the arguments presented by anti-vaccination communities. The WHO’s Global Vaccine Safety Initiative page lists 6 of the most common misconceptions about vaccinations, with evidence to refute each point, backed by clinical research. The CDC, during its National Influenza Vaccination Week campaign this week, provided flu vaccination guidelines and a list of patient groups most at-risk for flu-related complications. There’s even been research put into better understanding the rhetoric of anti-vaccination
Health experts urge the elderly to get vaccinated against the flu
Magdalena Hernández Valdez, a leading health epidemiologist, urged the community to get vaccinated against influenza, since it is an infectious disease caused by a virus, which is classified into different types A, B and C. The most common is type A virus, which affects the majority of the population. This is transmitted by different secretions such as coughing, sneezing or even talking. It is an infection of the respiratory tract, that if not treated in time and in an appropriate way, can be complicated, affecting the whole organism and leading to death.
NHS bosses sound alarm over hospitals already running at 99% capacity
In the UK, hospital trust chief executives have disclosed that they are running at close to 100% bed occupancy even before the expected bad weather and major flu outbreak this winter have arrived. Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said that while the government’s recent £337m injection of emergency funding was welcome, it had come too late to make much difference to hospitals’ winter planning.
A mother got the flu from her children — and was dead two days later
The sudden death from the flu of a 20 year-old woman is a shocking reminder of the importance of getting a flu shot. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and self-proclaimed proselytizer of the flu-shot gospel, said flu shots can cut the chance of infection in half. For vaccinated people who end up getting the flu, it typically makes the symptoms milder. Lastly, getting the shot decreases a person’s chances of passing the flu on to other people, including vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. A recent study also showed vaccinations significantly reduced a child’s chances of dying from the flu
Local health experts uncertain of extent of flu vaccination effectiveness this season
As the U.S. flu season approaches its midpoint, health officials say it’s too soon to tell whether the vaccination’s atypical ineffectiveness at repelling the predominant strain in Australia will manifest here. “There’s no way to know if the flu vaccine is going to behave the same way as it did in Australia,” said Kendra Dougherty, an epidemiologist with the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “We’re not going to know vaccine effectiveness estimates until about January or February for the U.S. season.”
Why the US Could Face a Devastating Flu Season
Experts say the United States is bracing for what could be a rough flu season. "Vaccine is the best preventive we currently have for flu. Take it,” Stephen Morse, PhD, a professor of epidemiology and an influenza expert at Columbia University in New York, told Healthline. “The alternative could well be worse. Even a relatively ineffective vaccine may reduce disease severity. You may get some protection, and preventing 60 percent of flu cases is theoretically enough to stop its spread. I’d gladly take those odds.”
Flu Epidemic Expected to Hit Bulgaria in January
In Bulgaria, the Head National Health Inspector Dr. Angel Kunchev estimates that flu season will start in January. According to Kunchev, there’s an increased interest in vaccination against flu since last year. The current interest of Bulgarians to vaccinate is still pretty low, at around 3-4%. And yet, pharmacies are still unprepared for the current demand. Last year only 2% of the country was vaccinated
Mainers Urged To Vaccinate Against A Coming ‘Brushfire’ Of Flu
Flu season is building momentum in Maine, with both outpatient medical visits and hospitalizations on the rise. Though numbers are still small, according to the most recent weekly report from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, experts say Mainers should expect more widespread illness as the season progresses. There’s still plenty of time to benefit from getting a flu vaccine, which are widely available at medical offices, pharmacies and other sites
Flu cases on up - but not as bad as predicted, GWH say
In the UK, Great Western Hospital's chief nurse Hilary Walker said that early indications were that this could be the busiest flu year in the last three. However, concerns that the UK could see a repeat of Australia’s recent flu epidemic – which left thousands seeking hospital treatment – were not yet apparent. GWH’s medical director Guy Rooney told the meeting that it was particularly important that children get vaccinated
Vermont warns of rough flu season, urges vaccinations
The Vermont Health Department says the state could be in for a rough flu season and it's advising people to get flu shots to protect themselves and others. Flu is already widespread in several other states. The Health Department says this year's vaccine works well against many flu strains, it's less effective against what's considered to be the dominant strain this year. Nevertheless, the flu shot can lessen the severity of the illness and for people at high risk it can be a life-saver
GPs fear NHS crisis with hospitals full at start of winter
Data published by NHS England on hospital pressures show that 94.5% of general and acute hospital beds in England were occupied in the week from 27 November to 3 December. An NHS England spokesman said: 'The NHS has prepared for winter this year more intensely than ever before, developing robust plans to manage expected increased pressures, as well as create contingency plans to cover exceptional surges in demand. 'The public can continue to play their part by making sure they have their flu jab and by using local pharmacies and NHS 111 for medical advice, alongside other services.' Flu levels remain relatively low in England, but GP leaders have warned that a significant outbreak this winter could tip the NHS into crisis because of existing high levels of pressure on the service.
PAHO expert issues an alert on a new influenza epidemic
The risk of a new influenza pandemic is constant every year. No one knows for sure when it might happen, but it can be anticipated that it will be a virus of lethality and that due to its characteristics it could not be easily detected by existing health surveillance systems, but it can affect a large number of individuals very quickly, said Ciro Ugarte, director of Emergencies in Health of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
Burden of disease
Health officials: 135 people hospitalized with the flu this season
As Christmas approaches, health officials are warning Oklahomans that the flu is spreading across the state. On Thursday, health officials released the latest influenza numbers from across the state. Experts say that 24 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 135
Number of confirmed influenza cases in San Diego County has increased ‘significantly’ this week, officials say
The number of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza in the San Diego region increased significantly last week over the week before, county health officials reported today. According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, 182 flu cases were reported, compared to 107 the previous week. That brings the total number of cases during “flu season” in San Diego County to 859. At this time last year, the total was 242
Walgreens launches Flu Index for 2017-18 season
Walgreens launched on Wednesday its first Flu Index of the 2017–18 influenza season. The Walgreens Flu Index, now in its fourth year, uses prescription data for antiviral drugs used to treat influenza across Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide and Walgreens locations in Puerto Rico. For the week of December 2, 2017, the top five states with influenza activity were Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to the index
First case of Influenza Type A at the San Matteo clinic
The first H1N1 influenza strain has been isolated at San Matteo laboratories of Microbiology and Virology. The first case of influenza A involved a 4 year old child of Egyptian origin but resident in the province of Pavia who has been hospitalized in recent days in a regional Pediatric Clinic, after showing signs of fever, vomiting and loss of appetite.
Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South
After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South. Flu activity, which has been increasing since the start of November, is now higher than usual for this time of year, according to a report published Thursday by the CDC. "Flu is increasing. We're seeing a pretty steep increase in influenza activity across the US but especially in the South," said Brendan Flannery, a co-author of the new report and an epidemiologist in the CDC's flu division
54 people, including 11 from Bhubaneswar, died of Swine Flu this year
A total of 54 people from the Indian state of Odisha have died of swine flu this year. The health department has directed the health staff in every district to remain alert and inform the department about the disease if they find symptom of H1N1 virus
A rough flu season could be ahead, doctors say
More than half of New York’s counties have had cases of flu confirmed by Wadsworth Center, the state Department of Health’s laboratory in Albany. Statewide, the number of people hospitalized for the flu jumped 56 percent compared with recent weeks, according to the state’s Weekly Surveillance Report, last updated on Nov. 25. Nationally, more than 7,000 cases of the seasonal illness have been confirmed, double what was seen a year ago, experts said. The strain of flu causing the most illness in New York — influenza A H3N2 — is the same one that caused illnesses in a deadly wave south of the equator this year.
Florida health dept. reports first death of flu season
In Florida, the incoming flu cases are steady. However, doctors say it's still too early to tell how bad the season will get here. Unfortunately, the Florida Department of Health reports the first flu-related death of the season -- a child who did not get their flu shot this year. With cases are steadily increasing, doctors are urging people to get their flu shot
Confirmed! KUMACA students died of Swine Flu
In Ghana, it has emerged the four Kumasi Academy students who died over the last few days died of Influenza Type A H1N1. Health Minister Kwaku Agyemang Manu has said 12 out of the 19 cases sent to the Noguchi Memorial Institute has tested positive for the virus.
Flu outbreak closes Litchfield schools
A flu outbreak has closed an Illinois school district. Custodians will be working to sanitize and disinfect the schools during the closure. This year's flu season is already shaping up to be particularly brutal. In Missouri, there have already been 1,545 cases of the flu reported, compared to 379 cases at this time last year. The CDC says this year's flu season started early, and the U.S. may be particularly hard-hit