"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 12th Dec 2017

Seqirus mentions
Flu vaccination guidance updated with new evidence on older age groups
In the UK, national vaccination guidance has been updated to reflect evidence suggesting that adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccines (aTIVs) work better for older patients than other flu jabs. The JCVI has said that the use of this adjuvanted vaccine in those aged 65 years and over “would be both more effective than the non-adjuvanted vaccines currently in use, and also cost-effective.” So far, only one aTIV – called Fluad – has been approved and is available to order for use in the 2018-19 flu season
Pandemic Influenza News
Dead Kampong Cham chickens found to have strain of avian flu
In Cambodia, avian flu has been detected in chickens in Kampong Cham province. Lab testing confirmed the chickens had H5N1, the most common form of bird flu. Bird flu outbreaks have had a human cost in the past – 14 Cambodians died during one in 2013 – but no human cases have been detected in Koh Svay village so far, according to the Ministry of Health
South Korea culls 76000 ducks after confirming bird flu outbreak
South Korea has confirmed an outbreak of avian influenza at a duck farm in the southwestern region and culled 76,000 ducks to prevent the spread of the virus, the Yonhap news agency reported the Agriculture Ministry as saying. The H5N6 bird flu was discovered on a farm in Yeongam, some 380km south of Seoul, yesterday, said the Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ministry
H5N6 avian flu reassortant confirmed in Dutch outbreak
A reassortant H5N6 avian flu virus detected in three Asian nations over the past few weeks has been confirmed in an outbreak in the Netherlands. In other developments, South Korea—one of the countries that has already reported outbreaks from the H5N6 reassortant this season—reported another at a duck farm. And Cambodia reported an H5N1 avian flu outbreak in poultry, its first in nearly a year.
Study: Avian flu can spread quickly in North America
Some avian influenza (bird flu) viruses can enter North America from other continents through migrating birds. That could be deadly to poultry and infect waterfowl populations, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey study. Scientists from the USGS analyzed the genes, or genome, of the avian flu viruses that spread in the United States in 2014-15. The outbreak resulted in more than $3 billion in losses to the U.S. poultry industry, including Nebraska. The study found that even though the viruses likely evolved in Asia, they easily infected and spread among North American wild birds. The viruses were also able to spread between domestic and wild birds in a process called spillover. However, this study found that the rate of spillover was minor, and the poultry outbreak was able to persist without further transmission from wild birds.
Netherlands confirms highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak
The Netherlands confirmed an outbreak of highly contagious bird flu in the Flevoland province that led to the culling of nearly 16,000 ducks, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said. The highly pathogenic H5N6 strain was discovered on a duck fattening farm in Biddinghuizen on Dec. 7 where it killed 40 birds, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs said
Fresh advice given on ways to spot bird flu following Netherlands case
Bird flu is not currently present in the UK but it is present in Europe. The Netherlands have issued a Poultry Housing Order after a confirmed outbreak of the H5 strain of avian influenza on a duck farm. The government currently regards the risk of bird flu occurring in the UK as medium in wild birds, and low in poultry, provided there’s a good standard of biosecurity
Industry News
Eurocine Vaccines Challenges the Flu
Eurocine Vaccines prepares for the next phase of development, a second clinical study with its first vaccine candidate Immunos FLU. Empowered by the two recently granted patents, in Australia and USA, and positive results from its clinical study, Eurocine Vaccines now takes the next step towards creating the first nasal influenza vaccine approved for children under the age of two
The CVS-Aetna Merger Will Be a Disaster for Small Drugstores
When CVS announced that it planned to buy Aetna in a deal worth $69 billion, some experts were cautiously optimistic that the outcome may be lower costs for consumers. However there are also plenty of reasons why this may be a bad deal for the consumer and spell the end for small drugstores in the U.S.
New inactivated quadrivalent flu vaccines to be available in France in 2018
At the start of the 2017-2018 flu season in France, inactivated trivalent flu vaccines were available, as well as quadrivalent Fluenz Tetra (MedImmune). Now, two inactivated quadrivalent flu vaccines have become available: Fluarix Tetra (GSK) and VaxiGrip Tetra (Sanofi Pasteur). Influvac Tetra (Mylan) should become available in the northern hemisphere in time for next flu season
Academic studies
Study: Employees with influenza have more lost work time
Employees with laboratory-confirmed influenza have more lost work time- including absences and reduced productivity while at work- compared to those with other types of acute respiratory illness (ARI), reports a study in the December Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Literature Review: Defending against Virus, with a Little Help from Microbiome
The microbiota is known to modulate the host response to influenza infection through as-yet-unclear mechanisms. Researchers hypothesized that components of the microbiota exert effects through type I interferon (IFN), a hypothesis supported by analysis of influenza in a gain-of-function genetic mouse model. They show that a microbially associated metabolite, desaminotyrosine (DAT), protects from influenza through augmentation of type I IFN signaling and diminution of lung immunopathology
Temporal distribution and genetic variants in influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus circulating in Mexico, seasons 2012 and 2013
The 2012 and 2013 annual influenza epidemics in Mexico were characterized by presenting different seasonal patterns. In 2012 the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus caused a high incidence of influenza infections after a two-year period of low circulation; whereas the 2013 epidemic presented circulation of the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus throughout the year. Researchers identified the occurrence of two genetic variants containing relevant mutations at both the HA and NA surface antigens
Korean researchers discover new drug candidate targeting H5N1 avian flu
The Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said that it has discovered that an existing drug substance inhibits the replication of the H5N1 virus that causes the highly pathogenic avian influenza. The Korea National Institute of Health discovered through in-lab tests on mice that mycophenolic mofetil represses the replication of the H5N1 influenza virus. Mycophenolic mofetil was found to act on the virus in different ways than those of existing neuraminidase-targeting avian influenza treatments including Roche’s oseltamivir, widely known as Tamiflu, and GlaxoSmithKline’s zanamivir, sold under the name Relenza
Pediatric influenza news
Thousands of Kent and Medway youngsters not protected against "unpleasant" flu
Thousands of children across Kent and Medway are not protected against the flu virus, it has been revealed. A stark warning has been issued by health officials urging parents to make sure their little ones take the nasal spray, which is free to two and three-year-olds. Across the whole of Kent and Medway, around 42,100 children are able to get the vaccine free of charge but only about 9,600 have taken the offer up
Parents of pre-school children given flu warning
In Scotland, with only two weeks left to take up the flu vaccination, the call for parents across Fife to get their 2 – 5 year old children immunised has been stepped up, with health professionals warning about the unpredictable nature of the virus. Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell is calling on parents in Fife to get their child vaccinated
Over 65’s influenza news
Risk of heart attacks, strokes rises after cold snap, NHS England warns
There is an increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the days immediately after a cold snap, NHS England has warned. NHS England national director for acute care Keith Willett said: 'Those with pre-existing heart and lung conditions and particularly the elderly should take care to keep their homes properly heated and get their flu jabs". The number of emergency admissions is also linked to colder weather causing the spread of viruses, including the flu
General Influenza News
Health authorities call for people to get vaccinated
Health authorities are calling for people to get vaccinated against seasonal influenza, particularly hose in at risk groups, as well as babies over six months old to adults, since both children and seniors are more vulnerable to contracting it. Currently included in the high risk group, are people with morbid obesity, heart disease, diabetes, lung conditions such as asthma, cancer and pregnant women, among others.
Local regional health team dishes out 1,000 flu vaccination jabs to staff
The General Directorate of Municipal Health has applied more 1,000 vaccines against influenza to municipal employees who work in the Benito Juárez Administrative Unit, as well as in its dependencies that are located in other points across the region. Health personnel last week immunized an average of 250 people, who were among front line level employees. Some local citizens also attended and benefited
Is this year's flu vaccine effective?
This year’s flu season may be shaping up to be particularly harsh, and the vaccine used this year may not be as effective as first thought, according to medical experts. Based on reporting about illness and deaths caused by flu in Australia which was higher than usual, the experts predict North America will also experience a more severe flu season. The flu vaccine used this year in the Southern Hemisphere has the same composition as the vaccine available in the United States. Unfortunately, this vaccine was only 10 percent effective at preventing H3N2
Improving Campaigns Regarding the Value of Adult Vaccines
While the public health value of vaccines is generally well-known in terms of disease prevention in infants and children, its role in improving adult health may be less obvious. Each year as many as 4000 and 49,000 deaths result from pneumococcal disease and seasonal influenza, respectively, in US adults for example. One of the goals of the Healthy People 2020 initiative is to increase rates of influenza vaccination in adults to 70% from the baseline rate of roughly 40%, but this is proving difficult
Amid questions on effectiveness, experts recommend flu vaccinations
Experts warn that this year’s vaccine could be only 10 percent effective against a strain of the virus H3N2 that is expected to predominantly circulate in the United States. But that 10 percent figure isn’t to say that vaccine holdouts should forgo the flu shot this season. Two experts explain that various factors mean that the flu vaccine will never be 100 percent effective; 50 percent to 70 percent effectiveness is considered a good year
Effectiveness of flu shot Is 60% -- in a good year
How many people get the flu in any given year depends in part on the effectiveness of the vaccine. In a good year, people who get vaccinated are 60% less likely to get sick, but in most recent years, the protection has been worse. Last year, it was 42% effective. In 2014-15, it was 19% effective. "While it’s imperfect, if you have a common disease with substantial morbidity and mortality, you prevent a lot of cases," says Richard Zimmerman, a flu epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Call for more hospital beds to cope with winter breathing difficulties
A report from the British Lung Foundation says more and more people are ending up in an already hard-pressed A&Es because of the increase in breathing problems caused by air pollution, an ageing population and the long-term effects of heavy smoking. In the last seven years, lung disease admissions to hospitals in England and Wales have risen at over three times the rate of all other conditions, says the report. They are at their worst in the winter, often complicated by seasonal flu. The report recommends more effort to prevent illness, including ensuring people get a flu jab
Canadian doctor says there's evidence the 'man flu' is actually real
Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University in St. Johns, decided to study the available research to see if he could settle the debate of whether 'man flu' is real with science. He concluded that there's evidence, albeit limited, that the man flu is actually nothing to sneeze at. He says the studies actually point to men having weaker immune systems than women. Sue admits the evidence is limited, particularly since much of it involved mice. He says more higher-quality research needs to be done
We're missing out on a better way to make flu vaccines
The vast majority of flu shots in the U.S. are grown inside egg cells. Recent research suggests that viruses grown in eggs undergo a crucial change that makes the resulting vaccines less effective. Even though cell-based vaccine technology has been around for a while, pharmaceutical companies have been hesitant to make the switch. It’s expensive to make such a fundamental change to manufacturing, and there wasn’t evidence that the cell-based shot was any more effective—or in-demand—than the egg-based one.
Young leukemia patient emphasizes importance of getting flu shot
In Canada, the mother of a five year old girl being treated for leukemia is pleading for everyone to get a flu shot to help protect her child and other vulnerable people. Her family was at the hospital Sunday to back Health Minister Sarah Hoffman’s ongoing plea for more Albertans, particularly health-care workers, to get immunized against the flu
Physicians stress flu shots after two influenza deaths
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is urging South Carolinians to get their flu shot. This is now the thick of what officials call the "peak flu season", between the months of December and February. Officials in the state are particularly concerned, after two deaths thus far this South Carolina flu season, according to DHEC stats
Burden of disease
Ghana Health Service issues alert on Swine Flu outbreak
The Ghana Health Service has issued an alert over the outbreak of Swine Flu (H1N1) in the country following the death of four students at the Kumasi Academy last week. After several tests, the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyenman-Manu confirmed that the students had died from Swine flu. A private company contracted by the Ministry of Education over the weekend carried out a fumigation exercise at the school
Flu Activity On The Rise In New York: CDC
The United States can expect to see an increase in influenza activity in the coming weeks, the CDC said in its latest Morbidity and Mortality Report. As of Dec. 2, seven children have died of flu nationwide, according to the report, and more than 850 people have been hospitalized. For the week ending Dec. 2, New York reported "regional" flu activity, one step down from "widespread" activity
Flu season hits Ottawa early
According to Ottawa Public Health, flu season started early this year, with the official arrival date of Dec. 4. A total of 19 cases of the flu have been reported since Sept. 1, the agency said. The median age for people affected by the virus is 71 years old. Flu season arrived early last year as well, swamping clinics across the city with feverish patients over the holidays