"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 19th Dec 2017

Seqirus mentions
What Tennesseans should know about the flu shot
In the U.S., the CDC National Influenza Vaccination Week was observed earlier this month but that doesn’t mean people should stop caring about flu vaccines. The recommendation to not use the nasal spray flu vaccine was renewed for the 2017-2018 season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended. 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
Pandemic Influenza News
DA eyes March timetable to declare Luzon bird flu-free
In the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture said it may declare Luzon free of avian influenza by March following the culling of 42,000 chickens in Candaba, Pampanga in late November. Animal Health and Welfare Development officer-in-charge Dr. Arlyn Asteria V. Vytiaco said that the DA is in the process of checking infected areas through the introduction of sentinel birds.
Netherlands Media: Avian Flu At Scharrel Mountain Zoo in Biddinghuizen
Although nothing has been posted on the Netherlands's Rijksoverheid (government) website, or by the Wageningen Bioveterinary Research Institute, multiple Dutch media sources are reporting an avian flu outbreak at the open-range Scharrel Mountain petting Zoo in Biddinghuizen. Tests are underway to determine if this outbreak is due to the same HPAI H5N6 virus which has struck in and around Biddinghuizen over the past two weeks
China: 4 H7 Positive Samples Taken From Hunan Poultry Markets
Although reports of H7N9 out of China remain scarce right now, Chinese media is filled with reports of the detection of the H7 virus in 4 of 32 poultry samples collected from live bird markets in Changde City, Hunan Province on December 15th. No human H7N9 cases have been reported in Changde City this year, but this is a reminder that the virus remains active, particularly in live bird markets
The Challenge Of Promoting Pandemic Preparedness
Governments, agencies, organizations, and businesses were creating plans, holding drills, and girding themselves against an H5N1 bird flu pandemic that has so far failed to materialize. While H5N1 is still out there, we've a new generation of avian and novel flu viruses that we are watching today, with the number of threats having grown to include H7N9, H5N6, H5N8, along with a rogue's gallery of second tier threats.
Industry News
Novavax Says Phase 3 Trial of RSV F Vaccine for Infants via Maternal Immunization Will Continue; Provides Update on Phase 1/2 Trial of NanoFlu Vaccine
Novavax announced the Phase 3 trial of its RSV F protein recombinant nanoparticle vaccine (RSV F Vaccine) for infants via maternal immunization will continue. It also provided an update on its nanoparticle influenza vaccine candidate with proprietary Matrix-M adjuvant (NanoFlu)
Will Sanofi be the scapegoat for the Dengvaxia fiasco?
With the public pronouncements of current and former Philippines Department of Health officials during last Monday’s joint hearing of the Senate blue ribbon, health, and finance committees, it looks like Sanofi is being made out to be the scapegoat in the Dengvaxia vaccine fiasco. However flaws in the procurement process are being pointed out (flaws that are reminiscent of the Tamiflu procurement fiasco in the Philippines)
Academic studies
Human Antibodies in Medical Laboratory May Be Key to Immunity and Preventing Diseases Such as Influenza A
Scientists with Francis Crick Institute and Ragon Institute have successfully created human antibodies in vitro that can be made to recognize specific antigens in the human body; this could lead to new treatments for cancer and other infectious diseases
Triple Antiviral Against Influenza Fails to Provide Clinical Benefit
A triple antiviral drug combination significantly decreased viral shedding in what researchers characterize as the largest and most comprehensive study assessing combination antivirals for the treatment of influenza, but with no more clinical benefit than a single agent having less virological effect. "The scarcity of evident clinical benefit despite enhanced viral clearance is both intriguing and disappointing," John Beigel, MD, Leidos Biomedical Research, Frederick, MD, wrote in support of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and colleagues
Pediatric influenza news
Flu: Parents urged to give toddlers spray vaccine
In Wales, parents of two and three-year-olds have been urged to get them vaccinated against flu to help reduce hospital admissions. Wales' Chief Medical Officer Dr Frank Atherton said it could also help stop the spread of flu in the community. Children in that age bracket are eligible for a free nasal spray flu vaccine at their GP surgery each winter.
Why pregnant Hull women should sign up to receive this second flu vaccine
In the UK, mums-to-be are being offered a second vital vaccine against flu to keep safe this winter. A team of hospital midwives have become the first in Hull to be trained in administering the flu vaccine which will be offered to women when they attend hospital antenatal checks at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital.
Can the Influenza Vaccine Prevent Acute Otitis Media?
Acute otitis media (AOM) is common among children in high-income countries, with an estimated 80% of children experiencing at least 1 episode by the time they reach 3 years of age. A study looked at evidence pertaining to the effectiveness of flu vaccines in preventing AOM in infants and children, and found that "vaccination may confer modest reductions in AOM and AOM-targeted antibiotic use,” said Dr Lauterbach. Promotion of the influenza vaccine as a strategy to reduce AOM is likely unjustified, although the review authors stated that “many factors… influence parents' decisions whether or not to vaccinate their child,” and they may want to consider these results in making such decisions.
Over 65’s influenza news
Flu: "We do not take enough into account the vulnerability of the elderly."
"Last year, the flu epidemic caused nearly 15,000 deaths - mostly elderly people, and every time there is a crisis of this magnitude, the means deployed by public authorities are not enough," says Romain Gizolme, director of the Association of Directors in the Service of the Elderly (AD-PA) in France. " The vulnerability of the elderly to the influenza virus is clearly not sufficiently taken into account ," he continued, and requires more planning, resources and strategic policy input
General Influenza News
New study suggests flu vaccine could work as well as last year's
As the flu barrels across the United States, the good news is that this year's vaccine may work better than many expected. a recent report in the journal F1000 Research found the Australian strain of H3N2 is not identical to the predominant virus circulating in the United States. "The majority of the viruses are well-covered by the vaccine," said lead researcher Dr. Slobodan Paessler, a professor in the department of pathology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "There are some minor groups of viruses that are not well-covered," he added
Residents become immune to Michigan strain swine flu
In Telangana, India, the drop in swine flu cases and its lower intensity this year was the result of the people of the city developing immunity against the Michigan strain, according to public health officials. Only 10 cases were recorded in Telangana in November. “The Michigan strain was identified very late and by the time it was known the people developed immunity towards it. The cases being seen are very mild and the numbers have not been very high since November. The virus, present since last three years, was virulent till September. From this winter, the immunity is built in human bodies and till the virus mutates the new strain will not develop,” said an officer.
1,300 CA Veterans Got "Compromised" Flu Shots: Report
Roughly 1,300 veterans in California received flu vaccines in October that were held in a broken refrigerator, ultimately making the shots ineffective, reported The San Diego Union-Tribune. Another 240 peoples at the San Diego VA's office also received the "compromised" shots. The newspaper reported last week that the refrigerator's "temperature rose to the mid 50s, while the proper range for that vaccine is 36 to 46 degrees." "Then a series of missteps occurred, and it took 10 days for anyone to notice"
Mayor says flu vaccination helps protect you against a range of respiratory illnesses
The mayor José Isabel Badillo Jaramillo, in coordination with the Secretary of Health, is inviting the people of Xicohtzinco to come and get vaccinated against the flu. The municipal authorities want to get people protected against respiratory diseases that break out each year during the cold season. They are calling on all the inhabitants of the municipality to get protected against influenza
Flu vaccination campaign has reached 60% completion of the target groups to date
The vaccination campaign against influenza is 60% complete, and it is expected that by the end of December the total doses will have been used. The Secretary of Health said that vaccination reduces the risk of presenting a severe form of respiratory disease and the inevitable risk of premature death on contracting it. "This does not mean that people cannot be vaccinated in January or February, it can also be done, but the recommendation is to do it in advance of the period when the disease will be at its most intense," he said. Since October, when epidemiological surveillance of the cold season began, seven cases of influenza have been reported in Sonora.
ISSSTE has managed to reach everyone in its initial flu vaccination at-risk target group
The state delegate for the Institute of Security and Social Services for State Workers (ISSSTE), Sergio Blanca Alvarez, reported that health authorities had reached 100% of the target at risk population with their flu vaccination campaign, so now they were asking for ten thousand more vaccine doses which they can use to protect even more people against influenza.
NHS to use 'sickness surveillance system' to predict pressure points this winter
In the UK, the NHS is to use a "sickness surveillance system" to predict illnesses before they happen this winter in a bid to cope with crippling pressures. The technology combines data gathered daily from GP surgeries, hospital emergency departments, the NHS 111 helpline and walk-in centres with Met Office weather alerts and is intended to give medics early warning of regional outbreaks of flu or other seasonal illnesses
Physicians Recommend Getting Flu Shot As Soon As Possible
In an average year, between 12,000 and 56,000 Americans will die from flu-related illness. Already this year there’s been one pediatric flu death in Texas, and a school closure due to an outbreak. Allison Winnike with The Immunization Partnership said the flu virus mutates, so scientists try to predict the strains that are going to be active. “But the great thing about the flu vaccine is that it protects us against a lot of different strains. Even if we don’t have an exact match, it can lessen the symptoms,” Winnike said
This Year's Flu Virus Could Be Worse Than Usual — And the Vaccine May Not Help
Public-health experts are predicting that this year’s flu will be severe for several reasons. Cases are starting up early, which is one indicator of an aggressive virus, Australia recorded 2½ times as many cases, compared to the same period last year, and experts report that the flu vaccine may not be as effective as they’d hoped
Flu season is here early, why didn't we see it coming?
Normally, in the U.S., flu infections start to increase around the beginning of January, peak in February, and then come down by the end of March. But according to data released by the CDC, the flu is already widespread in 12 states, including California and New York. Medical researchers have raised concerns over how effective this year’s flu vaccine is against the most severe strain: H3N2
How Does the Flu Actually Kill People?
In a typical season most flu-related deaths occur among children and the elderly, both of whom are uniquely vulnerable. Because the immune systems of children are relatively naive, they may not respond optimally. In contrast the immune systems of the elderly are often weakened by a combination of age and underlying illness. Both the very young and very old may also be less able to tolerate and recover from the immune system's self-attack
Health experts call for including influenza vaccine in EPI
At a time when influenza-related deaths are rising globally, there is no official influenza vaccine policy in Pakistan. “Influenza vaccination is strongly recommended by the WHO on a yearly basis,” said Dr Suleman Otho, senior chest specialist and public health consultant. High cost, traditional norms, customs and low levels of education in Pakistan are preventing people from getting vaccinated. It is timely to include influenza vaccination in the Expanded Programme on Immunization Pakistan, which is a disease prevention programme aiming to eradicate preventable diseases through subsidized or free immunization, Dr Otho added
Doctors in Devon encourage patients to get flu vaccination
Doctors in Devon, UK, are reminding patients that it's not too late to get vaccinated against flu. Free jabs are available to pregnant women and pensioners. As well as expectant mothers and pensioners, people with potentially serious health conditions may also qualify for free vaccinations
Burden of disease
Swine flu killed more than 2000 people in India in 2017, says govt
Swine flu claimed 2,186 lives and affected 38,220 people across India this year till November 26, the government said. Maharashta recorded 752 deaths, the highest number of fatalities due to the deadly virus in the period, according to a data shared by Union minister of state for health and family welfare Anupriya Patel, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha. A total of 38,220 cases were recorded till November 26 and 2,186 deaths this year. Twelve deaths due to swine flu occurred in Delhi, as per the data.
Flu activity in Ohio elevated to highest level; vaccinations urged
Flu activity in Ohio has been elevated to the highest level, weeks earlier than last flu season. On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health raised the flu activity to “widespread.” The flu activity and geographic spread had been categorized as “regional” on Dec. 8. During last year’s flu season, flu activity in Ohio didn’t reach “widespread” geographic spread until mid-January. During the week ending Dec. 9, there were 144 new flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio, compared to 92 the week prior, and 29 during the same week last year
Health authorities issue influenza "B" warning
Health authorities in Sri Lanka are urging the public to be vigilant as influenza B is spreading in several parts of the country. Meanwhile an epidemiologist will be asked to look into the deaths of 9 people who had been treated in a local hospital
Nueces Co. being hit hard by influenza
According to the city/county health department, there were 220 confirmed cases of the flu reported in Nueces County during the first week of December. Last year, there were only 35 cases of the flu reported during that same time. The flu season began ...
CDC Flu Update: Influenza-Like Illness Increasing Sharply
According to this week’s FluView report from the CDC, seasonal influenza activity continues to increase in the U.S. The proportion of people seeing their healthcare provider for influenza-like-illness increased sharply from last week and has been at or above the national baseline for three weeks so far this season. Influenza A(H3N2) viruses were most commonly reported during week 49 (the week ending Dec. 9, 2017) and have been the predominant virus so far this season. Twelve states reported widespread flu activity, 26 states reported regional flu activity and 10 states reported local influenza activity
'Significant flu activity' on the rise in Alabama, says ADPH
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), health providers are increasingly seeing more patients experiencing flu symptoms, as several strains have been reported in recent weeks. "Providers reporting increased percentages of patients with influenza-like illness and influenza samples sent to public health provide an indication of the geographic spread of influenza in Alabama," said Dr. Karen Landers, District Medical Officer