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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 21st Dec 2017

Seqirus mentions
Flu vaccines, previously problematic for the egg-allergic, are now deemed safe
Health experts are presenting new vaccination guidelines saying there's no safety difference for flu shots given to people with egg allergies and those without. But while the guidelines will likely assuage concerns about allergic reactions, the egg-based production method has come under fire lately for efficacy. Meanwhile, Sanofi and Seqirus offer vaccinations that use alternative manufacturing technologies, and Seqirus this year became the first vaccine maker to produce cell-based flu immunizations on a commercial scale
Vaccine to combat seasonal illness - Seqirus advice on how to protect yourself from influenza during the winter months
In Italy, Seqirus released information on the flu and how to protect yourself efficiently. "It may be the case that influenza should not cause great concern in the healthy population, but it can have serious consequences for people in the most at risk groups," according to Prof. Fabrizio Pregliasco, Virologist, Researcher at the Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health at the University of Milan. "In this sense, flu vaccine is, without a doubt, a life-saver for those people in the most fragile categories. These include young children, those over 65 and those suffering from chronic diseases of both respiratory and cardiac nature ".
2018 Influenza Antiviral Recommendations
Although prevention through vaccination is the best line of defense against flu, treatment options are available and should be administered promptly, especially to high-risk patients. Three prescription antiviral medications are recommended for the treatment of influenza: oral oseltamivir, inhaled zanamivir, and intravenous peramivir
Pandemic Influenza News
US lifts ban on genetically modifying viruses to make them more deadly
Scientists eager to genetically engineer viruses to become even more deadly in order to understand how pandemics arise have been given the green light in the United States. President Trump’s Federal Government has ended a three-year moratorium on allowing such research to be funded. The moratorium was introduced after experts raised fears that such ‘monster’ germs could possibly escape laboratories — unleashing the very kind of pandemic they intended to avert
South Korea Reports `Second Strain" Of Newly Reassorted H5N6 Virus
Today, via a short announcement from South Korea's MAFRA and an English language media report from China, we learned that a second strain of H5N6 has been identified in South Korea. Although the differences were slight - and thus far, unspecified - they are a reminder that these HPAI viruses are a work in progress; that they continue to evolve, occasionally manage to reassort with other viruses, and can (potentially) adapt to other hosts over time
Saudi Arabia: MEWA Announces HPAI H5N8 Detected In Riyadh
Today Saudi Arabia's MEWA (Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture) announced the detection of Highly Pathogenic H5N8 among birds at a market in Riyadh. While other Middle Eastern countries have reported HPAI H5N8 over the past year, this seems to be the first outbreak in poultry in KSA
Russia: Rosselkhoznadzor Reports Avian H5 In Kostroma Region
Overnight FluTrackers picked up a Russian media report of an avian flu outbreak in the Kostroma Region, roughly 200 miles north and east of Moscow. Thus far, the scattered reports of avian flu we've seen coming out of Russia this fall (see Russia: Rosselkhoznadzor Reports Avian H5 Detected In Rostov Region) have all been reported as being HPAI H5N8, similar to last winter's epizootic strain.
Industry News
Sector highlights: SGS Life Sciences interview
SGS Clinical Research has developed and launched a cGMP-manufactured, non-haemagglutinating, wild-type strain of Influenza A H3N2. This novel virus has consistent performance characteristics, closely emulating a wild type infection which can be used as a challenge agent in controlled, human infection studies to develop effective vaccines. Considering recent failures in global vaccination programmes versus H3N2 (which has been responsible for 3 of the last 4 global epidemics), a novel challenge agent capable of rapidly providing evidence regarding vaccine effectiveness, and which enables candidate selection prior to vaccination programmes, could positively affect future measurements of disease burden.
PSNC warns contractors not to create shortages by over-ordering stocks of antivirals
The PSNC has urged contractors not to create drugs shortages by over-ordering stocks of antiviral medicines after the Department of Health published an alert telling prescribers in primary care they can prescribe antivirals for the prophylaxis and treatment of flu at NHS expense. The alert, aimed at GPs and other prescribers in the community, was sent in response to the rise in levels of flu this winter.
Pharma firms face multi-million Brexit bill, MPs warned
Pharmaceutical companies face a multi-million euro bill in regulatory costs regardless of whether the UK reaches a ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit deal with the European Union, industry leaders warned. “Our working assumption is for between £60-£70 million in contingency planning costs in the scenario of a ‘no deal’ over the next three to four years,” GlaxoSmithKline’s Global Affairs President Phil Thompson told MPs on the House of Commons Health select committee. “Even if we have a smooth and orderly Brexit process there are going to be costs of that magnitude,” Thompson added
Pharma companies may be less likely to invest in the UK post-Brexit, MPs told
UK patient involvement in clinical trials will diminish post-Brexit making manufacturers less likely to want to invest here, MPs on the House of Commons Health Select Committee were told on Tuesday. But MPs also heard that unlocking the potential of patient data held by the NHS may be enough to persuade the pharmaceutical industry to continue to look to the UK for its involvement in developing new drugs and mitigate any disadvantages from leaving the EU. Hugo Fry, UK general manager of Sanofi suggested that finding itself outside the EU could create a “potential opportunity” if the UK could “lighten the burden of administration” around clinical trials
Novavax: Punts On NanoFlu, Accelerates RSV
Novavax issued a press release on Dec. 18, providing updates on its two main vaccine trials. The full data package for the NanoFlu flu vaccine will be completed by Feb. 2018; previous guidance stated interim data would be displayed before the end of 2017. Market reaction to the news was highly negative; traders positioned in anticipation of a major news event were disappointed
Experts call for use of Sanofi's dengue vaccine to be halted in most cases
The use of the world’s first dengue vaccine should be temporarily suspended except in limited circumstances because of concerns that it could put some people at heightened risk of severe disease, according to prominent public health experts. That step, they say, is necessary after studies showed that the vaccine, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, can have an unfortunate effect: worsening — rather than preventing — future cases of dengue in some people who had not previously been infected with it.
WHO expert committee to release recommendations on Dengvaxia by year end
The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to release recommendations following the dengue vaccine controversy before the year ends, the former Health Secretary said Tuesday.Growing concern about health risks linked to the vaccine Dengvaxia have left the public stumped on whether to finish the initially recommended three doses. Former Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said she recommends recipients finish the dosage — but she also pointed out that the international organization had the final say.
Academic studies
Accurate Influenza Testing Possible With Midturbinate Nasal Swabs
According to the results of a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, midturbinate swabs for influenza detection provided a more comfortable experience for patients compared with traditional nasopharyngeal swabs, with only a small decrease in test sensitivity.
Pediatric influenza news

No News Recorded

Over 65’s influenza news

No News Recorded

General Influenza News
Flu Shot is Safe for Those with Egg Allergies
According to new government guidelines published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI), individuals with an egg allergy no longer need to avoid the flu shot. The practice parameter update makes a strong recommendation indicating that individuals with an egg allergy, regardless of how severe those allergies are, should receive the flu vaccine
Vaccination rates against seasonal flu make advances
Although there is still a need for institutions to confirm their report to the National Vaccination authorities, the Ministry of Health in Sonora reported that there has been at least 76% coverage of the target population with influenza vaccinations. Luis Becerra Hurtado, undersecretary of Health in the State, explained that 406,155 Sonorans have been vaccinated this current winter season, which began on October 16. "There is still one more week of vaccination to go and this could change the data," he said. The Ministry of Health has in its possession 155,000 doses of vaccines against the flu, of which 86,500 are in the State Vaccine Centre Reserve
There has been 17 cases of seasonal flu in Ciudad de Mexico
The state government of Ciudad de Mexico has recorded 17 confirmed cases of seasonal flu, with no recorded deaths so far, according to Health Secretary Miguel Angel Mancera
Vaccine best protection against Influenza
The flu season is in full swing and Public Health Command Europe officials continue to recommend the flu vaccine for service members and their families as the best protection against the seasonal flu. Each year the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies and while it is still too early to predict how effective this season's flu vaccine will be in Europe, the vaccination is still recommended as, at the very least, it may make the illness milder and prevent hospitalization if the flu is contracted.
KUMACA students, staff to be vaccinated as H1N1 vaccines arrive today
Information gathered by Ultimatefmonline.com suggests that the vaccines for the H1N1 Type ‘A’ Viral Influenza are due to arrive in Ghana in the evening. The health service in the Ashanti region is predicting that it will begin administering the vaccinations immediately
Vigilance against childhood and common infectious diseases urged in Christmas and New Year holidays
In Hong Kong, the public, particularly children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses, are urged to get vaccinated early to better protect themselves against seasonal influenza before the winter influenza season. "While local activity of SI remains at low level, it continues to increase in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere and the winter influenza season has arrived in the United States, Canada and Japan. We anticipate that the local winter influenza season may arrive in early 2018," a spokesman said.
Fun flu jab video released by Isle of Wight NHS Trust
In the UK, Bestival boss Rob da Bank has teamed up with staff at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust for a fun video promoting the flu jab. The trust has been encouraging frontline staff to get the jab and protect themselves, and therefore patients, from the four strains of flu and so far 62.3 per cent of employees have had it. Bosses are reminding staff it is not too late to get their jab, with the vaccination available until March next year.
Iowa seeing more flu cases this year
Iowa is seeing more flu cases compared to this same time last year. The state health department says there have been 199 cases of the flu so far this season. Last year at this time, there had been just 32 cases. Researchers say they are watching this, but they aren't ready yet to say it's going to be a bad flu season. The peak is still coming. Doctors also say there's been misinformation that this year's flu shot is just 10% effective. They say it's actually around 32%.
Influenza on the rise in Washington; health officials say “Get vaccinated now”
Influenza illnesses are increasing and health officials at the Washington State Department of Health urge Washingtonians to get a flu shot now. Officials also want people to avoid spreading the flu and to know when it’s okay to be cared for at home and when they should get medical care.
Report: Flu-shot rate in Minnesota too low
Barely more than half of Minnesotans got a flu shot during the fall and winter of 2016-17, said a report released on Tuesday. But the state’s 51.7 percent flu vaccination rate was the seventh-highest in the country, according to “Ready or Not? Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism,” a report from the nonprofit Trust for America’s Health. The CDC has a goal of 70 percent vaccination, noted John Auerbach, president and CEO of the trust
The Virus That Conquered the World, 100 Years Later
Not only is another influenza pandemic possible, but it’s certain to eventually happen. “When a pandemic strikes, having the right medicines and treatments at the right location and in the right quantity is vital," says Neha Nanda, MD, a hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention and antimicrobial stewardship at Keck Medicine of USC. She adds that "there are major constraints in the medication supply chain that are primarily driven by the need for strict temperature control for vaccines from the beginning to the end of the supply chain. In countries or regions where infrastructure such as electricity, cold chain and other essential requirements are not in place, it’s very hard to maintain the integrity of the medical supply chain"
Burden of disease
Seasonal flu in Arizona up 758 percent from last year, report shows
The Arizona Department of Health Services said there have been 2,976 reported cases of flu infection between mid-October and Dec. 20. That's compared to 347 cases in the same period last year — a 758-percent increase in flu activity. February is typically peak flu season, according to the Health Department, but this year flu occurrences began to shoot up near the beginning of December. Last week alone, there were 1,188 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu in Arizona, compared with less than 200 during the same time in 2016, according to a Health Department report.
In southern Finland the influenza epidemic has already taken route - Essote health expert says: "It seems that flu vaccine efficacy is worse than we expected"
In the southern half of Finland, the seasonal influenza period is well underway. The influenza B epidemic hit exceptionally early this year. The B virus has a different strain to the vaccine protection program via the injectable vaccine. The vaccine contains protection against three strains of viruses. Therefore, the vaccine program for vaccination program does not provide full protection against the current flu virus. On the other hand, some Finns may have built up immunity as it did pass through the country a few years ago. "If there is a need to get protected against the flu, physicians still have vaccine left," said THL Specialist Niina Ikonen to Helsingin Sanomat
Rajasthan: Swine Flu outbreak at officers training centre in Jaipur
In a shocking indictment of health affairs in Rajasthan, seven trainee officers at Officers Training Institute in Jaipur have been found infected by swine flu. The outbreak was detected when a number of officers reported such symptoms and 74 were screened. Government is evacuating the prestigious institute as a safeguard
Flu has sent more than three times the number of people to the hospital in Colorado than usual
In Colorado, flu season is in full force, sending more than three times the number of people to the hospital than usual. There have been 566 people hospitalized for influenza in Colorado, compared with the 150 cases typically logged by mid-December, state health officials say.
Cases of H1N1 discovered at schools in Kuwait
In Kuwait, the health authorities have diagnosed more than eleven LKG students with the H1N1 virus at a private school in the region of Hawali. Other cases have also been discovered at another primary school over the past two weeks, according to Alqbas newspaper.
ECDC: Rapid Risk Assessment For Seasonal Flu EU/EEA 2017-18
One of the difficulties of flu forecasting is that the dominant flu strain that shows up in North America, or in Europe, can differ greatly from the type (and severity) of flu that arrives in Russia, China, or the Middle East. It is perfectly possible for North America to have an H3N2 flu season, while other parts of the northern hemisphere find themselves dealing primarily with H1N1 or Influenza B. And even when the subtypes do align, the strains within that subtype can vary considerably in terms of transmissibility, severity, and susceptibility to the current influenza vaccine.
Flu activity gets highest upgrade; Stark numbers rising
During the week ending Dec. 9, the most recent information available, there were 144 new flu-associated hospitalizations in Ohio, compared to 92 the week before. That’s up from only 29 during the same week a year ago, the department said. So far this flu season, there have been 401 flu-associated hospitalizations, trending above the five-year average.
The number of flu patients admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital's intensive care ward this winter
In the UK,nine people have been admitted to Royal Bolton Hospital's intensive care or high dependency units suffering from flu winter. New figures show that, from November 1 to December 15, 92 patients at the hospital have been diagnosed with confirmed cases of flu. Many of those have been discharged the same day, but others have needed admission, including nine patients who needed care in the high dependency unit or intensive care unit
Flu on the rise; hospitals urge sick people to stay home
The flu has hit Central Illinois earlier than usual this season, prompting some hospitals to enact voluntary visitor restrictions and health professionals to issue warnings of how people can reduce the risk of spreading flu. Statewide, 68 people have been admitted to ICUs and one child has died of flu so far this season, said Melaney Arnold of the Illinois Department of Public Health
Flu Causes 257 Hospitalizations In Ohio This Year So Far
The flu is hitting Ohio harder in 2017 than it did last year. During the week that ended Dec. 2, there were 92 flu-related hospitalizations in Ohio. That brings this year's flu season hospitalizations total to 257. This year's flu vaccine has been "significantly less effective" than average, according to the Ohio Department of Health