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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 5th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
UK Approved Fluad Flu Vaccine for Seniors 75+
Decades after approval in various countries, the UK National Health Service (NHS) has approved the adjuvanted flu vaccine Fluad. Under this authorization, UK residents 75 years and older will have access to the new flu vaccine. This decision was made because the current flu shot isn't working for the elderly, reports the NHS.
Flu activity widespread and increasing in Florida
Flu activity is increasing sharply across the state, averaging above the last two years’ peak levels at this time, according to the latest flu report from the state health department. The flu vaccine is reportedly 10 to 30 percent effective against the H3 strain this year, so federal health officials are recommending early treatment with antiviral drugs, in addition to vaccination. The three antiviral drugs that are approved by the FDA for this flu season are oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza) and peramivir (Rapivab)
Pandemic Influenza News
Bird flu alert in Bengaluru: What is avian influenza? Symptoms of H5N1 virus in humans; prevention tips
In India, after eight chickens died of suspected bird flu on December 29, the Karnataka health and family welfare department started awareness campaigns to prevent the spread of the H5N1 virus in the surrounding areas. On Wednesday, as many as 900 fowls were culled after H5N1 virus was detected in a dead bird at a chicken shop
UAE bans import of live birds from Netherlands
The UAE has banned the import of live birds from the Netherlands following an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu strain, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said on Thursday. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) issued a notification of the outbreak of a highly pathogenic strain of bird flu, H5N8, in the Flevoland province of the Netherlands that led to destroying more than 150,000 chicken
South Korea beefs up quarantine measures against bird flu
South Korea's agriculture ministry said Thursday that quarantine measures will be intensified against bird flu, as the latest outbreak in Gyeonggi Province has raised concerns with little over a month left before the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs heightened its alert level of avian influenza (AI) after a H5N6 strain was confirmed at a layer chicken farm in Pocheon, 45 kilometers north of Seoul, earlier in the day
Iowa State University avian influenza in small birds and rodents
Iowa State University research found no evidence that small wild birds and rodents were possible sources of the avian influenza virus that decimated Iowa poultry flocks in 2015. Jim Adelman, an assistant professor in natural resource ecology and management, and Kyoung-Jin Yoon, professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine, were the co-principal investigators who studied wild birds and rodents around poultry operations to see if they carried the virus or had been exposed to it.
Industry News
Emergent BioSolutions Initiates Phase 2 Clinical Study to Evaluate FLU-IGIV to Treat Serious Influenza A Infection
Emergent BioSolutions announced the initiation of a Phase 2 dose ranging study to evaluate the safety, pharmacokinetics, and clinical benefit of FLU-IGIV, the company's anti-influenza immune globulin being developed as an intravenous treatment for serious illness caused by influenza A infection in hospitalized patients.
BiondVax Universal Flu Vaccine Patent Granted in India
BiondVax Pharmaceuticals, developer of M-001, the Universal Flu Vaccine candidate currently in preparation for a Phase 3 clinical trial, announced today that one of its key patents titled "A Synthetic or Recombinant Influenza Multi-Epitope Polypeptide" has been granted in India.
Flu Shots Don't Give You The Flu -- Get Yours Now
Forbes contributor Judy Stone writes about the irresponsible spreading of fake news regarding the flu vaccine on Twitter, and the fact that it cannot give recipients the illness. She explains why the effectiveness of the vaccine varies, and whether or not antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza shoud be relied on.
Dispute brewing over exit of Protein Sciences CEO after Sanofi buyout
Not long after its acquisition by Sanofi, Protein Sciences is bidding adieu to its former leader. Yet Manon Cox says the departure wasn't on her terms, according to the Meriden Record-Journal. Cox will leave the company, a Sanofi spokesperson confirmed to FiercePharma. According to the Record-Journal, however, Cox claims she was forced out and has contacted an attorney.
Academic studies
Eurosurveillance: Changes In Timing Of Influenza Epidemics - WHO European Region 1996-2016
Eurosurveillance has published an analysis of the changes in the peak of influenza season across Europe over the past 20 years. Curiously, while Western European countries have seen a discernible shift towards later flu season peaks, the opposite is true in Eastern Europe and Russia. As a result the overall duration of influenza seasons across the entire WHO European region has shortened over the past 20 years. While the reasons behind these changes aren't immediately apparent, their impact on influenza prevention and control efforts is something that needs to be examined going forward
Could ultraviolet lamps slow the spread of flu?
UV lights disinfect by disrupting the molecular bonds that hold together microbial genetic material or proteins. A group led by physicist David Brenner at Columbia University Medical Center addressed whether far UVC could address a major health concern in many public settings: airborne microbes. The team first aerosolized influenza viruses inside a chamber and exposed them to UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nm or, as a control, to nothing. The researchers then collected liquid samples from the chamber and spread them on dog kidney cells susceptible to the flu. Unexposed samples could infect the cells, but the UVC-treated ones couldn’t, the researchers reported
Pediatric influenza news
Parents warned to keep children with flu-like symptoms home from school by leading health official
In Ireland, parents with children with flu-like symptoms were warned to keep them at home when schools open next week to combat an expected surge in influenza infections in the coming fortnight. A higher proportion of children than normal are falling victim to the flu this year.
Donegal GP calls for schools to close over flu outbreak
In Ireland, a well-known Donegal GP has called for a closure of schools for the next two weeks to prevent the spreading of seasonal influenza. The call comes as the Health Service Executive urged people in high-risk groups to get the flu vaccine as the number of reported cases of influenza-like illness increased in the week before Christmas.
Over 65’s influenza news
Study: Flu shots may offer senior living communities a competitive advantage
Senior living communities that successfully encourage flu vaccination among staff members may have a marketing advantage over competing communities, a new study suggests. Seventy-three of respondents said that medical staff members at assisted living and nursing homes should be vaccinated against influenza, and 71% said that nonmedical staff should be vaccinated
"Influenza is here" with outbreaks at 5 Vancouver Island care homes
In Canada, Vancouver Island health authorities are expecting a more severe than usual flu season with outbreaks confirmed in at least five care facilities on Vancouver Island. Medical Health Officer Paul Hasselback said outbreak precautions are in place at several facilities to help protect vulnerable elderly residents. Hasselback said even though controversy persists over the effectiveness of flu vaccines, they remain the best influenza prevention tool currently available.
General Influenza News
The flu jab doesn't work: Officials admit that a vaccine already dished out to thousands of patients may be targeting the wrong strain
Public Health England has announced the trivalent vaccine is not effective against a common type of influenza B which is currently circulating. An analysis of 25 cases of influenza B revealed 21 of them have been caused by the B/Yamagata type - which isn't covered by the cheaper jab. In a letter to GPs, PHE suggested only adults given the quadrivalent vaccine would face protection from the emerging B strain.
Public Health Agency urges vaccination over Aussie flu risk
In the UK, the Public Health Agency is urging people eligible for free flu vaccination to get it straight away. It comes after the Republic of Ireland confirmed its first flu deaths from a strain - A(H3N2) - known as Aussie flu. This year's flu vaccine has been developed to tackle the main strains circulating this season, including A(H3N2). The PHA says it is essential for those eligible to get vaccinated annually
Influenza Reaches Southern Manitoba
In Canada, the Chief Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health says it does not appear this year's flu vaccine was a great match with the strain of influenza circulating through Manitoba. "The signs so far would suggest that in North America and in Manitoba probably we're not going to have a terrific match this year but we really won't know that until the end of the year," states Dr. Michael Routledge.
Current flu vaccine for Northern Hemisphere includes "Michigan" strain
In Michigan, people are urged to get their flu shot. The 2017-18 vaccine is aimed at three specific strains of influenza, including A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09, A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2) and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage). The Michigan strain replaces the California strain used in the 2016-17 vaccine.
French Health Minister in favour of compulsory flu vaccination
In France the Health Minister has explained her prevention strategy for the next 5 years. She is in favour of compulsory flu vaccination for healthcare personnel, as a way of protecting more at-risk group through a wider coverage of generally healthy people
British PM May apologizes as overwhelmed hospitals cancel non-emergency operations
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May apologized on Thursday to tens of thousands of patients whose operations were canceled to free up staff and beds to deal with emergency patients. A flu outbreak, colder weather and high levels of respiratory illnesses have put hospitals in England under strain with many operating at or near full capacity.
NYU Winthrop Hospital -- First Hospital In Nassau/Suffolk County To Make Flu Vaccine Mandatory For Employees
In the U.S., NYU Winthrop Hospital announced that 99.3% of its more than 8,750 employees were inoculated against influenza in what is believed to be the first time ever that a hospital in Nassau or Suffolk Counties made the vaccination mandatory among its employees.
£10 million hub to tackle global vaccination challenges
In the UK, established with almost £10 million of funding by the Department for Health, the new Future Vaccine Manufacturing Hub is led by Imperial College London and features four other UK universities and three UK institutes. The hub will collaborate with the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturing Network on manufacturing projects in India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Uganda and China.
Burden of disease
Flu kills 34 more people, including a 1-year-old, in San Diego
The number of deaths associated with this year’s severe flu season has quadrupled in a week, according to the latest update from San Diego county Health and Human Services Agency. An additional 34 deaths were added to the tally Wednesday, including a one-year-old boy, as influenza raged throughout the region in what experts say is the fiercest battle with the rapidly-mutating virus they’ve experienced since 2009
Are you in an Aussie flu hotspot? Map shows red zones worst hit by deadly bug
A UK-wide 'red zone' map showing the areas worst hit by flu has been issued by an online influenza surveillance system. The map - which covers all types of the bug including the deadly Aussie flu strain - shows a gradient of no reports to 'very high' reports. The data from the FluSurvey map is used by researchers at Public Health England and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
In the last fortnight of December there were 43 cases of A(H1N1)
A total of 43 cases of H1N1 flu were recorded from December 15 to 31, 2017 across the country. This number is higher than at the same time in the same month a year earlier when there were no cases, according to the Health Minister, Carlos Duran. As of January 2018, no fresh cases have been reported. But in January 2017 there were nine cases of influenza confirmed, the official said on Thursday morning
Very few people are getting vaccinated against influenza: Solís García
Despite the fact that a strong flu vaccination campaign has been running since October, which will end on March 30, there has not been a good response from local people with few of them applying to get vaccinated against flu, according to health coordinator, Solis Garcia
Rajasthan Government Issued Red Alert Over Swine Flu Disease with 63 Cases in 2 Days
In India, Rajasthan’s health department has conducted a video conference with officials over swine flu cases in 2017. With the state reporting a total of 3,619 cases of swine flu and 279 deaths in 2017, a red alert was issued all over the state and officials were asked to be more careful about the disease in order to prevent more deaths
"Take your elderly home to free beds": Now NHS chiefs urge relatives to help them ease crisis on the wards
Pressures on the NHS are likely to intensify later this week, with the return of freezing temperatures predicted across the UK. Experts are particularly worried about an aggressive flu strain, H3N2 – responsible for Australia's worst flu epidemic in 50 years. The main reason A&E units are overcrowded is because hospital wards are extremely full, so anyone arriving to A&E who needs to be admitted must wait for hours on a trolley until a bed is free
Spike in flu could mean more cases this season
Experts say the 2017-2018 U.S. flu season is seeing more cases than this time last year, and could mean a worse flu season ahead when it comes to the number of cases. The entire country is seeing a spike in the number of flu cases and Southwest Florida is no exception. The Florida Department of Health in Lee County said peak flu season is typically in February, but we're seeing it now.
"Aussie flu" deaths double in a week: Government data reveals the UK is succumbing to two aggressive strains of the killer virus at the same time
Flu deaths have doubled in the space of a week, Government figures reveal as fears of the worst outbreak in 50 years loom large. Public Health England data also shows the killer virus has left 1,078 in hospital since October - a quarter of which because of so-called 'Aussie flu'. The latest figures state 48 people have lost their lives to the bug already this winter, compared to the 23 deaths recorded last week.
GP consultation rates for flu-like symptoms rise further as "Aussie flu" hits
Rates of GP consultations for flu continued to rise last week with the entire UK now affected by several influenza strains.Public Health England's weekly flu update, for the period up to 31 December, also revealed a sharp rise in hospitalisations for the dreaded 'Aussie flu' H3N2 strain. PHE medical director Professor Paul Cosford said: 'The vaccine is the best defence we have against the spread of flu and it isn’t too late to get vaccinated.'
Flu present across France but remains moderate
The flu is now epidemic across France, but seems to be moderate in strength according to Santé publique France. There have been 31 deaths caused by the flu among people admitted to A&E since November 1st
20 die from flu in Washington state
In the U.S., State health officials say 20 people have died from the flu so far this season in Washington state. Officials say most of the people who have died from the flu were older than 70 and had underlying health conditions. Health officials say annual flu vaccination is the best method of prevention against illness
State officials report 7 more flu deaths in North Carolina, 20 for the season
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that there have been seven more flu deaths, raising this season’s total to 20. Officials announced on Dec. 28 the state’s first child flu death. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the child’s family,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore, in a statement. “If anything positive comes from this tragic loss, we hope it will be that people understand that flu is a serious illness. Flu vaccination is the most effective protection against flu, and it’s still not too late to get a flu shot.”
Texas Is Suffering Through its Worst Flu Outbreak in Decades
In the U.S., Dallas County suffered its sixth death of the 2017-18 flu season Tuesday, marking another low point in one of the worst flu seasons in decades, researchers say. While there are signs that Texas' infection rate may have peaked around the holidays, the state and Dallas County aren't out of the woods yet, according to set of tools being developed to keep people safe and better allocate resources during flu season.
Killer Aussie flu on rise as deadly bug leaves 17 fighting for life in intensive care
In the UK, Aussie flu is on the rise as 17 were left flighting for life in the last week, a government report has revealed. The number of people admitted to intensive care units with the deadly illness has almost doubled in the last seven days, according to Public Health England's weekly National Influenza Report.
As flu season heats up, hospitals impose visitor restrictions
As flu activity increases in the U.S. and becomes widespread across Indiana, hospitals are implementing restrictions on patient visits. Dr. Virginia A. Caine, director of the Marion County Public Health Department, has asked the hospitals of all the major health systems in the county to limit visitors to the immediate family of patients. Those under 18 and those exhibiting symptoms of influenza will also not be allowed to visit.
Bad flu season in Louisiana getting worse
In the U.S., Louisiana remains one of the states with the most confirmed cases of influenza during the early half of the flu season. Department of Health’s Dr. Frank Welch says he is very concerned at the early aggressiveness the flu is showing this year. "In my 20 years doing this, I've never seen it this bad. Typically, when we get up around 4, 5, even 6%, that is a serious, serious flu year. We're up at 10% now in Louisiana." He recommends getting the flu shot
Confirmed flu cases at 113 and rising in Ottawa
Ottawa is still in the grips of the flu season with more than 100 confirmed cases, and the number is expected to rise in the coming weeks. According to Ottawa Public Health, there are already 113 confirmed influenza cases recorded since September and that number doesn't represent the extent of the illness. "We expect that there are many more cases out there because only a small number of people go to their doctor and get tested for the flu. The number of cases are still rising because we haven't seen that peak yet," said Dr. Geneviève Cadieux, an associate medical officer of health with OPH
Flu cases rising across Oregon, Washington, Idaho; some deaths reported
More than 120 Oregonians were hospitalized for flu-related ailments the week ending Dec. 23. That's up from 85 cases the week prior. Oregon is one of 36 states nationwide reporting high levels of a flu outbreak, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control. It doesn't help that this year's flu vaccination has not been particularly effective.