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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 9th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
No, it's not too late to get a flu shot
During the last week of 2017, "influenza activity increased sharply in the United States," according to the CDC. The good news is that it's not too late to reduce your risk by getting a flu shot. Also, if your doctor prescribes an antiviral medication like Tamiflu (oseltamivir), Relenza (zanamivir) and Rapivab (peramivir), be sure to take it. Those are working really well this flu season, the CDC says.
GP practices told to order two different types of flu vaccines amid efficacy fears
In the UK, GP practices have been advised by NHS England to order a separate adjuvanted vaccine, Fluad, to give to over-75s in the 2018/19 flu season. Dr Kieran Sharrock, medical director of Lincolnshire LMC, said that NHS England's advice had come 'too late' for many practices. However, Dr George Kassianos, GP and RCGP immunisation lead, said practices should follow NHS England's advice
Pandemic Influenza News
Case of bird flu detected at S. Korean duck farm
A new case of bird flu has been discovered at a duck farm in South Korea's southwestern region, the agriculture ministry said Monday, in the latest outbreak in the duck farming region. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said H5 avian influenza was detected at a farm in Naju, 355 kilometers south of Seoul, and culled all of the farm's 16,500 ducks.
Philippines may regain bird flu-free nation status by April–BAI
The Philippines could regain its bird flu-free status by April, a month later than the government’s target date, as authorities experienced delays in sanitizing the affected farm in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija. Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) Animal Health and Welfare Division Chief Aryln Vytiaco said provincial veterinarians in Central Luzon were not able to complete the cleaning and disinfection of a farm struck by bird flu in Cabiao before Christmas.
News Scan for Jan 08, 2018 - Saudi MERS cases; Next-gen flu vaccine grant; New H5N6 infection
China has reported another human H5N6 avian flu case, which involved a 3-year-old girl from Fujian province who had contact with live poultry before she became ill, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection said. The girl recovered after treatment, and so far her close contacts have not reported any symptoms. Her illness marks China's 18th involving H5N6 since the first human case was detected in 2014.
Iraq, Afghanistan, other nations report avian flu outbreaks
In the latest avian flu developments, two more countries in the Middle East—Iraq and Afghanistan—reported highly pathogenic H5 outbreaks, and Germany reported its first H5N6 detection, according to separate reports from the World Organization for Animal Health. Elsewhere, Bangladesh reported another outbreak involving H5N1, and South Africa recently detected H5N8 again, this time in a wild bird.
OIE Notification: H5N8 In Iraq
Although FluTrackers has had the Arabic language media reports for more than a week, today the OIE published the official notification of HPAI H5N8 in Dilaya, Iraq. While we've heard occasional (unconfirmed) reports of poultry deaths over the past year in Iraq, this is their first OIE notification since December of 2016. Iraq joins Iran, Saudi Arabia in reporting H5N8 outbreaks during this winter of 2017-18.
Profile: China's top science award winner Hou Yunde
Hou Yunde, a scientist who dedicated himself to antiviral research, won China's top science award for his contribution in the field. Due to the efforts by Hou and other medical workers, China has set up an infectious disease detection system, effective within 72 hours, that can identify about 300 known pathogens and test unknown pathogens, including the H1N1 influenza virus, the H7N9 bird flu virus, Ebola virus, and the MERS virus
Iraq reports outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu: OIE
Iraq has reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 bird flu in Diyala in the center of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Monday. The virus was found on Dec. 27 at a farm of 43,000 birds and killed 7,250 of them, the OIE said
Qatar free from bird flu: health ministry
The Ministry of Public Health said no cases of bird flu have been registered in Qatar. The ministry said bird flu is closely and continuously monitored by the National Influenza Centre, which periodically scans samples to monitor the types of viruses and to detect their strains and epidemiological patterns
Industry News
Dengvaxia probe: DOH checks death of 14 kids
In the Philippines, Dengvaxia’s manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur has been fined P100,000 for not meeting marketing requirements. A panel of experts from the Philippine General Hospital will review the circumstances behind the deaths of 14 children who were given the Dengvaxia antidengue vaccine under the government’s immunization program, Health Undersecretary Enrique Domingo said
UK in push to remain part of EU medicines agency after Brexit
Britain is pushing to remain under EU regulation for medicines after Brexit, in the latest sign that ministers want to stay close to Europe in some sectors despite the bloc warning that the UK cannot cherry-pick parts of the single market. The move follows calls for the UK’s chemicals and aviation industries to continue to be regulated by EU agencies, keeping them within Europe’s standards and safety regime and under the auspices of the European Court of Justice. Three senior government figures have told the Financial Times that the UK hopes to be regulated by the European Medicines Agency, even as the body moves from London’s Canary Wharf to a new post-Brexit home in Amsterdam.
‘We followed law’ - Sanofi Pasteur
In the Philippines, Sanofi Pasteur maintains it complied with laws and regulations after the country’s Food and Drug Administration suspended the French firm’s Dengvaxia vaccine’s certificate of product registration for a year. “As part of our standard company practices, Sanofi routinely conducts post-approval commitments to continuously evaluate the safety and effectiveness of our vaccines in the countries where they are in use,” Sanofi Pasteur said. “And we have done so in the Philippines with Dengvaxia.”
Tamiflu shortage reported in some Bay Area Walgreens stores
The recent spike in flu cases around the Bay Area and California is not only crowding hospital emergency rooms with flu patients, it’s also leading to more demand for flu shots and antiviral medications to treat the virus. That means some drug stores around the region, like Walgreens, are reporting a limited supply of Tamiflu, said company spokesman Scott Goldberg.
Prescription copy a must for sale of Tamiflu: Health dept
In India, to avoid misuse of the drug given to swine flu patients, the health department has directed authorized chemists and government hospitals to maintain a record of all patients who are sold Tamiflu.
Sabin To Tackle Pandemic Flu
The Sabin Vaccine Institute, a non-profit global health organization dedicated to enabling vaccine innovation, making vaccines more accessible and expanding immunization across the globe, announced a new three-year $6.6 million grant to help speed the development of next generation influenza vaccines and support related immunization issues
Academic studies
Biomaterials Could Extend the Success of Immunotherapies
The use of biomaterials, such as microneedles and nanoparticles, in immunotherapy and vaccine research is a hot topic in bioengineering. But to get the maximum return on investment in these ideas, they need to be seeded among clinicians, according to Christopher Jewell, Ph.D., associate professor in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland. Jewell is the principal author on a new paper in Trends in Immunology that reviews the current state of biomaterials research with an eye toward inspiring multidisciplinary teams of engineers and clinicians to solve some of the complex problems in immunology today.
Pediatric influenza news
Child of seven years of age dies from flu in San Bernardino
A seven year old child died from the flu in San Bernardino. Cisco Galvez, passed away on the 4th January in the Dignity health centre in San Bernardino due to complications associated with influenza.
Over 65’s influenza news
Repeated influenza vaccination helps prevent severe flu in older adults
Repeated vaccination for influenza in older adults reduced the severity of the virus and reduced hospital admissions, found new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). Spanish researchers looked at the effect of repeated influenza vaccinations in the current and 3 previous seasons in people aged 65 years and older admitted to 20 Spanish hospitals to determine whether repeat vaccination reduced severe influenza. They found repeated influenza vaccination was twice as effective in preventing severe influenza in people admitted to hospital for the virus, compared with nonsevere cases, and that this effect was consistent regardless of flu season, virus subtypes or age of patient
Shona Robison concerned over flu jab uptake among some groups
Scotland's Health Secretary Shona Robison has expressed concern that people under 65 with underlying health conditions have not had their annual flu vaccination. She said rates of vaccination were "broadly" in line with last year with rates "up a bit" for pregnant women and children. However, Ms Robison added: "Where there is a concern is for those who are under 65 with an underlying health condition - we want more of those people to go and get vaccinated because we know that the impact of flu on them can be very very severe indeed."
General Influenza News
Influenza vaccines - not all of them are as effective as they should be this year
A classic flu vaccine cocktail contains inactive, fragmented viruses from three strains. Twice an A-strain and once a B-strain. In the current season 2017/18 these are: A / Michigan / 45/2015 (H1N1) A / Hong Kong / 4801/2014 (H3N2) B / Brisbane / 60/2008 (Victoria). This year, however, a B virus has prevailed, which few have suspected. Yamagata is the culprit. 85 percent of all flu symptoms go to his account. Only those who received the Fluarix Tetra vaccine are also protected against B / Phuket / 3073/2013 (Yamagata).
There is no miracle cure against the flu
To date, there is no truly efficient treatment against the flu: antivirals are available in France, but often not needed as it is a matter of waiting a few days. When medicines like Tamiflu might help, they need to be given within 48 hours of the infection starting. For now, flu vaccination is the best way to protect oneself against the virus
Flu Vaccination Coverage Among Healthcare Personnel Was 67.6 Percent for Early Season 2017-18
In the U.S., the CDC reports that early-season 2017–18 influenza vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel was 67.6%, similar to early-season coverage during the 2016–17 season (68.5%). During the previous two seasons, flu vaccination coverage increased by 10 to 12 percentage points from early season to the end of the season.
Amid flu surge, Indiana residents urged to get flu shots
Indiana's health commissioner is urging Hoosiers to get their flu shots and take other precautions amid a surge in flu-related illnesses and deaths. State Health Commissioner Kris Box said Monday that anyone who hasn't received a flu shot should do so soon because the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza, decrease its severity and prevent flu-related deaths.
‘Flu vaccine can protect against strains seen in Australia’ - Public Health Agency
In the UK, the Public Health Agency is urging people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination to get it without delay. The call comes as the strains of flu seen during Australia’s winter season, particularly A(H3N2), are increasing in prevalence on this side of the world.
‘The problem child of seasonal flu’: Beware this winter’s virus
H3N2 is the problem child of seasonal flu. It causes more deaths than the other influenza A virus, H1N1, as well as flu B viruses. It’s a quirky virus that seems, at every turn, to misbehave and make life miserable for the people who contract it, the scientists trying to keep an eye on it, and the drug companies struggling to produce an effective vaccine against it.
Spanish Flu killed millions of people but when will the next pandemic strike?
Along with concern over the virulence of any future flu virus, medical experts also have to contend with the fact they don’t know when, or where, a flu pandemic will occur. However, the WHO and a lot of public health services like Public Health England and CDC in America are looking out for it. The WHO is actively doing surveillance around the world which would hopefully give us a bit more warning of an impending pandemic.
NHS's real problem is underfunding not Australian flu, says virologist
A leading virologist has said there has been no major outbreak of Australian flu in the UK and its threat is obscuring the real problem facing the NHS, which is underfunding. Explaining his view that the impact of the Australian flu had been overstated, John Oxford pointed out that the official figures showed cases were split between different strains. He was more positive about the impact of the vaccination programme. There has been greater uptake of flu jabs this winter among over-65s, young children and pregnant women, and also among health workers with direct patient contact, although two out of five of this group had not had it by the end of November.
What is 'Aussie' flu and should we be worried?
In the UK, hospital admissions and GP visits for influenza have seen a sharp rise going into 2018, but are still comparable to the previous winter and are nowhere near as high as in 2008-09 when the swine flu pandemic hit the UK. Dr Richard Pebody, from Public Health England, said: "This season's flu vaccine should be providing reasonable protection, similar to last winter. Last year the vaccine did not give quite as good protection for the elderly for H3N2."
Ecuador will vaccinate 3.9 million people against influenza
The Ministry of Public Health (MSP) reported on January 6, 2017, that it has a strong supply of medicines necessary for the treatment of influenza in Ecuador, where it is planning to vaccinate some 3,963,359 people. According to information from the MSP, in 2017 there were 364 cases of influenza which were treated in several of the main Ecuadorian health facilities. Of that number, 90% of these flu cases were mild; with only 10% treated at the hospital level due to the severity of the case, Oseltamivir is normally used in Ecuador to treat the patient.
UK braces itself for French flu epidemic - NHS issues alert
UK NHS workers are being urged to have flu jabs as the deadly flu reached high levels in France. Figures show as few as one in three workers have been vaccinated at some hospitals. According to the Coventry Telegraph, NHS trusts are failing to get medical workers to have flu jabs amid the warnings that the French epidemic could spread to Britain.
Could all NHS staff be forced to have the flu jab? Britain's top doctor calls for 'serious debate' following outbreak of 'Aussie' virus
England's top doctor has called for a ‘serious debate’ over whether NHS staff should be forced to have the flu jab. Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England, said thousands of healthcare workers were unwittingly putting patients and their own families at risk. Latest official figures show that 40 per cent of frontline staff have not been vaccinated.
Bad day, mate: why Australian flu is tearing through the UK
In the UK, the spread of Australian flu is potentially the worst outbreak in 50 years. It’s why so many hospitals are struggling to cope. A vaccine is still available, although it can take up to two weeks to kick in and there are fears that it is losing its effectiveness with elderly people.
Burden of disease
Hospital emergencies overloaded by worst flu outbreak in three years
With hospitals across much of China packed with patients stricken by the most severe flu outbreak in years, epidemiologists say the virus cannot be compared to SARS. Health institutions in China are reporting many more flu cases this year than the last three winters. Kindergarten and primary school students are most affected, China National Radio reported, quoting the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Aussie flu: map of UK suggests rising number of cases across the country
A map of the UK which reveals the worst hit area for flu has shown that cases are rising across the country. There are currently less than five areas in the UK with no cases of influenza, showing a significant increase in the last three days.
The rate of flu vaccination for the elderly is below health authorities targets
Getting the elderly and at risk groups to be vaccinated against the flu is proving to be harder among older adults, because there is apathy and distrust of the health authorities. The director of IseSalud said that under five years of age population has been vaccinated in the normal fashion, not so the elderly. According to the most recent statistics dating from January 2, only around 65% have got a flu shot, with the end of the campaign falling on the last day of March. "Misinformation about the vaccine you make you get sicker, the truth is that the vaccine prevents virus serotypes that could cause hospitalization," health experts said
Sesa records a 76% success rate in vaccinating target groups against the flu to date
The Ministry of Health (SESA) reported that during the winter season to date, they have managed to vaccinate 76.6 percent of their proposed target groups against influenza, which represents 187,000 doses of vaccine distributed for the benefit of the Tlaxcalteca population.
Already ‘Moderately Severe,’ Flu Season in U.S. Could Get Worse
In the U.S., the flu season is turning into a “moderately severe” one that might get worse because of an imperfect vaccine and steady cold weather, flu experts and public health officials said. The flu is now widespread across the country and the peak of transmission probably occurred during the Christmas-New Year’s holiday week, said Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, director of the influenza division of the CDC. About 80 percent of cases are of the H3N2 strain, which caused many hospitalizations and deaths this year in Australia
CDC Flu Update: Influenza Activity Spikes
In the U.S., influenza activity increased sharply again in this week’s FluView report from the CDC. The number of jurisdictions experiencing high activity went from 21 states to 26 states and New York City and the number of states reporting widespread activity went from 36 to 46. Influenza-like illness went from 4.9% to 5.8%. ‎These indicators are similar to what was seen at the peak of the 2014-2015 season, which was the most severe season in recent years
Karachi hospital confirms 28 cases of H1N1 seasonal influenza
In Pakistan, a private hospital in Karachi has confirmed 28 cases of the H1N1 (seasonal influenza A), with several other patients complaining of symptoms similar to that of the deadly disease. Director Health Karachi Dr Tahir Aziz said that up till now 28 cases have been reported of the seasonal influenza at the city's Aga Khan Hospital.
Swine flu rears its head in Hyderabad
In India, after a lull of over a month, the swine flu virus has reared its head again, infecting two elderly people from Hitech City. Public health officials portend more infections that may continue well into summer.
'Aussie flu' set to cause record hospital admissions as no area of Scotland left unaffected by risk of deadly bug
The risk of deadly Aussie flu is continuing to spread across Scotland with a sharp rise in reports of influenza in the last 24 hours. Just a handful of towns have been left unaffected, with new cases being reported all the time. Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, said a “real crisis” had developed since New Year’s Eve. Doctors have stressed that it is not too late for people to have the flu jab.