"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 12th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
Rite Aid Urges People to Get Vaccinated Against the Flu as Flu Activity Increases
In the I.S., with the CDC reporting widespread flu activity in 46 states, Rite Aid is urging people to get vaccinated against the flu if they haven’t already done so. Rite Aid pharmacies offer three types of flu vaccines: a quadrivalent flu vaccine, the standard trivalent vaccine, and FLUAD, a trivalent vaccine with adjuvant, an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination, which is approved for people 65 and older.
Here's Where You Can Still Get a 2018 Flu Shot and How Much It Will Cost You
In the U.S., the 2018 flu season is already proving to be a deadly one. People can still get the flu vaccine, often times for free, at retail clinics like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and Costco. People over the age of 65 are recommended a higher-dose flu shot, such as Fluzone High-Dose and FLUAD.
Pandemic Influenza News
Japan confirms first bird flu case in livestock this winter
A highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza has killed chickens at a poultry farm in Kagawa Prefecture according to the prefectural government, making it the first bird flu outbreak affecting livestock in the nation this winter season. On Thursday night the Kagawa Prefectural Government announced that a positive result in genetic tests confirmed that the disease was caused by a pathogenic strain of influenza virus.
The flu pandemic clock is ticking: Are we ready?
Many experts say a flu pandemic is clearly on the horizon, so the question is– Are we ready for a flu pandemic? CIDRAP director, Michael Osterholm PhD, says- not so much -as he outlined in a NY Times op-ed earlier this week. He discusses his views on why he believes we are woefully unprepared for the coming flu pandemic
Namibia resumes poultry imports from Belgium
Namibia has lifted a ban on poultry from Belgium after outbreaks of the highly contagious H5N8 bird flu in the Western European country caused trade to be suspended in June, the government said
Eleven districts along state border on bird flu alert
In India, eleven districts of Maharashtra have been put on alert for bird flu after a reported outbreak of the avian influenza virus in some areas of neighbouring Karnataka. However, state animal husbandry department officials confirmed that nearly 7,000 samples were inspected at the Pune-based National Institute for Virology laboratory and none of them tested positive
Japan starts chicken cull after confirming bird flu outbreak
Japan’s western Kagawa prefecture has begun a cull of 91,000 chickens after the discovery of a highly contagious form of bird flu on a farm, the local government said. The confirmation of the outbreak, which was reported earlier in the week, marked the country’s first cases of bird flu in poultry this winter.
Industry News
FDA approves Lupin's Tamiflu generic
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a generic of Roche’s Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) capsules from Lupin. The company’s generic will be available in 30-, 45- and 75-mg dosage strengths.
Flu outbreak prompts search for medicine
In Indiana, some pharmacies are having to order Tamiflu supplies more frequently than usual as there is high demand for the antiviral because of the nasty flu outbreak. Doctors says the flu shot hasn't been effective against this strain of the virus. Doctors says prevention with Tamiflu is not recommended.
Sanofi is able to fight the costs of importing vaccines because of its manufacturing plant in Mexico
Although many pharmaceutical companies have vaccines in their portfolio, Sanofi is unique in having its own manufacturing plant in Mexico, and thereby, bypassing the expense of importing vaccines from elsewhere - which is supported, in part, by its agreement with the Government of Mexico to help meet the health needs of its population
Abbott will increase Influvac production at its Weesp plant by up to 50%
Abbott Healthcare wants to increase production of flu vaccine Influvac at a plant in Weesp by at least 50 percent. It plans to invest in the plant to adjust for this increase in production. Influvac, as the flu vaccine is called, is produced in chicken eggs. The current maximum contribution is 200,000 eggs per day. That should be raised to 300,000, according to a new planning report filed by Abbott Healthcare
Influvac Tetra vaccination to be reimbursed
In France, after Fluarix Tetra and Vaxigrip Tetra, it is Influvac Tetra's turn to become partly reimbursed (65% discount) for adults over 18 years old
Oscillococcinum: Can It Really Cure Flu Symptoms?
As flu continues to beat down on the U.S., different headlines have been boasting several remedies that allegedly offer quick and natural restorative powers to those who have fallen ill with the virus. Oscillococcinum, which markets itself like a natural oseltamivir, is one such product that has been gaining a lot of attention lately. However, the manufacturer of the product landed in hot water with the FDA in 2009/10 over purported claims of being able to cure the H1N1 influenza strain
An "unsustainable" model: Drug makers signal interest in exiting vaccine development during crises
Finding a way that allows vaccine makers to help in an emergency without sustaining huge operational costs is critical to the success of future disease outbreak responses, experts say. A number of flu vaccine manufacturers were left on the hook with ordered but unpaid for vaccine during the mild 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. By the time the vaccine was ready — after the peak of the outbreak — public fear of the new flu had subsided. Many people didn’t want the vaccine, and some countries refused to take their full orders. GSK, Sanofi Pasteur, and Novartis — which has since shed its vaccines operation — produced flu vaccine in that pandemic.
BRIEF-Eurocine Vaccines Gets Authorized To Conduct Phase I/II Clinical Study
Eurocine Vaccines has obtained authorisation to conduct a phase I/II clinical study on quadrivalent flu vaccine candidate Immunose Flu
Tamiflu "Flying Off The Shelves" As Flu Spreads
In the U.S., the flu is now widespread in 46 states and this year in Colorado, cases are three-to-four times higher than previous years. Adding to the stress, the uptick in flu cases combined with other respiratory issues, has resulted in a huge demand for anti-viral medication in pharmacies across the state. Tamiflu is flying off the shelves
Academic studies

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Pediatric influenza news
Plea to parents after NSW vaccine study
In Australia, an updated study of vaccine-preventable child deaths in NSW is a reminder for parents to take advantage of shots for influenza and other diseases, the state's top doctor says. There were 23 deaths in the decade to 2014 which researchers considered preventable or potentially preventable by vaccination.
Children under nine should get two doses of vaccine to "protect those around them"
In Ireland, healthy children are being struck by flu and having to be admitted to hospital, Dr Alf Nicholson, a paediatrician at Temple St Hospital, said. Dr Karina Butler, an infectious diseases consultant in Our Lady's Hospital Crumlin, said children aged under nine, who have not previously had the flu vaccine, should get two doses to maximise protection. The jabs should be a month apart.
Government urged to provide free flu jabs for all children
In Australia, in the wake of new research which showed that influenza was the biggest vaccine-preventable killer of NSW children in the past decade, the state government is pushing for the flu shot to be provided for free to all children by the federal government, the NSW Chief Health Officer says.
Anti-vaxx groups slammed for "preventable" deaths of children
In Australia, a new study has found that more than 20 New South Wales children could have been saved if they were immunised against infectious diseases. The state opposition blames the government for not doing enough to put a lid on anti-vaccination groups. However, health authorities said they're doing more to boost vaccination rates, which have improved among five-year-olds.
Flu season warning: Babies and children hit particularly hard this year
The U.S. is being hit with one of the worst flu seasons in years, with 45 states reporting widespread illness, according to the CDC — four times as many as this time last year. Experts warn that young children are particularly vulnerable. Thirteen children across the U.S. have already died of the flu this season. According to the CDC, children younger than 5 are at higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications — and babies under the age of 2, even more so.
Pediatric flu deaths spark concerns over flu shot effectiveness
Ohio's first pediatric death from the flu has re-ignited concerns over just how effective this season’s flu vaccine really is. Infectious Disease Physician at Dayton Children’s Hospital, Dr Jon Woltmann is encouraging people to get the flu shot to protect themselves, even though it may not be as effective as officials had hoped.
Over 65’s influenza news
Two dozen Maine nursing homes report flu outbreaks, severe season predicted
Maine’s winter flu season is moving into high gear, jumping last week to the top-level “widespread” status and taking hold among nursing home residents, according to the weekly influenza report from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Most affected to date may be residents of Maine nursing homes, with 10 facilities reporting new outbreaks last week for a total of 24 outbreaks so far in long-term care facilities.
GPs asked to prescribe antivirals to "well" patients in care homes to prevent flu
GPs in the south east of England are being asked to prescribe Tamiflu to ‘well’ patients in nursing homes, with local GP leaders saying the task is ‘taking them away from more important work’ this winter.
General Influenza News
Brutal flu season leads to talk of a universal vaccine
Experts have speculated this year's vaccine may only be 10 percent effective against a particularly nasty flu strain. The brutal season has many wondering why there isn't a universal vaccine to protect against all strains of the flu. “I think a universal vaccine is possible, but I'm not aware that it's going to happen any time soon,” said Dr. Marc Itskowitz, an Allegheny Health Network internal medicine physician. “Researchers have been working on it for years.”
"Aussie flu"? We can't be sure where flu originates, and that doesn't really matter anyway
Britain’s media have made much of the “Aussie flu” sweeping across the northern hemisphere, but is there evidence the land Down Under is to blame? The UK flu report shows H3N2 is the main virus being detected, but intensive care admissions – a marker of serious disease – show flu B is having a big impact too, in all age groups but especially children.
Highway 101 closure delays flu vaccine shipments
In California, clinicians at an Atascadero pediatrics clinic said the closure of Highway 101 has prevented them from getting usable flu vaccines. The delay kept the shipment of vaccines from getting to Atascadero until a later date than scheduled, and because vaccines are perishable and were not kept at a regulated window, they have to be returned
Why It's Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot
In any year, even when you’re vaccinated, you can get the flu. The shot is about reducing your risk, not eliminating it. Still, even when the flu vaccine is “less effective,” it’s a good bet. One reason is that “less” and “more” effective are relative terms. We need to be careful about these words and focus more on absolute risks.
Woman who lost daughter to influenza creates foundation to advocate for vaccination
In the U.S., deaths from influenza are increasing as hospitals and doctors offices are inundated with sick people. One woman who lost her daughter to influenza says she has made it her life's work to make sure everyone gets vaccinated each year. Joan Mann said she never expected to lose her daughter, Kendra Mann O’Brien, at the age of 36. Joan launched the Kendra's Legacy Foundation in 2013. Volunteers go to elementary schools to conduct flu shot clinics.
This Year's Flu Is Especially Miserable. Here's Why
“It’s been a bad flu year,” Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Daily Beast. In October, Hensley co-authored a paper in PNAS about why the flu vaccine this year didn’t protect us as well as we’d hoped. Hensley said the H3N2 fiasco is not new—he said it happened last year as well—and that it’s a strong case for the universal flu vaccine.
Flu likely to peak this week or next, say health experts
In Ireland, the incidence of flu in the population is likely to peak this week or possibly next as public health experts confirm between 18,000 and 20,000 people are likely to have suffered the virus last week. Calls to GPs about influenza-related illnesses were at their highest last week since the 2010/2011 season.
Why do the majority of NHS staff not get the flu vaccine?
In order to halt the spread of the flu, the UK government recommends that people who qualify for the vaccination take it up. Of these groups, it seems that NHS workers have the lowest rate of take-up, with just over 40% of staff - including those who have contact with patients and those who don't - having had the jab. Sir Bruce Keogh, national medical director of NHS England, has called for a "serious debate" over whether NHS staff should be forced to have the vaccination
This year's flu shot may be ineffective, but you should still get it, argues Dr. Brian Goldman
This flu season is turning into a particularly nasty one as Canada, the U.S. and other parts of the world battle epidemic levels of the illness. The vaccine used in Australia was only 10 per cent effective, says Dr. Brian Goldman and it's still unclear if this will be the case in Canada. "The CDC — Center for Disease Control in the United States — is still hopeful that it could be as much as 30, 40 per cent effective. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's that ineffective." He argues though that there's a growing belief that even in seasons when a flu shot is relatively ineffective, getting the vaccine boosts something called cell-mediated immunity.
The seasonal flu outbreak 2017/18 has begun
The Robert Koch Institute report that during the first reporting week of 2018, there were 1,326 laboratory-confirmed influenza cases reported to the RKI. The age group particularly affected so far are the over 59-year-olds. They predict reports of cases will now rise sharply as the season takes off
Is Australian flu really the makings of a pandemic – or is it just a viral news story?
The number of flu-related admissions to hospitals in England has tripled over the last few weeks, with one in four patients suffering Australian flu. Public Health England has admitted to around 48 flu-related deaths this week, up from 23 the week before. However, official figures demonstrate that Australian flu is unlikely to be the sole cause. While provisional figures published on 4 January do show an increase in influenza-related hospital admissions, it’s an increase in line with expectations for this winter period. Public health officials across the UK have reiterated that the most effective preventative measure is to get the flu jab
ASL says that during the current influenza epidemic health experts need to take great care in the use of antibiotics
Health authorities have launched an information campaign for the correct use of antibiotics with a section on health websites containing useful information for users with the aim of countering the phenomenon of antibiotic-resistance. Antibiotic resistance is a serious public health problem in all European countries, so much so that international institutions such as the WHO have openly sounded an alarm about the threat posed by antibiotic resistance to humanity
Burden of disease
Flu cases: Surge in hospital admissions
Hospitals in England are now seeing very high rates of patients with flu, according to Public Health England figures. A sharp rise in cases seen by GPs in the past week - up 78% on the week before - suggests it could be the worst flu season for seven years. But PHE said the current levels of flu were "not unprecedented". Deaths from flu remained static with 27 in the past seven days.
Scottish flu cases double in the last week
The rate of flu in Scotland has again more than doubled over the past week. Weekly figures released by Health Protection Scotland showed an increase in cases from 46 per 100,000 people in the last week of December to 107 per 100,000 in the first week of January. The flu status has been raised from "normal" seasonal activity to "moderate". The figures also showed that a further 30 patients needed intensive care
NY child dies of flu; Virus still hitting Central New York hardest
A New York child from downstate has died of the flu, the state's first pediatric flu death this season.The health department said anyone who has not received a flu shot yet should get one immediately. "Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, it also protects people around you, including those who are more vulnerable, like babies and young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions," Dr. Howard Zucker, the state's health commissioner, said
2018 flu season already deadly, vaccine may be less effective than years prior
In the past week, New York has seen cases of influenza climb 37%, with new cases reported in 61 of 62 counties, New York Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a press release. As of Jan. 6, 3,606 people have been hospitalized across the state with influenza this season.
4 new flu deaths reported in North Carolina
Health officials in North Carolina reported four new flu deaths on Thursday, while a school canceled classes for the rest of the week and hospitals announced restrictions on visitors because of the outbreak. The four deaths raised the death toll for the 2017-18 flu season to 20
Flu cases spike as Minnesota enters peak season
Minnesota State health officials reported a sharp increase in hospitalizations related to influenza last week, along with the first pediatric death, suggesting that the state is in for a bumpy flu season. An alert from the Minnesota Department of Health on Thursday urged people to seek vaccination before the annual flu season reaches it traditional peak — usually in January or February.
Influenza deaths baffle experts
In Pakistan, health experts have expressed their astonishment over the ongoing spell of influenza across the country which has so far claimed 17 lives. According to the NIH, influenza-A and H1N1 has been declared a seasonal flu, but the 17 deaths have caught officials unawares. “We have no information what other chronic diseases these patients were suffering from which affected their condition and caused death,” NIH Field Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Division (FEDSD) Chief Dr Jameel Ansari stated
2 people die of swine flu in Iraq
Two people have died of A/H1N1, in Iraq's central province of Salahudin, a medical source said on Thursday. "We have many cases suspected to be infected with swine flu in the province, especially in the town of Balad, some 80 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, two of them have died," Dr. Khalid Burhan, deputy head of health department of Salahudin province, said
Severe flu season hits Oregon, killing 1 child
An Oregon child died earlier this month from the flu, which is raging across the state. The death comes amid a severe flu season nationwide, with 14 pediatric deaths as of the last week of December, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The latest state report shows a sharply rising spike in emergency department visits for flu-like symptoms since the beginning of December, and it's yet to level off.
Spike in NI flu cases over the past week
In Northern Ireland, there has been a spike in the number of people diagnosed with flu. Over the past seven days, the Public Health Agency said there has been a significant increase in people attending GP surgeries with flu-like symptoms. The number of cases is now at the highest in three years, but still almost 50% lower than the swine flu outbreak of 2010. There have been four flu-related deaths this winter in Northern Ireland.
Flu-related deaths continue to climb in Idaho
It's early in the flu season and already 23 flu-related deaths have been reported in Idaho. In an average flu season, public health officials say that's the total number of deaths. Public health officials say the flu vaccine is a good match for the viruses this year and protects against three or four of the different strains.
Flu Season Is Hitting Especially Early, Prompting Concerns From Health Officials
U.S. health officials are warning that influenza season may be reaching peak levels earlier than usual this year, with the deadly virus already considered widespread across most of the country and blamed for 27 deaths in California.
China's flu season trailing off but one hospital has to close clinic due to doctor shortage
In China, the peak season for flu this year (2018) has been spreading more aggressively than previous years, but it will trail off as usual at the start of the winter school vacation in January, according to a senior health official. The Chinese CDC is encouraging the development of vaccines that can prevent all four strains, and it is expected that at least one company on the mainland will be able to produce such vaccines by the fall