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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 23rd Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
Flu shots aren't perfect, but scientists are trying to make them better
Scientists dream of creating a universal flu vaccine that could be administered once and prevent sickness for a lifetime. One strategy companies have tried is developing vaccines in other places outside traditional chicken eggs. Seqirus, the vaccine unit of CSL, produced cell-based flu vaccines at commercial scale at one of its facilities last year in what the company called an industry first. Sanofi Pasteur last year acquired Protein Science, which makes Flublok, an influenza vaccine manufactured in insect cells. Now that Sanofi Pasteur has the product, the company will see if it can apply the process more broadly
Pandemic Influenza News
Bird flu has been found at a nature reserve less than an hour from Cambridge
In the UK, a nature reserve has been closed until further notice after confirmed cases of avian flu. The Amwell Nature Reserve, less than an hour from Camridge, shut on January 20th and will remain closed until further notice.
Sixth case dies of infection with bird flu in Salahuddin: Medical sources
In Iraq, a sixth person infected with bird flu has died in Salahuddin province on Sunday, Iraqi medical sources said, indicating doubts over infection of two other cases. The victim, according to sources, died of bird flu on the outskirts of Balad town, south of Salahuddin. Two other cases are being medically examined. The sources indicated launching vaccination campaigns within the precautionary measures at Balad and al-Dujail towns, fearing spread of the disease.
DEFRA issues avian flue prevention zone
In the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has introduced an avian flu prevention zone across the whole of England following the disease being found in wild flocks. The disease was found in the south of the UK and all keepers of birds should follow the disease prevention measures
Bird Flu: 2,700 ducks culled in the Landes region of France
In the Landes region of south-west France, 2,700 ducks have been culled as a prevention measure after a low path H5 avian flu virus was found in tests
Iranian Health Official Rejects Rumors about Bird Flu Deaths
In Iran, a senior official at the Health Ministry dismissed as “false” recent reports about the death of a few people in the country due to the outbreak of bird flu. Earlier this month, the head of Iran Veterinary Organization said that more than 17 million chickens have been culled in the country over the past ten months as part of efforts to control avian flu. The official further emphasized that rumors about human deaths due to bird flu, which have been spread in social networks, are false
Maharashtra government on its heels to prevent Bird-Flu in the state
In India, an outbreak of avian influenza was reported from Dasarahari village, Bengaluru a week ago. As the Centre confirmed the outbreak, the Maharashtra government is now working to prevent the spread of the infection in the state
Avian Flu Spreading to Broiler Chicken Farms
Avian flu infecting Iranian chicken farms has created a new challenge in chicken breeder farms and a threat to the whole country’s meat output. Iranian poultry farms are hit by avian flu every year around this time. The H5N8 strain of bird flu infecting Iranian farms is deadly for poultry, but according to WHO, although human infection with the virus cannot be excluded, the likelihood is low.
Industry News
Inovio Pharmaceuticals' Published Universal Flu Vaccine Data Demonstrates Protective Responses Against All Major, Lethal H1N1 Influenza Viruses From the Last 100 Years in Animal Models
Inovio announced that its synthetic vaccine approach using a collection of synthetic DNA antigens generated broad protective antibody responses against all major deadly strains of H1 influenza viruses from the last 100 years including the virus that caused “Spanish Flu” in 1918 in multiple animal models including mice, guinea pigs and non-human primates.
Novavax's stock is edging higher today on speculation that its experimental flu vaccine might trigger a buyout
Novavax is on track to release new data from NanoFlu's early to mid-stage clinical program sometime in February. Although these data probably won't lead to an accelerated approval, it's no secret that both Sanofi and Glaxo are actively hunting for new sources of revenue to boost their long-term outlooks. In other words, a positive data readout for NanoFlu might transform Novavax into a hot buyout target next month. However, Novavax has yet to prove that it's even capable of producing a safe and efficacious vaccine for any indication.
Treat suspected flu with antivirals, hospital doctors are told
Patients admitted to acute hospitals in England with suspected flu should be treated with antiviral drugs as quickly as possible, NHS trusts have been told in a letter from the national medical director, Bruce Keogh. The value of antivirals such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) in treating flu is hotly contested—a fact Keogh acknowledges in the letter, noting “divergent views” on how useful they are. However, given the current strain on services, he writes, “The question arises as to whether antiviral medication could reduce hospital stay, freeing up beds and relieving some of the pressure.”
Tamiflu prescriptions up 640% from last year: 3 things to know
Prescriptions for Tamiflu in the U.S. have seen a more than six-fold increase this flu season compared to last year, according to an analysis from GoodRx. Researchers examined a large sample of U.S. pharmacy fills and found prescriptions for Tamiflu are up 640 percent from the same time last year. Physicians and pharmacists nationwide have struggled to acquire Tamiflu for patients amid increased demand for the drug, although the FDA has not yet confirmed an official shortage.
Google invests in Oxford"s "universal" flu jab
Google has invested £20 million in Oxford University spinout company Vaccitech, which is working to develop a new “universal” flu vaccine. Vaccitech’s new vaccine is set to be used as a complement to traditional vaccines, though not as a replacement. It is expected that the T-cells stimulated by the new vaccine, and the antigens stimulated by standard vaccines, would work together to provide comprehensive protection against the flu.
Academic studies
Study shows flu may be spread just by breathing
A University of Maryland-led study found that it is easier to spread the influenza virus than previously thought: we may transmit the flu to others just by breathing. "The study findings suggest that keeping surfaces clean, washing our hands all the time, and avoiding people who are coughing does not provide complete protection from getting the flu," says Sheryl Ehrman, Don Beall Dean of the Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering at San José State University. "Staying home and out of public spaces could make a difference in the spread of the influenza virus."
Universal flu vaccine would be a medical breakthrough if it does what researchers hope
Researchers say if a universal vaccine being tested right now does what they hope it will, people would be able to get a flu shot once every five or ten years and be protected against any form of influenza. Rochester Clinical Research is one of five sites around the U.S. enrolling subjects in trial studies for the vaccine.
Preventing pandemics and the quest for an influenza "super-shot"
Researchers hope they’re finally closing in on stronger flu shots, ways to boost much-needed protection against ordinary winter influenza and guard against future pandemics at the same time. “We have to do better and by better, we mean a universal flu vaccine. A vaccine that is going to protect you against essentially all, or most, strains of flu,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci of the NIH. Among the new strategies: Researchers are dissecting the cloak that disguises influenza as it sneaks past the immune system, and finding some rare targets that stay the same from strain to strain, year to year.
News Scan for Jan 22, 2018
Study finds more evidence of impact of flu priming on vaccine protection. Adults born from 1958 to 1979 may have experienced a drop in protection against 2009 H1N1 during the 2015-16 flu season because of priming with other H1N1 viruses during their younger years, according to a group led by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Albany Medical College gets grant to study the flu
In the U.S., Albany Medical College has received some much-needed funding to help combat this year’s flu epidemic. The college received $1.9 million grant to study flu complications. Chair of the Department of Immunology Dennis Metzget and members of his lab have been trying to discover ways to prevent severe lung inflammation caused by the flu.
Pediatric influenza news
All children under 5 to get free flu vaccine
All children under five in NSW, Australia, will be eligible for a free flu vaccine this year. The NSW government will fund the vaccine for all children aged six months to five years for the first time this winter. It follows a horror flu season when more than 103,892 people were struck down by influenza in NSW in 2017. Experts said the horror flu season was fuelled by young children spreading the virus. There were more than 12,000 children who had influenza last year in NSW
7 things pediatricians want parents to know about the flu epidemic
The deadly flu epidemic sweeping the U.S. has closed schools and killed at least 30 children since its official start on Oct. 1, according to the CDC. ABC News spoke to pediatricians across the country to find out what they want parents to know about the flu epidemic. Each doctor ABC News spoke with said getting your child a flu shot is the number one way to make sure your child is safe from the flu.
Over 65’s influenza news
Older Adults Less Likely to Have Provider-Ordered Flu Testing
In the U.S., older adults are less likely than younger adults to have provider-ordered influenza testing, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. "Adults 65 years and older hospitalized with fever or respiratory symptoms during influenza season are less likely to have a provider-ordered influenza test than younger adults," the authors write. "Further strategies are needed to increase clinician awareness and testing in this vulnerable group."
Flu: Walloons take chances
In the Walloon area of Belgium, the flu vaccination rate has fallen, especially for the over 65s. A study has been carried out to find out why this is and how to reverse this trend. Proactive targeted campaigning is a possible solution, as well as making the process of getting vaccinated much faster and easier for patients
Improving vaccines for the elderly by blocking inflammation
By identifying why skin immunity declines in old age, a UCL-led research team has found that an anti-inflammatory pill could help make vaccines more effective for elderly people. The study found that an excessive inflammation reaction in older people can obstruct the immune system. The researchers are planning a follow-up study which will test whether a flu vaccine is more effective for the elderly when combined with brief use of Losmapimod.
General Influenza News
CDC Continues To Track Flu Cases During Government Shutdown
In the U.S., despite the government shutdown, officials with the CDC are still tracking cases of the flu, and stated that they will continue to do so despite the shutdown. However, it is likely that the CDC will be short-staffed while tracking the country’s flu cases. According to Time magazine, 63 percent of the CDC’s employees will be furloughed during the government shutdown. That comes out to a total of about 8,500 people that the CDC will be without.
CDC Director: The truth about the flu
Brenda Fitzgerald, Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, writes: "The U.S. is in the midst of a severe flu season, and CDC’s tracking data shows flu cases are still increasing across the country. Our research also reveals that most of the nation is currently experiencing widespread and intense flu activity." She adds recommendations on how to avoid catching the virus and what to do if you have it
Expert says vaccination is still recommended for flu despite decreased effectiveness
As the UK currently experiences the worst influenza season since the winter of 2010/2011, influenza expert Dr. Jeremy Rossman, worries that 'the number of cases will continue to rise over the coming weeks, with similar increases in GP visits and hospitalizations, enhanced by the current low temperatures throughout the country. "Despite the reduced vaccine effectiveness, individuals are still recommended to get the vaccine, as the quadrivalent vaccine is highly effective against the Japanese flu (Yamagata flu B) and against the other circulating H1N1 strains.
What's Scary About Shutting Down the CDC
In the U.S., an employee at the C.D.C, in Atlanta, who is familiar with the public-health institute’s influenza-related activities, explained to The New Yorker what the C.D.C. can and can’t do during a shutdown, and what’s frightening about even a brief stoppage in its work
Free swine flu vaccine plan covers more "at risk" groups
In India, children below the age of five, elderly people aged 65 or more, people suffering from lung, kidney and liver diseases, people on long-term steroid medications and those with low immunity have now been put in the "at risk" category for swine flu in Pune city. As a result, they will now be eligible for the state's free swine flu vaccination programme.
At risk groups urged to get a flu vaccination
In England, health bosses have urged people in at-risk groups to get themselves vaccinated as the number of flu cases recorded in recent weeks rises. Those aged over 65, pregnant women and residents with chronic conditions, in particular, have been advised to speak to their GP about getting a flu jab.
TCHD: Reports that H3N2 vaccine not effective are unfounded
In the U.S., reports that the H3N2 influenza vaccine is not as effective as hoped this year are not true, said Tazewell County Health Department Director of Clinical Services Angie Phillips. “There are some sources that are saying it is a 10 percent rate of effectiveness this year, but that number actually comes from preliminary estimates that were done in Australia for their most recent flu season,” said Phillips. “It is too early to predict that we are going to see something similar here.
Why this year's flu outbreak is one of the worst
In the UK, three strains of flu are circulating at once, including H3N2. Although good against the other strains, this season the vaccine is about 20 per cent protective against H3N2 viruses (not great, but better than nothing) as the virus changes unavoidably during production. This is due to a quirk of how flu vaccines are produced. They are grown in chicken eggs, and then inactivated before being used in vaccines.
CDC director urges flu vaccinations as pediatric deaths mount
Of the 30 U.S. children who have died from the flu so far this season, some 85 percent had not been vaccinated, said CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who urged Americans to get flu shots amid one of the most severe flu seasons in years. Although the vaccine is only estimated to be about 30 percent effective against the H3N2 strain, it has been shown in studies to reduce severity and duration if people do become infected, said Dr. Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the CDC
Boots running low on vaccines in Gloucester as Aussie Flu continues to spread
A Boots pharmacy in Gloucester in the UK has said it is running low on vaccines as Aussie Flu continues to sweep the nation. Boots in Eastgate Street is now down to eight flu vaccinations until the next delivery can be made. The shortages come as there were more flu outbreaks in Gloucestershire's care homes this winter than anywhere else in the South West.
Flu: 6 French-speaking doctors out of 10 in favour of compulsory flu vaccination for healthcare staff
In Belgium, an internet poll run by Le Vif showed that a majority of French speaking doctors are in favour of making the flu vaccine compulsory for healthcare workers. The question has been raised in France and will probably be discussed again. In the U.S. it has become common place but there aren't any meta analysis showing how effective the measure is
As the seasonal flu period approaches its peak there is an increase in cases caused by an unexpected strain
Influenza cases are continuing to increase as Italy begins to approach its seasonal flu peak. The main explanation is an "unexpected" strain of the virus whose circulation has intensified in recent days, according to Fabrizio Pregliasco, researcher at the University of Milan and health director at IRCCS Galeazzi: "This is the so-called Yamagata virus and the trivalent vaccine on offer does not guarantee total protection against it."
Why this year's flu outbreak is one of the worst
In the UK, three strains of flu are circulating at once, including H3N2. Although good against the other strains, this season the vaccine is about 20 per cent protective against H3N2 viruses (not great, but better than nothing) as the virus changes unavoidably during production. This is due to a quirk of how flu vaccines are produced. They are grown in chicken eggs, and then inactivated before being used in vaccines.
Burden of disease
Here's How Widespread the Flu Is This Year
This year’s flu season in the U.S. has been unusually active and influenza is still spreading, according to the CDC. Flu activity has increased throughout the United States as of the second week of January. Ten influenza-related deaths in children were reported through the week ending on Jan. 13, bringing the total flu-related pediatric deaths to 30. More than 60,000 samples testing positive for influenza have been reported since monitoring for the virus began on Oct. 1, according to the CDC.
Mother-of-two teaching assistant, 51, dies after flu left the asthma sufferer struggling to breathe
In the UK, a mother-of-two and teaching assistant, who suffered with asthma, has died after flu left her struggling to breathe. She had been to the doctors earlier on Monday and had been prescribed antibiotics and steroids as the flu had made her asthma worse
8-Year-Old Boy With Autism Just Died From the Flu -- Despite Getting the Flu Shot
Tyler Dannaway of Little Rock, Arkansas, was just 8 years old when he passed away from the flu on Tuesday. In total, 30 children have died nationwide from influenza so far this season, and Tyler was the first pediatric flu death reported to the Arkansas Department of Health this year. Tyler's parents shared that what made their little boy's death even more shocking was that they had hoped he was protected because he had received the flu shot this year. Instead, he died within two days of getting sick
Flu epidemic slowing down in France
A report from Santé publique France shows that the peak of the flu epidemic in France has just passed and there are now less new cases of flu-related consultations, and a fall in hospitalisations for flu or flu symptoms. The most frequent strain found this year in France is H1N1, which is less serious for older people
Flu is on the rise
In Slovakia, the number of people ill with acute respiratory diseases rose in the week preceding January 19, the Sme daily wrote. Doctors reported 54,203 cases of acute respiratory diseases and that the morbidity rate increased by 12.2 percent compared to a week ago, said the main public health officer, Ján Mikas
A dozen now dead from flu virus in Georgia, more than 400 hospitalized
A dozen people have died of complications from the flu virus in Georgia, according to the latest data released by the CDC. That’s more than double how many had been reported dead just a week before, when five people were killed. So far, 404 people have been hospitalized for flu symptoms in the eight-county metro Atlanta area, where the CDC tracks hospitalization reports. Nine people aged 65 or older and three people between ages 51-64 have died from the virus this season.
Flu patients pack emergency rooms while researchers look for universal vaccine
In California, the avalanche of flu patients that began filling local emergency rooms this holiday season has yet to relent. A mismatched flu vaccine compared with a particularly aggressive strain of influenza A has led to a pile-up of patients in Santa Monica urgent care centers and hospitals. A universal flu vaccine is now a top priority for the NIH’s infectious disease department. To develop a better shot, researchers are dissecting the cloak that disguises influenza as it sneaks past the immune system and finding some rare targets that stay the same from strain to strain, year to year.
Flu Season Worst Since 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic
Washington and Idaho are in the midst of what’s likely to be the worst flu season since the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Forty Washingtonians died from the flu in the past week, according to the Washington Department of Health, nearly doubling the total flu season count to 86 deaths. The vaccine this year is also less effective, making it somewhat easier for the flu to spread, but health officials say it is still worth getting
Nasty flu season sending record numbers to hospital
Dr. George K. Avetian, Delaware County’s senior medical advisor, says that although the effectiveness of the flu vaccine is not optimal, it is still being recommended to get. He also explains that those over 65 are given a high-dose vaccine four times the strength of the regular vaccine, as they have less robust immune systems. Avetian said the county distributed vaccines to more than 1,000 citizens through three flu clinics that were held free to the community. Unlike former years, the vaccine is readily available. The CDC reported that manufacturers have shipped more than 151 million doses of the vaccine, although they hope to move towards a universal vaccine that could cover all strains with longevity
Tenth flu-related death in Algeria
In Algeria, a tenth person has died from flu: the authorities say so far, none of the victims had been vaccinated. They were either pregnant women or people suffering from a chronic illness, all of whom belong to the at-risk group who should get a flu shot every year