"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 25th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
PAHPA hearing witnesses question U.S. government’s preparedness, response commitment
Seqirus is part of a public-private partnership with BARDA. Seqirus operates a vaccine production facility in Holly Springs, N.C., a facility characterized as “one of the best examples of a public-private partnership envisioned by the authors of PAHPA when it was originally signed into law,” Brent MacGregor, senior VP of commercial operations at Seqirus, said. Currently, the partners are working on candidate vaccines against the H7N9 strain that’s circulating in China. The ASPR expressed concern about the evolving strain during the HELP Committee’s Jan. 17 hearing. But BARDA’s funding under PAHPA “has been largely episodic funding since 2009,” MacGregor testified, adding emergency supplemental monies provided during pandemics in 2005 and 2009 “have been fully exhausted.”
“Facing 21st Century Public Health Threats: Our Nation’s Preparedness and Response Capabilities, Part 2”
The Statement of Brent MacGregor Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations at Seqirus, on January 23rd, 2018 - testifying to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
The three most common excuses used by people for not getting vaccinated against influenza
There are three common excuses used by people to avoid getting a flu shot: the flu vaccine doesn't work, it can give you the flu, or the vaccine contains harmful mercury. There are particular vaccines better tailored for the over 65s: Fluzone High Dose and Fluad, and for the over 50s, Flublok Quadrivalent
Pandemic Influenza News
Avian flu hits Iranian chicken farms
Avian flu has infected Iranian chicken farms, posing a challenge to chicken breeders and the country’s meat output, Financial Tribune daily reported. Since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year March 21, 2017, about 30 per cent of egg-laying hens, or 20 million, and 10 per cent of broiler chickens, amounting to one million, in the Iranian farms have been culled for the infection with the disease.
Welsh poultry keepers to face new bird flu curbs
Bird flu curbs are to be imposed on poultry keepers across Wales from January 25. Rural affairs secretary Lesley Griffiths announced that an all-Wales Prevention Zone will come into force from midnight. It follows the discovery of three English cases of the H5N6 virus in wild birds, prompting UK rural ministry Defra to impose a Prevention Zone across England. A veterinary risk assessment for England and Wales shows the disease risk level in wild birds has now increased from Medium to High.
Hertfordshire nature reserve reopens after bird flu outbreak
In the UK, a nature reserve has reopened to the public three days after it was forced to shut because of an outbreak of bird flu. Amwell Nature Reserve near Ware, Hertfordshire, closed after advice from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust confirmed that 19 dead birds at the site tested positive for the disease. A spokesman said: "The trust believes the risk to visitors is extremely low."
New wave of bird flu likely to hit soon, Chinese expert warns
A new wave of bird flu is likely to hit China over the next few months, which could have serious consequences this year due to the high number of cases of human flu in many parts of the country, a prominent scientist warned. H7N9, which was first reported in China in 2013, is most active between January and March, based on experiences over the past few years, Zhong Nanshan, director of the National Clinical Research centre for Respiratory Disease, said. Zhong called for members of the public to receive flu vaccines, as it is the best means of prevention
Hundreds of chickens dead in Prey Veng
In Cambodia, hundreds of chickens in Prey Veng province’s Svay Anthor district have allegedly died from unknown causes over the past week, spurring uninformed local authorities into action. On January 9, three chickens in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district were found to be carrying the H5N1 virus.
Industry News
Another Claim: Tamiflu Caused Child To Twitch, Hallucinate, Bang Head
Another North Texas family is speaking out about what they believe are side effects from Tamiflu, saying their nearly 2-year-old son was twitching, hallucinating and slamming his head in pain after taking Tamiflu this month. The odd reactions only stopped they said, when they stopped giving him prescribed doses of the drug
Inovio's Influenza Vaccine Shows Potential, Shares Rally
Inovio's shares increased 22.6% after it announced that its universal influenza vaccine has demonstrated protective antibody responses against all major strains of H1N1 influenza viruses from the last 100 years. Although the candidate is in pre-clinical study and response were reported against a particular virus, investors were encouraged by the universal nature of response.
As flu epidemic spreads, popular medication Tamiflu gets hard to find at metro pharmacies
In the U.S., the flu is still running rampant around the Kansas City metro area. Making matters worse, Tamiflu is getting harder to find. The University of Kansas Health said its hospital pharmacy has plenty of Tamiflu in stock, but the popular medicine is running in short supply at many area pharmacies. Most national chains said they have plenty of the pills, but at times, spikes in demand for the oral suspension can wipe out supply.
No deal "uniquely damaging" to health sector, warns UK minister
Failing to reach a Brexit deal for the medical sector would be “uniquely damaging” to both the UK and EU, UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs. Appearing at a hearing of the UK Parliament’s Health committee, Hunt sounded confident that a deal would be struck. Questioned by MPs, Hunt said that the UK would maintain “as close as possible relationship with the EU, meaning a continuation of the arrangements [the UK] currently has, but with a different legal structure underpinning them.”
Academic studies
Flu increases the risk of heart attack
Influenza is already known to be deadly, but a new study suggests that the risk of heart attack is six times greater than normal while people are ill with the flu. “I was a little bit surprised by the strength of the association. It’s not every day you see a six-fold increase in the risk during the first seven days of lab-confirmed influenza,” chief author Dr. Jeffrey Kwong said. The new study reinforces the importance of the flu vaccine and protective measures such as regular hand washing to guard against influenza and other infections, said Dr. Kwong
Nanoparticle vaccine offers universal protection against influenza A viruses, study finds
Researchers have developed a universal vaccine to combat influenza A viruses that produces long-lasting immunity in mice and protects them against the limitations of seasonal flu vaccines, according to a study led by Georgia State University. The researchers found vaccinating mice with double-layered protein nanoparticles that target the stalk of this protein produces long-lasting immunity and fully protects them against various influenza A viruses. The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.
Flu study ratcheting up recruits
The world's largest study into the use of a controversial flu drug in the community has just reached 2,000 participants. Scientists at the University of Oxford and other European institutions have been on a drive to recruit people to test the effectiveness of oseltamivir - known as Tamiflu - in primary care since 2015. This week, the ALIC4E trial reached 2,000 participants, making it the largest clinical trial into an antiviral drug. The trial is an initiative of the Platform for European Preparedness Against (Re-)emerging Epidemics consortium, known as PREPARE, and is funded by the European Commission.
Study illustrates role of specific antibodies in protection against influenza
People with higher levels of antibodies against the stem portion of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) protein have less viral shedding when they get the flu, but do not have fewer or less severe signs of illness, according to a new study published in mBio. The findings could have implications for flu vaccine development, according to the authors. Scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the research.
Pediatric influenza news
NHS urges pregnant women to get flu jab
In England, figures are showing that uptake of the flu vaccination in pregnant women is not what is expected to give required immunity and vaccination rates have gone down this season. The NHS in Milton Keynes is reminding pregnant women of the importance of having the flu jab.
State government announces program to combat influenza in children five and under
In Australia's NSW, the state government has moved to prevent another flu season like the last with the announcement that children five and under will receive free flu jabs. The $3.5 million influenza vaccination program follows last year’s “severe” flu season. Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said NSW childhood vaccination rates had increased by 6.3 per cent since 2010, to 93.9 per cent in 2017.
Nebraska's first pediatric flu death this season confirmed
Health officials say a 5-year-old child in Nebraska has died from influenza as an outbreak of the respiratory viral illness blankets the country. In a news release received Wednesday, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the death, saying the child was from central Nebraska. It marks the state's first pediatric death from the flu this season. “We started seeing increased flu activity earlier than usual this year and flu continues to circulate at very high levels,” says Dr. Tom Safranek, State Epidemiologist for DHHS. “During a severe flu season, we see more illness, hospitalizations and sadly more deaths.” Since October, 22 people have died from the flu in Nebraska. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 30 children have died nationwide from flu this season.
Flu can be fatal for healthy kids and young adults, though rare: experts
In Canada, there had been fewer than five flu-related pediatric deaths as of Jan. 13, the latest week for which seasonal statistics are available. But 303 children under age 17 had been hospitalized for influenza, with 48 kids so sick they had to be admitted to the ICU, the Public Health Agency of Canada reported on its FluWatch website. "It's tragic whenever there is a death due to influenza in a child," said Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an influenza expert at the BC Centre for Disease Control. "No question about it, it's heart-breaking.
Over 65’s influenza news
Too Few Older, Hospitalized Patients Getting Flu Tests
As a nasty flu season rages throughout the U.S., new research finds that one particularly vulnerable population often misses out on tests for the illness. Among hospitalized people, older patients are much less likely to be tested for flu than younger patients, the new study found. That's important, because the U.S. CDC says that people over 65 are among those most prone to severe, life-threatening cases of flu
General Influenza News
One in three GP practices running out of flu vaccine
In the UK, a third of practices have run out of flu vaccines or are running low, with some reporting they are having to borrow vaccines from other practices and have been struggling to replenish stocks, a Pulse survey has revealed. Official figures have shown that this is the worst flu season in seven years, and at-risk patients have been urged to get vaccinated. However, the Daily Telegraph reported that pharmacies were running out, and the Pulse survey of more than 400 GPs shows that practices are also beginning to run out
Does the flu vaccine make us more defenseless against infections?
Any notion that having a flu vaccine year after year weakens the immune system response is ludicrous health experts say. Fabrizio Pregliasco, virologist at the University of Milan and health director of the IRCCS Galeazzi of Milan, said "Every time we come into contact with a virus, in whatever way this happens, we keep the immune system alert and expand our "immunological library"
Alabama House committee OKs bill requiring day cares to provide flu info
In Alabama, a House committee has approved a bill that aims to provide parents with information about influenza. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatom, would require day care centers to provide information on influenza, as well as recommendations on the availability of the influenza vaccine.
Macao has sufficient resources to cope with seasonal flu: health bureau
Macao has prepared a response plan for seasonal influenza and has sufficient supply of medicines and vaccines to cope with the fluctuating incidence of flu, the special administrative region's health authorities said
As flu season gets worse, the costs are climbing
In the U.S., this season's flu outbreak is becoming more widespread and even more deadly. For employers and employees alike, that means it's becoming more expensive in terms of lost productivity and health care costs. The widespread 2017-2018 flu season may cost U.S. employers $9.42 billion, according to a January estimate from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That's based on workers taking four sick days to recover.
EMA frets drug shortages ahead of Brexit
The European Medicines Agency is worried that U.K. companies are not prepared for their March 2019 exit and are trying to limit the repercussions. The European regulatory body is sending out a survey to all U.K. market authorization holders and those companies that have U.K. manufacturing sites to better understand their plans around Brexit.
Everywhere you look, flu
Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Yonatan Grad talks about why this year's seasonal flu has been so severe and why it is so important for eligible patients to get vaccinated.
Flu Epidemic Has Closed Schools in at Least 12 States, and Administrators Say That"s Not Normal
School across at least a dozen states have closed their doors for a day or longer this flu season as the illness spreads at a rate that officials say they've never seen. The 74 reported Monday that the closures—a result of "excessive absences and concerns about the [flu] virus"—have spanned about 20 districts or individual schools in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Science must get ready for the next global flu crisis
Scientists all agree on what must be the number one research goal for effective mitigation of any future pandemic: a universal flu vaccine. A major international workshop on developing such a vaccine was held last year in Rockville, Maryland, and identified many research gaps — including the complexity of the immune response to infection and vaccination — and a road map for addressing them. Yet the United States, one of the largest flu-research funders, last year invested just US$75 million on universal flu vaccine research and development.
How the flu turns deadly
In the U.S., this flu season is fierce and has already claimed the lives of at least 30 children, according to the CDC. Although it doesn't count adult deaths, the CDC estimates that 8.2% of those for the week ending January 13 were due to pneumonia and influenza -- that's more than 1% higher than usual. "Influenza and its complications disproportionately affect people who are 65 and older. They account for 80% of the deaths," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.
Flu Type B is on the rise in Dallas-Fort Worth. What does that mean?
Amid a flu season that’s claimed 60 lives in North Texas, health officials report that flu Type B is on the rise. And even if you've had the flu once this season, you could get it again. At Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, flu B has arrived earlier this season than it has in recent years. Last week, the hospital saw 104 confirmed cases, up from 60 a week earlier.
Federal funding doesn't fully support hospitals facing large-scale emergencies like flu
In the U.S., public health experts told lawmakers that hospitals don't have enough federal funding to properly handle large-scale emergencies like the current flu epidemic. Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, testified before a Senate health committee hearing and said hospitals as a whole are not prepared to address the more than 8,000 flu-related admissions that have been reported throughout the country as of Jan. 13.
Burden of disease
Six-year-old girl dies after paramedics dismiss breathing difficulties as symptoms of common flu
Six-year-old Emily Muth, of Cary, North Carolina, is among at least 30 children across the U.S. who have died of the flu during a nasty season that's caused a rapid increase in the number of older people and children being hospitalised, according to the CDC. Physicians are insisting people get their flu shots, as 85 percent of the children who died were probably not vaccinated, CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald told Reuters.
Drastic Rise in Influenza Across New York State
In the U.S., Governor Andrew M. Cuomo called on all New Yorkers six months of age and over who have not yet received a flu shot to get vaccinated as soon as possible. According to the Department of Health, cases of influenza rose by 54 percent and new cases were diagnosed in all counties of the state over the past week. In addition, 1,606 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, the highest weekly number since Department of Health reporting began in 2004.
Belgium officially declares flu epidemic
In Belgium, the flu epidemic is now official, as the number of flu symptoms consultations reached epidemic levels two weeks in a row. A network of hospitals across the country is also monitoring the severity of the flu. Children seem to be particularly affected by respiratory illnesses
France: flu epidemic peak reached in all regions
In France, the flu epidemic has reached its peak in all regions, according to French health authorities. Flu symptoms consultations have started falling, as well as hospital emergencies related to the flu.
IMSA flu closure unprecedented, official says
The temporary closing of the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora because of a spike in flu symptoms is likely unprecedented. While the selective, residential Aurora school has had other emergency closings in the past, Tami Armstrong, director of the office of public affairs, said she believes IMSA has never closed because of a flu outbreak in its more-than 30-year history.
As Flu Deaths Number 21, State Offering Free, Low-Cost Vaccines This Weekend
In the flu surveillance report released by DPH last week, officials said that more than 1,300 people have tested positive for flu and 615 have been hospitalized. It is still too early to tell if the flu season has reached its peak, according to officials.
Aussie flu and cold weather leads to Britain's highest weekly death toll for three years as 15,000 pass away
The number of people dying in England and Wales has reached the highest level since a devastating flu epidemic swept the country three years ago, new official figures showed. More than 15,000 deaths – the great majority of which were elderly people - were recorded in the second week of January, amid a wave of seasonal illnesses, freezing weather conditions, and reports of crisis conditions in NHS hospitals.
A fierce flu season pummels Washington region
A vicious strain of the flu is battering the Washington region, mirroring a wave of debilitating illness that in recent weeks has seized the entire United States, health officials say.Since the start of flu season, nearly 9,000 people have been hospitalized nationwide, the CDC reported. A total of 30 children have died, including 10 during the week that ended Jan. 13.
32 More Flu Deaths in San Diego Brings Tally to 174
San Diego County health officials reported another 32 influenza-related deaths Wednesday, further increasing this season's record number of flu deaths. The County Health and Human Services Agency said 32 new flu-related deaths were reported in the week ending on Jan. 20. This brings the tally for this season to 174 deaths; the HHSA said this includes 20 deaths of people who were under 65 years old. The latest figures also bring another 1,183 new influenza cases, keeping the season at an "elevated level," per health officials.
8 deaths, more than 2700 flu cases reported in Northern Kentucky
Northern Kentucky has seen eight flu-related deaths so far this season, Emily Gresham Wherle with Northern Kentucky Health Department said. Wherle said of those eight, none have been pediatric deaths. NKY Health says it's been an active flu season that began in October. As of Jan. 20, 2,729 cases have been reported.