"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 26th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
Vaccinating children and teenage can reduce the impact of flu by up to 40%
The flu vaccine does not protect as well as other vaccines because the virus mutates every year. According to Toni Lloret, general manager of Seqirus, the problem is that the WHO recommendations for the components of the vaccine are made six months before flu season begins. "As the virus mutates, the vaccine does not pick up protection against the different strains."
Pandemic Influenza News

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Industry News
Some pharmacies run out of Tamiflu as flu cases increase
Some Central Florida parents and patients say they are struggling to find Tamiflu, as flu diagnoses increase. Dr. Tim Hendrix, a physician at a Central Florida Centra Care, said these local shortages are happening because of an increase in flu cases within the last week.
Academic studies
New nanoparticle-based vaccine to combat influenza A viruses
A new vaccine developed using nanoparticles offers universal protection against several influenza A viruses such as H1N1, H3N2, H5N1 and H7N9, researchers say. Instead of targeting the exterior head of hemagglutinin (HA) -- the virus's surface protein -- as traditional seasonal flu vaccines do, the new vaccine targets the inside portion of the HA protein known as the stalk.
The flu can increase your risk of heart attack
A new study suggests that the risk of heart attack dramatically increases for people who are suffering from influenza. A study found that heart attacks are six times more likely seven days after a flu diagnosis, compared to a year before or after the flu diagnosis. “I was a little bit surprised by the strength of the association," chief study author Jeffrey Kwong said. "It’s not every day you see a six-fold increase in the risk during the first seven days of lab-confirmed influenza. We were also surprised the risk dropped off to nothing by day 8 and beyond.”
Here Are 2 Possible Steps Toward A Universal Flu Vaccine
A universal flu vaccine would be a game changer. Two studies this week show how this may be achieved through different approaches. Dr. Sun's team searched the genomes of influenza viruses for genetic sequences that give the viruses the ability to suppress your interferons. Baozhong Wang, PhD, Associate Professor at Georgia State University and his team have been developing nanoparticles to stimulate the immune system to target the inner stems of the influenza virus that tends to stay the same from virus strain to virus strain and year to year rather than the heads of the virus which tend to mutate and are more likely to vary among different strains.
The influence of prebiotic or probiotic supplementation on antibody titers after influenza vaccination
A study showed that supplementation with prebiotics or probiotics may enhance the influenza hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers in all A/H1N1, A/H3N2, and B strains (20%, 19.5%, and 13.6% increases, respectively). Concomitant prebiotics or probiotics supplementation with influenza vaccination may hold great promise for improving vaccine efficacy. However, high heterogeneity was observed and further studies are warranted
Flu Scan for Jan 24, 2018 - CIDRAP
A large longitudinal study of an elderly population in Taiwan found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of tuberculosis infection by 18%. Earlier studies, including animal ones, have hinted that flu vaccination might protect against a range of pathogens, including TB, due to activation of T-cell mediated immunity. Also, a nanoparticle universal flu vaccine designed to protect against a range of influenza A viruses was protective and produced long-lasting immunity in mice, a research team based at Georgia State University reported
Influenza Vaccination and Incident Tuberculosis among Elderly Persons, Taiwan
Experimental studies have demonstrated that flu vaccination may protect against tuberculosis through a Th17 response. A nationwide cohort study aimed to evaluate the association of influenza vaccination with incident TB among elderly persons in Taiwan. Results suggest that influenza vaccination is associated with a lower risk of incident TB among elderly persons in Taiwan. Further investigation of biologic mechanisms is warranted.
Pediatric influenza news
Rise in number of children getting flu, due to back-to-school factor
In Ireland, there has been a notable rise in the number of children getting the flu, according to new figures. Health officials say this is down to children returning to school after the Christmas break. In total, 34 people have died from flu in the past six weeks.
Girl, 5, dies from flu just two days after school send her home with common cold
In the U.S., the mother of a five-year-old girl who died from flu just two days after she was sent home from school with a fever is now urging other parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu. She founded nonprofit End-FLUenza in 2015 to spread her message.
Cuomo OK's Pharmacy Flu Vaccine For Children Ages 2 To 18
In the U.S., Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order Thursday allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18, a move to combat the growing influenza epidemic in New York and around the nation.
Over 65’s influenza news
Flu deaths may be less likely with annual vaccination
Seniors who get a flu shot every year are less likely to be hospitalized with severe influenza infections or to die from them than those who get vaccinated only sporadically, a Spanish study suggests. Researchers looked at the effect of getting annual influenza vaccinations - in terms of preventing flu-related hospital admissions or death - in people age 65 or older admitted to 20 hospitals in Spain. Compared to people who got no vaccination during the current or three previous flu seasons, getting vaccinated in the current season and at least one previous season was 31 percent effective at preventing hospital admission for nonsevere cases of influenza, the study found.
Flu strains have turned out different to what was expected, it is essential to get flu vaccine protection
According to the latest data provided by EuroMoMo, the European system for monitoring mortality, in recent weeks there has been an increase in mortality, largely due to an increase in deaths among the over 65s, particularly in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. One of the main causes have been the impact of influenza: according to specialists from the Italian Society of Infectious and Tropical Diseases - SIMIT. Of the 140 serious cases, all in intensive care, 81% had at least one predisposing condition which led to the development of complications in the case of influenza infection. These serious cases identified are probably only the tip of the iceberg.
General Influenza News
Better flu vaccine needed, but don't shy away from the shot
Even though the flu vaccine is imperfect, it’s still important to get a flu shot. The CDC estimates that flu vaccination prevented 40,000 deaths nationwide between 2005 and 2014. And if you do get the flu, a flu shot can curtail its severity. “What makes me most concerned is that people are shying away from the vaccine,” Dr. Jenifer L. Jaeger, interim medical director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said
Vaccines can't kill Yamagata swine flu strain
The WHO has urged nations to take steps to shore up case management, compliance with infection control measures, and vaccination of high-risk groups against the flu. The WHO report said "though flu vaccines might not provide full protection, they remain the best line of prevention." An analysis of the flu activity map of the WHO reveals that many parts in India including Telangana has 11 to 20% positive cases, which is "low" when compared with other regions in the world. Many countries had above 30% positive cases.
Florida agencies asked to take action to fight deadly flu epidemic
In Florida, Chief Financial Officer and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis is calling on state organizations and companies to take immediate action to fight the flu epidemic after recent reports state there have already been more than 20 pediatric deaths associated with the flu, with two of those deaths occurring right here in Florida, he said.
Victoria's horror flu statistics revealed as stronger vaccine on way
A strengthened flu vaccine could be introduced this year after cases soared by nearly 300 per cent during last year's horror flu season in Victoria. There were just over 48,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza last year in Victoria, compared to 12,785 the year before. Australia’s chief medical officer is now in talks with drug manufacturers about introducing new and strengthened vaccines, while calls are growing to extend Australia’s free flu vaccine coverage.
Proposed legislation in Florida would enable pharmacists to treat influenza patients
Influenza patients in Florida could be quickly diagnosed and treated by their local pharmacist, if a proposal before the state Legislature is enacted. Bills in the state House and Senate would give pharmacists authority to conduct simple mouth swab tests for influenza and streptococcus and, depending upon the results, dispense prescription oseltamivir phosphate or antibiotics.
How the Flu's Severity Will Affect Healthcare Spending
One way health insurers can curtail spending on flu care is to be proactive rather than reactive—which means promoting the flu vaccine. “Insurers should encourage members six months of age or older who don’t have a contraindication to get the flu vaccine,” says Shane Speights, DO, dean and associate professor of medicine, NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University. “Although the vaccine has limited effectiveness in preventing the flu with this season’s current strain, it almost universally decreases the flu’s length and severity for those who get the vaccine. And, depending on the type of vaccine, it can protect against three or four different flu types.”
Influenza cases low at JBM-HH due to mass vaccinations
An aggressive vaccination schedule and education program has kept influenza under control at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall this winter, according to Andrew Rader Health Clinic. Through December and January, just eight cases of the flu have been diagnosed at the JBM-HH clinic, while the rest of the country has witnessed widespread outbreaks of the H3N2 and H3N3 strains of influenza. Between 3,000 and 4,000 inoculations were issued. and this positive approach has helped keep flu cases low in the Military District of Washington.
Almost 60% of "high risk" people have not had the flu vaccine in Glasgow
Almost 60% of people who are eligible for the flu shot in Glasgow have not been immunised, figures show. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has renewed a plea to people with pre-existing health conditions to get vaccinated as flu rates quadruple since the start of the year.
Doctors are running out of the flu jab: A third of GP practices have no stocks or are running low, reveals survey
In the UK, a third of GP practices have run out of flu vaccines or are running low, a worrying survey has revealed amid the worst outbreak in seven years. New data, obtained from a survey of 400 doctors, shows GP practices - where the jab is free to those at-risk free - are starting to run out. The Pulse magazine poll comes just two weeks after an investigation revealed some high street pharmacies were also running out of the vaccines.
Flu season may peak in coming weeks, FDA chief says
In the U.S., the flu may peak in coming weeks after a particularly bad season, said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. This year's flu vaccine hasn't been particularly effective because the strain chosen mutated during development in chicken eggs, Gottlieb said. Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in November supported that. Scientists are exploring new ways to manufacture influenza vaccines, such as growing the virus in cells. However, the process is more expensive and has a lower yield than the traditional method of using chicken eggs, Gottlieb said.
French Health Minister rather in favour of extending the pharmacy flu vaccination programme
The French Health Minister has said that she would be in favour of extending the pharmacy-based flu vaccination programme that has been trialled in two regions this season. She is waiting for a report on the trial so far but it seems to have been a success
Burden of disease
His family thought he had a cold. A couple of days later, he died of the flu
In the U.S., a 12 year-old boy has died of the flu in Florida. The Florida Department of Health said three children, all of whom were not vaccinated, have died as a result of the flu this season. That number does not include Dylan. A spokeswoman said the agency does not have information on his death. Dylan also was not vaccinated this year
Three times more people dying from flu in UK than last winter
Three times as many people are dying of flu this winter in the UK compared with last year, with the death toll since October now at 155, figures show. Last week there was a big jump in the number of people hospitalised with the virus and further increases in the numbers being treated in critical care units or visiting a GP with flu-like symptoms.
Beware! Flu season in UAE will last until March
In UAE, doctors advised residents to maintain good health habits as the flu season is expected to last until March. They also noted that there has been an increase in the number of cases of influenza, lower respiratory infections and pneumonia in the last two months. Dr Ravi Arora, specialist internal medicine, said: "Flu vaccine might not be 100 per cent effective in preventing influenza but can definitely shorten the duration, spread and complications of the illness. People with lung diseases, asthma, diabetes, heart diseases, cancers, elderly age groups, pregnant women and those having low immunity are likely to benefit the most from flu vaccine."
Influenza accelerating in Maine, with 531 new cases in the last week
Reported flu cases continued to increase in Maine during the past week, but the number has yet to peak in a season that is already notable for its severity, health officials said. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 531 new cases for the week ending Jan. 20, with 1,749 cases reported so far this flu season. The previous week there were 391 new cases.
Scottish flu outbreak "past its peak" as new cases drop
The outbreak of flu in Scotland may have peaked after cases dropped for the first time in a month. Figures for the third week of January show the number visiting GPs with flu-like symptoms was down on the previous week. Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said: "The predominant strain is covered by this year's flu vaccine and I'd continue to encourage anyone in an eligible group to take up the free jab as it is the best defence against flu."
Flu levels in Wales close to "very high intensity" as stocks of the vaccine start to dwindle
Flu is close to reaching “very high intensity” across Wales as the virus continues to plague the population. Public Health Wales has confirmed that for the week ending January 22 GP consultation rates for flu reached 74.7 per 100,000 population. There are warnings that stocks of the vaccination are now “limited”, with those in “at-risk” groups urged to get protected as soon as possible.
Flu update: Wards closed at five North East hospitals as region's NHS reveals latest figures
In the UK, five wards across five North East hospitals were closed on Thursday as the region’s NHS revealed the latest numbers of inpatients with flu. New figures showed there are currently 241 people in hospital with the flu, with a 24% increase in admissions in the last 24 hours. A joint statement on behalf of all NHS providers in the region, said: “The flu vaccine is the best protection we have against the seasonal flu virus which can cause severe illness and even deaths for those who are most vulnerable. It is really important that everyone who is eligible, including all frontline NHS staff, get the flu jab ASAP to protect themselves and others."
GPs under pressure as flu and elective care freeze take toll
In the UK, practices are continuing to experience extreme pressure as flu levels remain high and the impact of a month of cancelled elective care in hospitals takes its toll, GP leaders have warned. Hospitals reported average bed occupancy rates close to 95% for the third week running in the week to 21 January, NHS England data on winter pressures reveal. GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said that GP practices were continuing to experience high levels of pressure. 'Pressures are high, we are still seeing large numbers of patients with flu and flu-like illness, taking up a lot of appointments,' he said.
Sante Publique France says the flu epidemic peak was reached days ago
In France, the flu epidemic peak was reached a few days ago according to health authorities there. The over 85s are now the worst affected by the epidemic and most flu-related deaths are in that age group. The H1N1 strain has been most present in France this season
Winter flu outbreak is peaking, say health experts
Public Health England will be providing an update on the progress of an influenza outbreak that is already the most serious since 2010-11, and may be officially rated an epidemic if it continues on its current trajectory. There are suggestions the latest figures will show the rate of increase has slowed in the last week, but flu is notoriously unpredictable and any optimism will be tempered by the severity of symptoms shown by many patients. Richard Pebody, acting head of the respiratory diseases at PHE, said: "We are continuing to see flu circulate, however rates across most indicators have remained relatively stable and signs are that flu activity is starting to peak. Rates of vaccination across all those eligible for the vaccine have increased on last season and we have vaccinated an additional one and a half million people compared to the same time last year."
Flu Surveillance in Animals
Bird flu alert in Bhitarkanika
In India, the Forest and Veterinary officials have sounded bird flu alert in Bhitarkanika National Park after avian influenza cases were reported in some parts of Karnataka recently. As hundreds of migratory birds have already arrived in the water bodies and forest areas of the park, precautionary steps as well as measures have been taken to detect sick birds
Over 1420 ducks culled in Taichung due to avian flu
In Taiwan, more than 1,420 ducks were culled on a farm in Taichung after it was confirmed as having been infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5 virus, according to the Taichung City Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office
Wales joins England in introducing Avian Influenza Prevention Zone
The Welsh government has taken action to mitigate the risk of bird flu infection by introducing an all Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone. The official risk level from avian influenza has now been increased by Government officials following the discovery of the virus in more wild birds. Chief vet Nigel Gibbens had already imposed restrictions across the whole of England following outbreaks of avian influenza in wild birds in Dorset and Warwickshire.