"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 29th Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
Burr takes reins to revamp nation's all-hazards preparedness, response law
Brent MacGregor, senior VP of commercial operations at Seqirus, testified at a hearing on updating provisions in the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act. He said the firm's partnership with BARDA has allowed Seqirus “to continue to advance the effectiveness of cell-based technology,” an example of a platform technology that the federal government is investing in as a potential for providing a better match — or vaccine antigen-to-circulating virus — “in the event of a mismatch season, as we’re experiencing this year.”
Pandemic Influenza News

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Industry News
Top medical supplier says doctors are begging for flu tests after FDA banned the two top brands
Physicians across the US are outraged that the FDA has banned the two top rapid flu tests at the peak of this deadly season leaving them 'begging' distributors for supplies. The largest medical suppliers in the US are completely out of the rapid flu test kits that detect the virus within 10 minutes after the FDA pulled the top brands from the market on January 12 due to false positives
FluGen to launch new test of its universal flu vaccine in May
FluGen is gearing up for a new round of studies on human volunteers this spring, to be held in Europe. Of 100 people, half will get FluGen’s nasal spray vaccine, RedeeFlu; the other half will get a placebo of saline solution sprayed into the nose. Then all 100 will get a nasal dose of live flu virus. “They’ll be in ‘flu camp’ for 11 days in an isolation facility in Belgium. We will measure how well our vaccine protected against the flu challenge, based on infection and symptoms, and we’ll look at a broad range of safety indicators, as well,” CEO Paul Radspinner said.
Scientists are now rushing to develop a universal flu vaccine
Producing and distributing current flu vaccines is a relatively small market for a only a few major pharmaceutical companies, and the industry as a whole is not yet willing to invest heavily in universal vaccine R&D. "When we look at the vaccine area, this is not an area of high profits," Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told PBS NewsHour last fall. "The industry has no appetite for that right now, unless there's assurances of support throughout the process and there's a market at the end of it." While optimistic that a universal vaccine can be developed, Osterholm has warned against the strong probability of a flu pandemic on the horizon if private and public entities don't dedicate energy and resources toward ongoing efforts.
NorCal girl suffers hallucinations after taking Tamiflu, mother says
A San Francisco Bay Area mother is warning parents about the alleged side effects of Tamiflu after she said her daughter suffered hallucinations. Nora said her 15-year-old daughter started hallucinating shortly after taking the medication given to flu patients. This is not the first time this particular side effect was reported from taking Tamiflu. Parents in Texas said their 6-year-old daughter had hallucinations and possibly tried to harm herself after taking Tamiflu.
Academic studies
An end to shoddy flu shots? Universal vaccine is in the works to protect against every strain every year
A long-lasting, universal flu vaccine has been developed to combat the most deadly strain of the virus that is devastating the US this season, according to new research. Researchers at Georgia State University said that this universal vaccine will only need to be administered once or twice in a person's life to permanently protect against the influenza A virus. Researchers used a new approach by using double-layered protein nanoparticles to target the flu virus and produce a longer lasting immunity to the flu.
Influenza May Increase Risk Of Heart Attack By Six Times: Study
Getting sick with the flu appears to increase a person's risk of having a heart attack by sixfold, especially among the elderly aged 65 and up, a new study has found. A Canadian research team reported their findings after analyzing hospital records and laboratory test results for influenza and other virus types. According to its lead author, Dr. Jeff Kwong of Public Health Ontario, a flu patient faces a higher risk of heart attack particularly during the week after being diagnosed with the infection than a year before and after the diagnosis. The study revealed that 31 percent of all the heart attack patients missed their annual flu shots
Rochester a hotbed of research into long-lasting flu vaccine
At the University of Rochester Medical Center, scientists are trying to get at the human immune response and how that will affect a longer-lasting flu vaccine. “We’re trying to understand how people respond to flu, when vaccines work why do they work and when vaccines fail, why do they fail,” said David Topham, director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence. The center is part of a network funded by the NIH. Meanwhile, Rochester Clinical Research is testing a vaccine that targets different proteins of the virus from what the seasonal vaccine goes after. RCR is recruiting about 50 more healthy adults, ages 18 to 39, to participate in a study of a universal influenza vaccine to work against many types of flu viruses.
Never Mind Coughing And Sneezing: Flu Virus Can Be Spread Just By Breathing
A new study by the University of Maryland, San Jose State University, Missouri Western State University and University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the flu may be spread just by breathing around someone who’s already infected with the virus. This is because “infectious aerosols,” or tiny droplets containing active virus, can hang out in the air after being exhaled.
Pediatric influenza news
Flu kills 30 children in US; rapidly rising rate worries health professionals, closes schools
At least 37 children in the U.S. have died from the flu or pneumonia, including 17 in the past week, and that figure is expected to rise sharply over the last two months of the flu season. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said pediatric deaths resulting from flu are generally underreported. Based on data from previous years, the CDC estimates that 80 percent to 85 percent of pediatric flu-related deaths are in children who have not been vaccinated
Gifted maths pupil, 9, is the "youngest in UK to die from flu" after living in the worst area to be hit by the killer virus
A nine-year-old gifted maths pupil is believed to have become the youngest person to die from flu this winter after living in the worst hit area of the UK. The child, from Exeter, Devon, tested positive for the virus, Public Health England has confirmed. Aged nine or 10, he would not have been eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine that is given to at-risk patients, such as the elderly and toddlers.
How one school has led the fight to protect Hong Kong's children from the flu season
An initiative by a Hong Kong primary school has pushed its flu vaccination rate for pupils to more than 70 per cent this year in stark contrast to the overall figure of 18.3 per cent for children across the city. Some parents find it inconvenient to take their children to clinics for jabs under the government-funded scheme, so the school instead brought the vaccination service to pupils on campus
Six-month-old girl fighting for her life after she "caught the flu in the doctor"s office while waiting for her vaccine"
In the U.S., a baby who may have caught the flu in a doctor's office waiting room is now fighting for her life in the hospital. Six-month-old Alayah has been hospitalized since Saturday in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Some 85 per cent of the children who died of the flu this year were not vaccinated, according to CDC Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, who urged Americans to get flu shots amid one of the most severe flu seasons in years.
Q&A: Neuropsychiatric events reported in children prescribed Tamiflu
Parental reports have surfaced linking the use of Tamiflu to pediatric neuropsychiatric events, including hallucinations, seizures and behavioral changes. Edward Bell, PharmD, BCPS, professor of pharmacy practice at Drake University College of Pharmacy and Blank Children’s Hospital and Clinics, spoke with Infectious Diseases in Children regarding proper use of the drug in pediatric patients and whether this worry is warranted. He says there are three drugs which can be used to treat influenza: Tamiflu, Relenza (zanamivir, GlaxoSmithKline) and Rapivab (peramivir, Biocryst)
Some parents rushing to get flu shots for their kids, hospitals feeling flu impact
In Florida, the death of a West Palm Beach boy, possibly from the flu, is causing other parents to take notice. Some are deciding they no longer want to put off getting their child a flu shot. An MD Now Urgent Care Clinic in West Palm Beach says they had 130 patients Thursday and at least half of them were people either battling the flu or people who came in to get a flu shot
As flu epidemic worsens, NY lets pharmacists give flu shots to kids under 18
In New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed an executive order letting pharmacists give flu shots to children ages 2 to 18. His action suspends a state law that prevents pharmacists from vaccinating children under 18. Cuomo took the action as the flu epidemic worsens in New York state. Over the past week, 7,779 laboratory confirmed flu cases were reported to the state and 1,759 New Yorkers were hospitalized with the flu, the highest weekly numbers in both categories since reporting began in 2004.
Over 65’s influenza news
Influenza: Less hospital admissions among the elderly if they are vaccinated
Older people who get vaccinated every year are less likely to be hospitalized for serious influenza infections - resulting in reduced mortality - than those who sporadically undergo vaccination. This is what emerges from a Spanish study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal
General Influenza News
This wouldn't hurt a bit
In Ireland, an ad urges over-65s and other vulnerable groups to get the flu vaccine. The HSE itself is not immunised, however. The latest statistics, up to the end of November, reveal that only 38% of almost 65,000 workers in 48 hospitals had received the vaccine. Among nursing staff, the rate was only 32%. This raises questions: why are healthcare workers not getting the vaccine? Are they putting patients at risk? And should Ireland follow the example of some US states, where flu vaccination for healthcare workers is now compulsory?
How the flu season turned deadly – are NHS vaccine failures to blame?
In the UK, the NHS is enduring criticism for deciding against a flu vaccine containing both common B variants of the virus, and certainly fewer infections would be occurring had the more complex (and more expensive) vaccine been used. But affordability is crucial. Global health authorities were condemned for the expensive overreaction to the 2009 swine flu outbreak, which proved to be unexpectedly mild.
Doctor reveals struggle against flu with cheap vaccine as outbreak cripples NHS
In the UK, the flu has claimed 155 lives since October as thousands are admitted to hospitals across Britain. To deal with the outbreak, doctors were equipped with both quadrivalent and trivalent vaccines. However, Dr Dinesh Silva believes GPs often opted to treat adults with the trivalent jab – which does not protect against the B strain and costs about £2 less.
How do doctors stay healthy during the winter?
We talked to family doctor Anke Richter from Bad Oeynhausen, the chairman of the family doctors' association Westfalen-Lippe, and the pediatrician Herrmann Josef Kahl from Dusseldorf. Up to 180 patients per day attend the practice of Anke Richter. She said "We also get ill with these waves of viral infection, but usually it only occurs at the end. I think that's because we just cannot afford to get sick during the illness outbreak, so psychologically we block it. Only when the biggest rush is over do we get sick. That's when we ususally see any infection break out. I suppose a bit like with people with stressful jobs, who then get sick on the first days of their vacation."
This year's flu season is worse than usual for baby boomers
In the U.S., people ages 50 to 64 are particularly badly affected by this year's flu, the CDC told reporters Friday. That could be because of the strains in circulation. While the predominant strain is the nasty H3N2, which is less well-protected by the flu vaccine, H1N1 is also sending baby boomers to the hospital. One possible reason why, according to the CDC's Dr. Dan Jernigan: a phenomenon called imprinting.
A Life-Threatening Piece Of Actual Fake News Has Gone Viral On Facebook. Please Stop Sharing It
Actual fake news has been going viral on Facebook. The article in question quotes made-up medical professionals from the CDC, warns people against taking actions that could save their own lives, and could lead to real people getting ill unnecessarily, or even dying. The piece, from yournewswire, claims that the flu shot causes flu outbreaks and that many people are dying as a result.
A third of GPs are running out of the flu vaccine as the UK faces the worst flu outbreak in seven years
A third of GPs across the UK have run out of the flu vaccine as the country faces its worst outbreak in seven years, new research suggests. And some are having to borrow vaccines from other practices to keep up with patient demand, a survey from Pulse magazine found. One practice told the publication that they had used 100 more jabs than last year and another confirmed they had used 95 per cent of their stocks.
A world without flu? It's possible
The current method of developing seasonal flu shots is little more than guesswork. Scientists do the best they can to predict the strain that will be circulating the following year. Even at their most effective, these short-term vaccines rarely confer half the population with protection from infection. We can do better. It may sound like fantasy, but universal vaccines are well within the realm of possibility.
Influenza: 152,000 vaccinations were carried out by pharmacists this year
In France, some pharmacists were trained to administer the flu vaccine this winter, in only two regions, as a trial. More than 152,000 flu shots were given this way and is so far deemed a success that might be extended to other regions or more patient categories. Nurses are now asking to be allowed to vaccinate more people against the flu
Oscar Season Caught in Crosshairs of Deadly Flu Season
As always, flu season descends on Hollywood just as awards season shifts into high gear. However, this year's flare-up has been deemed the worst in a decade, with the CDC classifying the outbreak as an epidemic. The Los Angeles Times recently confirmed that California's death rates have spiked, with health officials reporting 74 people under age 65 dead from the flu since October, compared to 14 during the 2016-17 season. "It's really bad," says Beverly Hills internist Gary Cohan. "H3N2 came early and came hard, and the vaccine isn't adequate. That's what's causing all the problems."
Flu outbreak: Virus strains different than expected; Vaccine essential to limit number of deaths
In recent weeks there has been an increase in mortality in the over 65s, especially in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Scotland. One of the main causes is influenza. Prof. Massimo Galli explains that there isn't enough coverage for the flu shot (75% is recommended by the WHO). The other issue is the way the flu vaccine is produced and the fact that scientists have to guess which strains will be prevalent
How dangerous can the flu really be?
Particularly at risk are people over the age of 65 - they account for 90 percent of deaths. Additional risk groups include pregnant women, those who have recently given birth, preterm and chronically ill patients. Vaccination is also recommended for people who are privately and professionally involved with one of these at risk groups, or with infants under the age of six months for whom the immune system is (still) inadequate. "Vaccination is a matter of communal solidarity," the BAG said. Already weakened people should not be unnecessarily endangered, so get covered
The seasonal flu outbreak is on the decline
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Wednesday said there were 303 flu cases per 100 000 inhabitants in Switzerland. For the first time since its recent outbreak last October, the trend for more influenza cases each week in Switzerland has declined. Daniel Koch, the head of the Department of Communicable Diseases at the FOPH, said that a week earlier, the number of influenza cases, the so-called weekly incidence, stood at 365. Koch expects that case numbers will continue to fall and flu activity will fall below the epidemic threshold by the end of February. The epidemic value, recalculated each year, is based on the average flu activity over the last decade, which is currently 68 flu cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Switzerland crossed this threshold in the week before Christmas.
Burden of disease
US flu levels continue to climb as 37 kids' deaths confirmed
In the U.S., with seven more pediatric deaths reported last week and influenza-like illness numbers that are nearing those seen during the 2009 pandemic, the CDC said that this year's flu season will most likely be considered severe. "It's been a tough flu season so far," said Dan Jernigan, MD, MPH, director of the influenza division at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "This season is now looking like 2014-2015 season, which was categorized as a high-severity season." The total of pediatric deaths has now reached 37.
Baby boomers now second-hardest hit group in severe flu season
The flu season is still getting worse in the US, with adults aged 50-64 being hospitalized for influenza-related illnesses at an unexpectedly high rate, the CDC reported Friday. “Baby boomers now have higher rates of influenza than their grandchildren,” said Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Seasonal influenza has peaked with some 8 million Italians forecast to be infected eventually
In Italy, the flu season has now peaked and it is forecast that by the end of it, there would have been around 8 million people infected by the virus. Children under the age of 5 are being worst affected this season. Many of the vaccines given were of the trivalent type that covered three viral strains (A-H1N1, A-H3N2 and a single type of virus B), while only the quadrivalent vaccine provided coverage against the Yamagata virus. Flu activity is expected to continue for several weeks
Two more succumb to swine flu
In Punjab, two more patients succumbed to the killer virus H1N1 in Nishtar Hospital, raising the death toll from Swine flu to 32, hospital sources informed. Sources said that the health minister hoped that the outbreak would be overcome within the next two weeks.
Flu Season Hits New York Early and Hard
New York’s flu season has come early and is more severe than it has been in recent years, according to new state data. Hospitals admitted 1,759 patients with confirmed cases of influenza the state in the week ending Jan. 20, the highest weekly total tallied by the state since at least 2004, according to the New York State Department of Health last week.
Winter crisis over but wards dangerously full, NHS doctors say
NHS England said that hospitals could return to business as usual as beds become free and a flu outbreak eases. However, doctors said any respite may be temporary and should be used to deal with a severe bed shortage. The heads of half of England’s A&E units had previously written to the prime minister warning of patients dying in corridors as a result of safety compromises, while flu cases surged, causing 155 confirmed deaths.
Mother-of-two, 37, dies of flu three days after nursing her kids through the virus - despite all getting the vaccine
In the U.S., a mother-of-two has died just three days after being diagnosed with influenza. Karlie Slaven, 37, a university manager from Indiana, spent last week caring for her son and daughter as they battled the virus. But as they got better she started feeling sick. Her death comes amid one of the most active flu years on record, with an unprecedented rate of people with influenza this week.
Macao government urges flu vaccination after fatal case
The government of China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) urged the public on Friday to take preventive measures and get vaccinated against seasonal influenza after the first fatal flu case was recorded this year. The SAR's first fatal case of influenza involved a four-year-old girl who had not received seasonal flu vaccination. She died of influenza A infection complicated with pneumonia
Schools Close as Flu Epidemic Spreads
In the U.S., schools in at least 11 states have closed as the worst flu epidemic in nearly a decade intensifies. One big factor in the intense transmission occurring this month may be the return of children to school after the holidays, CDC's Dr. Jernigan said. Around 60% of children under the age of 18 are vaccinated, he added. Among children aged 13 to 17, the rate is 46.8%, and among 5 to 12 year-olds, the rate is 61.8%. “The younger you are, the better your vaccine coverage,” he said.
Flu death toll in Northern Ireland hits 11, but cases now falling: health agency
Eleven people in Northern Ireland have now died from flu, the Public Health Agency has said. Officials also recorded 64 flu-related admissions to intensive care. New data shows that the number of flu cases being presented in the first three weeks of 2018 in Northern Ireland was double the number from last year, but figures are now said to be declining. A PHA spokeswoman said that while "flu activity decreased last week", it still "remains at moderate levels"
Nearly 100 people in California have died from flu this season
The number of flu deaths in California surged to 97 among people younger than 65 in the third week of 2018, according to a report Friday from the state Department of Public Health, and that figure is particularly grim in light of flu death tolls from prior years. Last season, the state reported 95 flu-related fatalities for individuals younger than 65; in 2015-16, 144; and in 2014-15, 78. Epidemiologists say that, even though people may have some immunity to the H3 strain of influenza going around the nation, it still can be particularly nasty and difficult to beat
Influenza - 60 year old patient dies in Olbia
In Sardinia, one out of three patients recently admitted to hospital in Olbia with H1N1 has died. The 60 year-old man suffered from previous conditions and had not been vaccinated against the flu. The health authorities in Sardinia have reminded people to get immunised, especially if they belong to an at-risk group
Florida Flu Outbreaks At Highest Levels In A Decade
In the U.S., the CDC says the number of states with “high” levels of flu activity has nearly tripled in the last month. In Florida, Doctor Bobby Kapur of Miami’s Jackson Medical Center explains why the flu season is far from over. “What we are seeing is more clusters of cases and that is going to lead to a prolonged flu season with higher cases in the late part of the season,” said Kapur.
DPR Korea: Influenza A Outbreak
North Korea's government has requested support for influenza vaccination targeting high-risk individuals with the MoPH specifically requesting 30,000 Oseltamivir tablets for healthcare workers. Between 1 December 2017 and 16 January 2018 there was a total of 126,574 suspected influenza cases in North Korea, according to official figures. Of these, 81,640 cases were confirmed as Influenza A (H1N1) and there had been four deaths – three children and one adult.
Figures suggest influenza rates are "levelling off" for the moment
Influenza rates appear to be “levelling off” for the moment in England and rates have begun to decrease in Scotland, leading public health experts to suggest the worst might be over for this year. Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s deputy chief medical officer, said: “Flu-like illnesses will continue to impact on the health and social care services for some time, but the recent decrease does offer hope that we are over the worst. “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 defense against flu,” he noted.