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"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 31st Jan 2018

Seqirus mentions
Seqirus Early Bird offer for flu Vaccine Extended
Approved supplier of the adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine Seqirus, have extended their early bird offer till Friday 16 February 2018. This follows a letter sent by NHS England on 22 December advising all GP Practices to use the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine for their 65-75 demographic. Seqirus’ manufacturing plant in Liverpool is now solely dedicated to the manufacture and supply of FLUAD and AGRIPPAL and has ample capacity to supply the UK market.
Pandemic Influenza News
"Bird-Flu" Lands in South Korea
A serious subtype of influenza, H5N6, has increased in South Korea, just as the country prepares to host the 2018 Winter Olympics. Globally, there were 860 cases of human infection of H5N in 16 countries worldwide between January 2003 and December 2017. Since 2013, a total of 1565 laboratory-confirmed cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) viruses, including at least 612 deaths, have been reported to WHO. If the incidence of human cases follows the trends seen in previous years, the number of reported human cases may rise over the coming months. Further sporadic cases of human infection with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus are therefore expected in affected and possibly neighbouring areas.
Avian flu kills three people in Vgayet
In Algeria's Kabylia region, three people have died of the flu and there are speculations that it was avian flu. Samples have been sent off for analysis to Algiers
Industry News
DNA-based flu test provides more accurate diagnosis, could help prevent spread of the virus
A company in Indianapolis has developed a DNA-based test for the flu which could help reduce the spread of the virus in the future by providing a more accurate diagnosis. Only about half of patients who get a rapid flu test get a correct diagnosis, according to a spokesperson for Roche Diagnostics, which means someone with a false negative could go to work or school and spread the virus.
Woman (26) suing the State after developing sleep disorder from swine flu vaccine
In Ireland, the Minister for Health and Children's "intransigence" over document disclosure is delaying efforts to get on with the first of a number of cases in which a woman claims she developed a sleep disorder as a result of getting the swine flu vaccine, the High Court heard. Ms Bennett's case is among a number of similar cases being brought against the Minister, the HSE, Glaxosmithkline, which produced the vaccine, and the Health Products Regulatory Authority.
Why this year's bad flu season is good for the flu vaccine
In the U.S., every year, the CDC says everyone 6 months old and older should get a flu vaccine — but every year, not even half of people do. Many doses of vaccine go unused and get sent back to the makers, such as GSK and Sanofi. This year may be different. While there is still a supply of vaccine across the country, the headlines about the epidemic mean more people are asking for vaccines.
As flu numbers rise, expect temporary, local Tamiflu shortages
In Florida, the state Department of Health in Palm Beach County, confirmed the existence of localized shortages of Tamiflu. An agency spokesman said the supply shortfalls were temporary, and there is plenty of the antivirals available.
Oseltamivir prescriptions up 640% from last year
An analysis from GoodRx reveals that prescriptions for oseltamivir (Tamiflu—Roche) saw a more than six-fold increase this influenza season compared with the last one. Researchers examined a large sample of U.S. pharmacy fills, finding that prescriptions for oseltamivir increased by 640% from the same time last year. Fills for oseltamivir peaked in February 2017, indicating that prescriptions could keep increasing during the next few weeks
No shortage of Tamiflu locally
The Pharmacists Association of Western New York says the pharmacies they've spoken with have plenty of Tamiflu and the generic version of the medication. That's not the case in places such as Jacksonville, Florida and Springfield, Massachusetts, where news reports have said Tamiflu is in short supply.
Does Tamiflu work and should it be used at all?
With influenza at widespread levels across the country, fears about adverse psychiatric side effects of the prescription drug Tamiflu have also gone viral on social media. Pharmacist Brian McCullough specializes in infectious diseases and says Tamiflu is an effective treatment to slow the spread of flu.
Can we make a better flu vaccine? This San Diego biotech says yes
A San Diego biotech is working on a new way to produce seasonal flu vaccine that could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection. Vaccine manufacturing time can ultimately be reduced from the current six to nine months to several weeks, said Oliver Fetzer, CEO of Synthetic Genomics. The first step in vaccine manufacture, transmission and production of “seed” flu viruses, has been reduced from 35 days to less than 5 days in a proof of concept study. The digitized biological information can be quickly adjusted to make vaccines for new or developing strains. A prototype machine that turns computer code into biological material could eventually make the vaccine directly from the digitized information.
Academic studies
Acute MI Risk Increases With Influenza, Other Respiratory Infections
Certain respiratory infections, especially influenza, are associated with an increased risk for acute myocardial infarction during the first 7 days after respiratory specimen collection, according to a study. Jeffrey C. Kwong, MD, from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto, and colleagues used a self-controlled case-series design to examine the correlation between laboratory-confirmed influenza infection and hospitalization for acute MI.
Southern Research programs aim to shield against pandemic flu dangers
With experts predicting another deadly influenza pandemic in the future, Southern Research scientists are working on several fronts to help limit the death toll from a catastrophic flu outbreak that one day slams the nation. Southern Research conducts tests on emerging pandemic strains and participates in strategic government vaccine programs focusing on highly pathogenic avian influenza strains that pose potentially grave public health risks. It has performed toxicology studies for flu vaccine platforms and provided pre-clinical studies on vaccine candidates, along with clinical trial support for vaccine makers.
Pediatric influenza news
Experts Say Flu Vaccine Especially Important For Pregnant Women
New York City is reporting the highest flu activity since the pandemic nearly 10-years-ago. Hidden in the numbers is the tragedy of a number of children dying from the virus. Some pregnant women are reluctant to get the vaccine because of fear that it could harm their unborn child, even though it’s contrary to what health officials recommend.
Over 65’s influenza news
Vaccinated against influenza data indicates that 1.2 million Portuguese people aged 65 or over have been protected
About 1.2 million Portuguese aged 65 and over have been vaccinated against the flu, according to data from the 'Vaccinometer,' which monitors vaccination against this disease throughout the country
General Influenza News
Adenovirus looks like flu, acts like flu, but it's not influenza
Adenovirus can cause very severe flu-like symptoms. An outbreak of adenovirus killed 10 people in 2007. Adrianan Kajon, an infectious disease specialist at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, and her team tested college students at one campus during the severe 2014-15 influenza epidemic and found 13 out of 168 students who came in for flu treatment had adenovirus infections.
Flu vaccines becoming scarce in Richmond County
In Richmond County, North Carolina, flu vaccines are running low. Dr. Tommy Jarrell said the Richmond County Health Department still had about 50 doses — intended for anyone older than 36 months. The department stocked no high-dose vaccines this year, he said; it did so last year and had no demand. State health officials reported last week that 67 North Carolinans had died from the flu this season, including more than 20 the previous week.
The Imperfect Science of Mapping the Flu
The CDC bases its “Flu View” reports and predictions on physician records that report “influenza-like illnesses” among patients. That means there’s about a six-day gap between the ground truth and the CDC’s best understanding of it, according to Jeffrey Shaman, a professor of environmental health sciences and the director of Columbia University’s Climate and Health Program. Using an algorithm similar to those used in weather prediction, Shaman and his lab publish weekly flu forecasts for 50 states, 10 CDC regions, and 108 cities nationwide, predicting how and when cases will rise and fall.
Pharmacists vaccinated 152,000 people against the flu, nurses ask for more vaccination opportunities
In France, pharmacists in two regions have been allowed to vaccinate against the flu, and it looks to have been a successful trial as 152,000 vaccines were given through the scheme. The Health Minister is interested in expanding the trial, and nurses are asking to be allowed to vaccinate more categories of patients
Update on the 2018 flu season
Even though there definitely is a flu epidemic in Quebec, the situation is not alarming. However, not enough people were immunised against the virus (58% of the over 65s and only 35% of the 6-23 months old babies). The effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine should be revealed in February, but many are saying a universal flu vaccine would be the best solution
Make This Year's Flu a Cure for Complacency
In the U.S., this year's flu epidemic arrived early, spread widely, and brought extraordinary suffering expected to continue for months. The question is whether it will be enough to jolt the medical world and its funders from their complacency about influenza's persistent power. Much more investment is needed to get hospitals better prepared for future outbreaks, and to improve seasonal flu shots and treatments. Also lacking is a lasting, universal vaccine. Better efforts are also needed to raise the vaccination rate in the U.S. above 50 percent
Could the current flu epidemic escalate into a devastating 1918 'Spanish Flu' pandemic?
This year's flu season is shaping up to be among the worst in recent years. Already, 37 children have died from influenza-related symptoms. Researchers who study influenza viruses and their evolution do think that it's realistic to envision outbreaks of new flu viruses that are more deadly than anything circulating through humanity now. Predicting future evolution of influenza, in context of what happened in 1918 may help to prepare us for managing new flu strains.
A Demanding Flu Season Tightens Squeeze On IV Bag Supplies
Along with most of the United States, Wisconsin is seeing a high level of seasonal flu activity, thanks in part to a type of influenza virus that's tough to vaccinate against and can be particularly hard on the elderly and small children. The subtype, called H3N2, is proving particularly good at putting people in the hospital. The spike in flu cases comes as healthcare providers continue to deal with a shortage of one of their most common and crucial tools: pre-filled IV bags practitioners use for everything from hydrating patients to administering carefully measured medications.
Burden of disease
Influenza A kills 4 in North Korea: Red Cross
Four people have died and more than 81,000 have been infected with Influenza A (H1N1) virus in North Korea since last month, according to a report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. The North Korean vice minister of public health informed the World Health Organization office in Pyongyang of the outbreak of the flu on Jan. 19. North Korea has requested support for influenza vaccination for high-risk individuals, the IFRC said
Flu Wreaking Havoc on Hospitals, Infection Control Practices Struggling
As the U.S. continues to battle a rough influenza season, the precarious situation has illuminated gaps in how we prepare and respond to infectious disease threats. The CDC reported that for the week ending in January 13, 6.3% of individuals who saw their health care provider did so for influenza-like illness. A total of 7 additional pediatric deaths were reported last week as well, bringing the case count up to 37.
Tough flu season could kill tens of thousands
Millions of Americans are suffering from the influenza virus in what public health experts say is an unusually active and dangerous flu season, the result of several distinct strains of a disease that are likely to kill tens of thousands in the U.S. Tom Frieden, former CDC director, said he is concerned about a new strain of flu, H7N9, that is currently spreading through China. It is more lethal than either the H3N2 strain or the H1N1 strain, but it does not spread as easily among humans — yet. “The reason we worry about flu is that with just a couple of mutations it could present a risk of a global pandemic that could kill millions of people in a matter of months, before we could even develop a vaccine,” Frieden said.
Texas Flu Deaths Reach 2300, Expected To Rise
There have been 2,300 flu deaths in Texas this season, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services, and that number is expected to climb. While the 2017-2018 flu season is nearly half over, it doesn't show much sign of slowing down, and officials continue to encourage people to get a flu shot.
Parent's plea as son dies of sepsis three days after flu diagnosis
In the UK, a 12-year-old boy died of sepsis just days after being diagnosed with flu. The parents of Dylan Day are now urging other families to look out for symptoms of sepsis to prevent other tragedies.
Atlanta hospital deploys mobile unit to handle flu cases
As the flu epidemic overwhelms Georgia, one Atlanta hospital has set up a mobile unit to handle flu patients. News outlets report the specialized trailer outside Grady Memorial Hospital's emergency room has space for 14 beds, which the chief of emergency medicine at Grady Health System, Hany Atallah, hopes will relieve the emergency room by at least 100 patients a day. At least 25 Georgia residents have died of flu this season. Grady CEO John Haupert agreed to spend extra resources on care
Flu epidemic spreads through Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, the flu is epidemic, and even though it's too early for a definitive tally of the number of cases, several thousands of people are thought to have caught influenza A or B this season. Dr Guillaume Fournier, of the National Health Laboratory, recommends getting immunised and says the flu vaccine seems pretty effective this year
Flu deaths continue to rise in Georgia
Flu activity continues to spread throughout Georgia. The number of flu-related deaths in Georgia has more than doubled, according to the state Department of Public Health. Twenty-five people have now died from the flu in Georgia. Last week the number of deaths was at 12. Georgia like the rest of the nation in being hit hard by this year’s predominant strain of the flu — H3N2.
Flu threat is nowhere near over
South Carolina has suffered 20 additional deaths attributed to the flu. The Department of Health and Environmental Control says 17 of the latest deaths occurred between Jan. 14-29. Five earlier deaths have just recently been attributed to the flu. Since October, health officials say 46 people have died from the flu in South Carolina. Hundreds have been hospitalized.
Like Fevers, the Number of Flu Patients Is Rising
Thousands of Americans nationwide are grappling with what officials say is turning out to be the worst flu season in nearly a decade. And New Yorkers are falling ill, too. On the third week of January, there were 7,779 confirmed influenza cases and 1,759 people hospitalized in New York, the highest weekly numbers since the state began reporting them in 2004. The efficacy of this year’s flu shot has yet to be calculated for the H3N2 strain, but experts say it is about 30 percent. However, doctors recommend getting vaccinated even if the shot fails to prevent the flu.
AR Flu Deaths Climb to 94, One-Third Had Shot
Deaths from the flu in Arkansas have climbed to 94. Of those, one-third had been vaccinated. That's what state health officials shared when they joined Gov. Asa Hutchinson to reveal complete details from the latest weekly flu report.
Flu epidemic has started
Prague is at the start of a flu epidemic, according to health experts. The number of patients whose laboratory tests have confirmed true influenza has been increasing. Children have seen the largest increase in infection. It is too late for flu vaccinations, as the shots weaken patients for two weeks before building up sufficient antibodies to prevent the disease. The Czech Republic has one of the lowest few vaccination rates in Europe, under 10 percent.
Swamped Hong Kong hospitals to get HK$500 million to handle winter flu emergency
Hong Kong’s public hospitals are getting HK$500 million (US$64 million) in extra funding from the government as they struggle to cope with a deluge of winter flu cases amid a severe shortage of nursing staff. The high occupancy rate has been due to people coming down with flu. As of last Saturday, the close of the third week of the flu season, the Centre for Health Protection said “the overall admission rate in public hospitals with principal diagnosis of flu was 1.14 (per 10,000 people)”. This figure was “above the seasonal threshold of 0.20 and higher than 0.60 recorded in the previous week”.
Flu Surveillance in Animals
Swine flu, bird flu hit North Korea and South Korea days before Winter Olympics kickoff
Super flu outbreaks are ravaging the Korean Peninsula less than two weeks before the Winter Olympics — leaving North Korea scrambling to treat more than 81,000 people infected with swine flu as the South kills off nearly 1 million chickens to contain the bird flu on its side of the border. South Korea is scrambling to contain the bird flu outbreak with less than two weeks until the Opening Ceremony at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The South Korean government ordered about 764,000 chickens from farms near Seoul killed to prevent avian influenza H5N6 from spreading to people, the South’s Korea JongAng Daily reported
Bird flu outbreak casts pall over Tet
In Vietnam, the Health Ministry is urging people across the country to be on alert against bird flu outbreaks before and after Tet. Meanwhile in Viet Nam, influenza A / H5N1 and A / H5N6 continue to occur in poultry in many areas and there's a risk of transmission to humans. From January 17 to 19, bird flu was detected at a poultry-breeding farm in Dien Chau District, the central province of Nghe An.
S. Korea to adopt tracking system for poultry supply chain
South Korea will adopt a tracking system for poultry meats and their eggs to provide consumers with information about the complete supply chain and minimize fallout from contagious animal diseases, the agriculture ministry said. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said the tracking system will record information on chickens, ducks and their eggs, throughout the process from breeding to sales. It said such a system can better allow authorities to trace the origins of birds when they are infected with bird flu
Farms sprayed to stop bird flu
In Cambodia, Agriculture Ministry officials sprayed anti-viral disinfectant at livestock breeding farms nearly 40,000 times in 2017, during which time there were four cases of H5N1. According to the ministry’s annual report, expert officials sprayed a total of 39,879 times at breeding farms and slaughter areas throughout the country.