"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 7th Feb 2018

Seqirus mentions
LPC worried lack of choice will cause shortage next flu season
A LPC CEO has raised concerns that NHS England is "putting all its eggs" in one basket by relying on one supplier for its recommended flu vaccine for the 2018-19 season. The adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) is “now the best option for all 65s and over”, while the quadrivalent vaccine (QIV) is “the best option for 18-65 at-risk groups”, according to the letter by NHS England. City and Hackney local pharmaceutical committee (LPC) CEO Hitesh Patel raised concerns on Twitter that there could be “very little” of the vaccines available, as there is currently only one manufacturer for the aTIV – Seqirus – and just two manufacturers – Mylan and Sanofi Pasteur – supplying QIV.
GPs to be funded to order two types of flu vaccines for next winter
NHS England has advised GPs to offer two different types of the flu vaccine for the 2018/19 season, after telling GPs to halt all orders. In a letter, NHS England has told practices and pharmacies to offer the adjuvanted trivalent vaccine (aTIV) for all 65s and over and the quadrivalent vaccine (QIV) for at-risk patients between the ages of 18 and 64. It said it will fund local commissioners to pass on to practices to order both types of vaccine.
NHS to offer 'gold standard' flu jabs next year amid concern over failings
In England, the NHS will offer stronger flu jabs next year amid concern that this year’s vaccinations have failed to work effectively. Health officials said the public could expect “gold standard” protection from next winter, in a bid to cut death rates from flu. From next year, pensioners will receive a new type of jab designed to boost their immune response, after the vaccine last year was found to have zero effectiveness. Suppliers have confirmed that there will be enough adjuvanted trivalent vaccine and quadrivalent influenza vaccine to meet demand.
Some flu vaccines may work better than others — but guidance to the public is scant
Last fall some people in the know about influenza science got picky when it came time to get their flu shots. “My colleagues who are over age 65, everybody wanted basically the Fluad or the Protein Sciences vaccine, Flublok,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. The proliferation of products has left some people wondering whether public health officials should do more to steer flu vaccine consumers towards Vaccine X or Vaccine Y.
NHS to use new type of flu jab next winter
Doctors in England are being asked to order a different type of flu vaccine in time for next winter. NHS England says over-65s should be offered a newly licensed jab called Fluad, which experts say should give better immunity to this age group. NHS England said there would be additional funding available in 2018-19 for the "highly cost-effective" recommended vaccines.
NHS England moves to clear up flu vaccine confusion
NHS England has moved to try to clear up confusion over flu vaccines for next winter, following concerns that a better approach last year could have reduced pressure in hospitals.
Pandemic Influenza News
WHO Novel Flu Assessment
After last winter's record number of human H7N9 infections in China, just about everybody expected a repeat performance. Yet, since October 1st, only two cases have been reported by Mainland China. Perhaps China's nationwide poultry vaccination program has dampened down the virus, or it could be a side effect from seeing back-to-back severe seasonal flu (H3N2 & Influenza B) outbreaks in the past 6 months. Or perhaps it's a combination of factors
Industry News
Doctors warn people not to take Tamiflu if they don't have the flu
U.S. doctors are warning not to take Tamiflu unless you really have the flu. Tamiflu is one of the most prescribed medications to battle the flu, but doctors at Beaumont Hospital say it's not for everyone. Dr. Chittick says it's not too late to get a flu shot.
Madison-based company will test ‘revolutionary’ universal flu vaccine this spring
FluGen, a Madison company founded by globally recognized virus researchers, will test their universal influenza vaccine on 100 volunteers this spring. Paul Radspinner, who founded the company in 2007 with Yoshihiro Kawaoka and Gabriele Neumann, said the clinical study will be highly predictive of how the vaccine will work in the real world.
Four more Hong Kong primary schools hit by flu as expert warns of post-Lunar New Year outbreak
In Hong Kong, four more primary schools were hit by flu outbreaks, as the city recorded more than 100 deaths during the winter flu peak season so far, and an expert warned of outbreaks of another flu strain after the Lunar New Year. Some private doctors have lamented that there has been a shortage of flu vaccines for weeks owing to the surge in patients. The supply of extra flu vaccines to the city from Sanofi Pasteur, one of the major suppliers, began last Friday.
A biotech out of Oxford is developing a vaccine to fight every type of flu
A biotech spun out of Oxford University is aiming to develop a universal flu vaccine — and phase 2 trials could be completed by the end of next year. Vaccitech says the vaccine does not target surface antibodies. Instead, it works from the center of the virus where there are few components which can change the virus strain. Vaccitech co-founder Adrian Hill hopes any Vaccitech success will make pharmaceutical giants take an interest and get involved.
New Molecular Test to Impact Influenza Pandemic Preparedness
InDevR announced plans to launch a Research Use Only version of their FluChip-8G technology to aid in pandemic preparedness. The new molecular test addresses an unmet need for more detailed information about flu viruses found in human specimens without the data management complexities associated with current sequencing approaches. FluChip-8G offers viral subtype-specific insight with the ease of use of an RT-PCR assay and unmatched simplicity in results interpretation.
Academic studies
UGA says it's close to creating flu vaccine for all strains
Researchers at the University of Georgia tell Channel 2 Action News they are getting closer to human trials for a universal flu vaccine. Ross and his team have been working on a universal vaccine for about a decade. They've had successful trials in mice and ferrets. Monday, he confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that they're in the process of selecting candidates for human trials, which could begin in 2019.
Flu is a Tough Diagnostic Problem Even Now
A study released in the last week looked at 1422 adult patients admitted for respiratory problems to one academic and three community hospitals. The patients’ physician determined whether they were tested for influenza but the researchers tested all patients so they could determine the number of missed diagnoses and the associated patient factors. The study and the problems associated with the available diagnostic tests show that medicine, for all its guidelines, remains the art of the practitioner.
Pediatric influenza news
2 children die of the flu in New York City
The New York City Health Department has confirmed that two children's deaths are influenza-related. In a statement it said: "The tragic death of a child due to the flu is a reminder of the devastating effects this illness can have on people of all ages. The influenza season is far from over, and it is not too late to get the flu shot. We urge parents to protect themselves and their families by getting this potentially life-saving vaccine today."
AAP Releases 2018 Immunization Schedule for Kids and Teens
The 2018 pediatric immunization schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics is mostly similar to last year's, with a couple of tweaks regarding timing of the hepatitis B vaccination and an optional third dose of mumps-containing vaccine during a mumps outbreak. Influenza vaccine recommendations from 2017 remain unchanged, with the flu shot recommended children ages 6 months and older and the live attenuated influenza vaccine not recommended, reported the AAP's Committee on Infectious Diseases.
So far, 53 kids have died from the flu. Here's what worried parents should do
In the U.S., we don’t know yet whether flu-related deaths are actually more common this year than average, but we do know that 80 percent of the children who have died thus far weren’t vaccinated. Every year, only about 60 percent of kids under 18 get the flu shot, not including those under six months of age who are too young to get the vaccine. That’s actually better than adults, who average around 40 percent coverage, but many parents clearly don’t feel the shot is a priority.
Over 65’s influenza news
Socially active older women benefit from flu vaccine
Flu shots may be especially important for older women who are socially active, a study from Japan suggests. In a study of people over age 65, unvaccinated women who regularly participated in two or more social activities were twice as likely to report a flu infection as those who didn’t participate in any such activities, the study authors report. At the same time, women who were vaccinated had no additional risk.
General Influenza News
Trump Evangelical Adviser Says You Don't Need Flu Shots When You Have Jesus
In the U.S., a controversial minister linked to President Donald Trump said flu shots aren’t necessary when you have Jesus. “Inoculate yourself with the word of God,” urged Gloria Copeland, who with her husband co-founded the Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Texas. Both serve on Trump’s evangelical advisory board. While health officials continue to urge people to get flu shots during a season that has been marked by widespread illness, Copeland told followers that faith in Christ is all that’s really needed.
Flu outbreaks leave more than 4 million Brits at risk of deadly asthma attacks, charity warns
Catching a cold or the flu could put more than four million Brits at risk of a deadly asthma attack, a charity has warned. A study of more than 7,500 people found more than 80 per cent of people reported the flu made their asthma symptoms worse, according to Asthma UK. And recent figures reveal some 193 people have died of flu-related complications this winter, prompting the charity to urge people with asthma to protect themselves.
Doctors warn about heart attack risks following flu
In the U.S., the emergency room at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been packed for months now. Now, inside the cardiology wing, doctors are warning about the risks for heart attacks that can follow a bout of the flu. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people are six times more likely to have a heart attack in that week after getting diagnosed with the flu. Cardiologists are also stressing the importance of getting the flu shot.
Rapid flu tests only 50 to 70 percent accurate, CDC says
In the U.S., the CDC says the quick flu tests are only 50 to 70 percent accurate. They're the most common flu test performed at hospitals and clinics during flu season. Some patients elect for a comprehensive lab test, which takes longer to complete and is more accurate. But even if a rapid test comes back negative, healthcare professionals are trained to treat symptoms.
Burden of disease
Nationwide there has been four flu deaths this winter
Since the beginning of the influenza season in Lower Saxony, four influenza-affected people have died. Frequently, the flu does not lead directly to death, but in conjunction with other underlying diseases it sometimes can, said a spokeswoman for the State Health Office in Hanover. The seasonal flu outbreak is as pronounced as it has been in previous years. Last week, the agency registered 681 new influenza cases nationwide, which were confirmed by laboratories. Overall, there have been 1,535 cases since the start of the flu season last October. The flu season is expected to reach its peak in February
Flu wave is easing: government
In Macau, the Health Bureau said that the number of influenza patients seeking treatment at the public Conde de Sao Januário Hospital Centre has decreased over the past week. The statement said that the ratios of residents and schoolchildren having received flu vaccinations are among the highest in Asia, adding that more than 70 percent of pupils in the city’s kindergartens and primary schools have had their seasonal flu shots.
State: Flu kills Sussex man, cases "skyrocket" to 650 in 1 week
Health officials say Delaware's flu season is "skyrocketing" as it killed a fourth person this season and 650 cases were confirmed in one week alone. The number of flu-related hospitalizations in Delaware has also doubled, going from 158 this time last year to 398 so far this season. Federal and state officials are pushing flu shots more urgently than ever because the CDC is concerned about a strain of the flu that has caused a huge number of illnesses and deaths in Australia.
Flu remains widespread as vaccination are becoming harder to find
Mississippi is still having a widespread outbreak of influenza. Now doses of flu vaccine is running low for those under 65 years of age and those over 65 get a more potent vaccination. No one knows when this long influenza season will peak, so the CDC says it is not too late for adults and children to get the flu shot, adding the vaccination may now provide some relief.
Flu cases in New Brunswick up by 572 over same time last year
New Brunswick has seen 572 more cases of the flu so far this season than the same time last year, with 160 more hospitalizations and eight more deaths, Department of Health statistics show. The province is also dealing with a double whammy of simultaneous strains this season, and a vaccine that's less effective than previous years. Still, the province's acting chief medical officer of health is encouraging people to get the flu shot.
Canada's Deadly Flu Outbreak Is Getting Worse With Death Tolls Still On The Rise
Canada continues to fight off a serious flu outbreak that has claimed as many as 120 lives so far this year. The heightened severity of this year’s flu season is partly due to a less people having received a flu shot this winter, as well as the lower effectiveness of the vaccine altogether. Canada’s flu shot, which is the same one used in Australia, was only found to have 10 per cent effectiveness in warding off the two strains.
Mum's heartbreaking warning as son, 12, dies from flu and sepsis
In the UK, a devastated mother is urging parents to spot the warning signs after her son died of deadly sepsis. Dylan Day, 12, passed away after developing the dangerous infection, which was triggered by a strain of influenza B.
Switzerland reports swine influenza A(H1N1)v virus case in farm worker
A 48-year-old Swiss male farm worker tested positive for swine influenza A(H1N1)v virus, the WHO reports. Samples from the swine at the farm where the case worked also tested positive for influenza A viruses, and are currently under characterization. No additional human cases related to this event were reported.
Hong Kong flu spread: Timely interventions required
In Nepal, flu casualties have been reported more in rural areas due to lack of medicines and prompt health services. In fact almost all flu patients in Jajarkot and Kalikot died due to lack of lifesaving medicines and health care providers. Samples from patients were sent to the National Public Health Laboratory, Kathmandu to identify the cause of the outbreak. Influenza virus A (H3N2), commonly known as “Hong Kong Flu”, was found to be responsible
Ontario avoiding the severe flu season overwhelming parts of the U.S.
While health officials in the U.S. are struggling to cope with their worst flu season in a nearly a decade, Ontario is having a busy, but not overwhelming year so far. Not only is flu fairly localized — with different strains dominating in different regions — but a more effective health system can lessen the impact of seasonal influenza. Recent research has found that this year’s flu vaccine is a poor match — less than 20 per cent — with the circulating strain of Influenza A, but a better match — about 55 per cent — with the circulating B strain.
CDC: Hawaii now 1 of 42 states with highest flu activity
The flu epidemic is getting worse across the U.S. — and Hawaii is now among the states where flu activity is the highest. State Health Department officials say there has been a recent spike in the number of patients going to the hospital with flu-like symptoms. This marks a significant shift in flu activity in Hawaii, which had been the rare exception to an epidemic spreading across the country even in the early weeks of the flu season.
Flu Surveillance in Animals
The bird flu is killing the Queen's swans
In England, bird flu has killed at least 30 swans from Queen Elizabeth's flock, with more expected to succumb to the disease, UK officials say. "We are currently at the river recovering bodies of the dead swans," said David Barber, the official responsible for the Queen's swans. "This is the first time in my 24 years as Swan Marker that bird flu has hit the Thames -- naturally, we are all very upset about the situation." After seven swans died in the Queen's flock, their remains were analyzed and five were confirmed to have the disease, DEFRA said.
Zimbabwe Now Free From Avian Flu
Zimbabwe is now free from the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza that hit the country between May and August last year. The disease killed one million chickens in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Department of Livestock and Veterinary Services principal, Dr Unesu Ushewokunze-Obatolu said the country, however, remains on high alert.
Avian flu: 10,800 ducks culled in Gers region
In the Gers region of France, 10,800 ducks have been culled as a precautionary measure. A low pathogenic avian flu virus, H5N3, was found on a duck farm and authorities enforced safety measures immediately
Bird flu reaches Baghdad, official says humans unaffected
Iraqi health officials have said that a recent bird flu infection discovered at some Iraqi provinces has reached to the capital, but assured that danger is still limited to animals. "The disease infects birds and does not affect humans,” said Nazek al-Fatlawi, a director of public health at the Baghdad health department. “What had been rumored about the spread of the disease and recording human infections is untrue”, she added, noting that hospitals and medical centers possess the drugs needed to counter the disease.