"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 9th Feb 2018

Seqirus mentions
High-strength flu vax for over-65s likely to be added to immunisation program
In Australia, a high-strength flu vaccine for over-65s is likely to be added to the National Immunisation Program next month to prevent a repeat of last year’s ‘horror season’. While submissions to fund Fluzone will go before the PBAC for formal approval in March, Australian Doctor has learned that its manufacturer, Sanofi, has already increased production of the vaccines to ensure they are available for the start of the flu season. The PBAC is also examining a submission for the trivalent Fluad (Seqirus) for 65s and over.
New flu jab announced for next winter
GPs and pharmacists in England are being advised to order a different type of flu vaccine ahead of next winter. An adjuvanted trivalent vaccine called Fluad has been shown to boost immunity in adults aged 65 and over. The vaccine was not available for this winter because it was only approved for UK use last summer.
Pandemic Influenza News
CDC EID Journal: All About IRAT
The CDC's IRAT (Influenza Risk Assessment Tool) currently follows 14 novel flu subtypes/strains that circulate in non-human hosts and are believed to possess some degree of pandemic potential. The CDC uses two sets of criteria to evaluate novel viruses. One to estimate a virus's potential for sustained human-to-human transmission, and another to gauge it's potential for significant impact on public health.
Indonesia hosts FAO pilot projects for tackling zoonoses
The Agriculture Ministry and the United Nations’ FAO have designated four areas in Indonesia for pilot projects to contain the spread of zoonoses. The role of the Agriculture Ministry’s Animal Husbandry and Animal Health Directorate General in the project focuses on three major zoonoses – rabies, anthrax and avian influenza – and EID.
Industry News
New Drugs Are Coming to Fight Nasty Flu Seasons
Almost two decades after Roche’s Tamiflu first reached pharmacy shelves, researchers around the world are pushing ahead with a raft of new options. None will arrive in time to help sufferers this winter, but the most advanced -- developed by Roche and Shionogi -- could be on the market in Japan within months. Baloxavir, the flu drug discovered by Shionogi, received preliminary approval in Japan last week. Co-developer Roche aims to file for regulatory review in the U.S. and Europe later this year. J&J is also pressing ahead with the development of a universal flu vaccine.
FDA Clears Tests from Alere, Roche, Cepheid in January
Abbott's Alere business, along with Roche, Becton Dickinson, and Danaher's Cepheid each received US Food and Drug Administration clearances for tests in January, according to the FDA's website. Alere, acquired by Abbott in October 2017, received clearances for four tests. They include the Alere i Influenza A & B, which is a rapid, instrument-based isothermal test for the qualitative detection and differentiation of influenza A and influenza B in patients presenting with symptoms of respiratory infection. The firm received clearance for Alere i Strep A, a rapid, instrument-based isothermal test for the qualitative detection of Group A Strep from throat swab specimens, and for Alere i RSV, a rapid, instrument-based isothermal test for the qualitative detection and differentiation of respiratory syncytial virus viral RNA in patients with symptoms of respiratory infection
Pharmacist says natural drugs can work as well as Tamiflu to fight flu
Channel 2’s Craig Lucie spoke with the pharmacist and owner of Little Five Points Pharmacy who recommended some natural alternatives you can buy to keep the flu at bay. “There are some shortages of Tamiflu, it is available but not quite as readily as a lot of people would like for it to be but you may have to make a couple phone calls,” Katz said. If you’re looking for alternatives, Katz said he has them. But he warns people to contact their doctor before making any major changes.
Tamiflu and generic version can be hard to find this flu season
Neither version is cheap, particularly for individuals who do not have health insurance coverage. "The only generic shortages we have experienced to date are with the Tamiflu suspension, and only sporadically," said Jennifer Tryon, chief pharmacy officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "In these cases where the generic is unavailable, most patients are simply buying the brand due to the severity of the flu this year, and the small window of opportunity when this medication will be effective."
Flu vaccine yields solid growth for Sanofi Pasteur
For Sanofi Pasteur, full year 2017 net sales were Euro 5.101 billion and fourth quarter 2017 net sales were Euro 1.385 billion. Within the Sanofi Pasteur unit, fourth quarter influenza vaccine sales increased 28.4 percent, driven by a strong performance in the U.S., while full year sales were Euro 1.589 billion, up 8.2 percent.
Parents warn their children are having hallucinations, threatening suicide while taking Tamiflu
As flu cases are on the rise across the U.S., parents are raising concerns after their children started hallucinating after taking Tamiflu. Kristina Sloan said her 8-year-old son, Rylee, even threatened suicide after taking the drug. Sloan said she took Rylee to the hospital for a psychological evaluation and doctors told her that his behavior may be a result of the medicine he was taking: Tamiflu. Roche says they cannot comment on specific cases but "Neuropsychiatric events" have been reported as a side effect of Tamiflu in some patients, especially children and adolescents
Eurocine Vaccines Takes Advantage of Yet Another Influenza Season, Launching its Second Clinical Study on Immunose FLU
Eurocine Vaccines initiates a phase I/II clinical study in older adults with its quadrivalent nasal influenza vaccine candidate Immunose FLU. The purpose of the study is to evaluate safety, tolerability, as well as serological and mucosal immune responses against four influenza antigens in older adults aged 50-75. Recruitment of subjects is ongoing and about 300 subjects will be divided into seven treatment groups. The study is planned to be conducted at five locations throughout Sweden during the present influenza season.
Glaxo Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates in Q4
GlaxoSmithKline reported core earnings of 72 cents per American depositary share in the fourth quarter of 2017, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents. While the Vaccine segment is estimated to register a mid-to-high-single-digit growth through 2020 despite competition for pediatric and flu vaccines, the Consumer Healthcare segment is expected to deliver low-to-mid-single-digit top-line CAGR through 2020.
Academic studies
UGA professor seeks universal flu vaccine
As part of ongoing efforts to battle the flu, a University of Georgia researcher is working to develop a universal vaccine. “The two different goals for a broadly protective or universal flu vaccine involve being able to protect you against all the circulating strains in any given season,” said Dr. Ted Ross. “Then if you can expand that and do that over multiple different years, so now you can take one flu shot and then it will go maybe five years or 10 years, and still be protected against all the different versions, that’s a great improvement over how we’re doing it now.”
Researchers Focus on New, Innovative Ways to Combat Flu
As influenza activity continues to spike across the United States, researchers are focusing on developing new ways to protect against the flu. According to a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers have detected signs of the influenza virus genome that can determine how it will multiply. Through monitoring these features, scientists may be able to help prevent a flu outbreak.
UH researcher's study says the world isn't prepared for global flu outbreak
As the flu grips 49 U.S. states, researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa wanted to know: Could the world handle a potential global flu outbreak? Victoria Fan, an assistant professor at the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work was the lead author. She found that if a global flu outbreak were to occur, the disease would cause 700,000 deaths worldwide, and result in more than $500 billion in economic losses, according to the study. Fan used scientific algorithms to produce the study titled, “Pandemic Risk: How the large are the expected losses.”
Pediatric influenza news
Hong Kong shuts schools in response to flu outbreak
Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong school children will be getting an early start to their Lunar New Year holiday as the city's education authorities ordered the closure of all kindergartens and primary schools to fight an outbreak of flu. Hong Kong recently expanded its free vaccination schemes for children and elderly people, and officials said hundreds of thousands of people have already been vaccinated. However, a spokeswoman for the CHP confirmed that stocks are running low, but added a new batch has been ordered for after the Lunar New Year break.
Hong Kong parents take children to school despite classes being cancelled amid flu fears
In Hong Kong, many working parents had no option but to take their children to school on Thursday, despite classes having been cancelled at kindergartens and primary schools to curb the spread of flu. Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung rejected criticism about the Education Bureau’s confusing communication after the sudden announcement on Wednesday, which brought pupils an early start to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Flu epidemic closing several North Alabama schools
Several North Alabama school systems have announced school closings as the flu continues to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says this flu season has not yet reached its peak, although 48 states are reporting widespread flu. "We have not hit our peak yet, unfortunately," CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. "Really, the bottom line is, there is still likely many more weeks to go."
Over 65’s influenza news

No News Recorded

General Influenza News
Experts denounce Canto-pop star’s claim of harmful flu jabs as ‘totally wrong’ amid deadly virus outbreak in Hong Kong
A viral message by Canto-pop star Kay Tse On-kei on the flu vaccine containing mutated bacteria and mercury was widely denounced by medical and health experts as well as the Department of Health on Thursday, with Hong Kong’s Medical Association rebutting the rumours as “absolutely absurd”.
9 Flu Myths That Seriously Need to Be Shut Down
This year's flu season has been bleak at first, with more hospitalizations than recent years and a record 53 pediatric deaths, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that suggests the worst may not even be over. To protect yourself and others from contracting the flu, don't just take all the precautions — help stop these common myths about the virus from spreading even further
Prescriptions for fighting epidemics
Epidemics have plagued humanity since the dawn of settled life. Yet success in conquering them remains patchy. That is because the standard response, in the words of the World Bank’s president Jim Yong Kim, is a cycle of “panic, neglect, panic, neglect”. A front-runner for global pandemics is the seasonal influenza virus, which mutates so much that a vaccine must be custom-made every year. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed 50m to 100m people, was a potent version of the “swine flu” that emerged in 2009. The H5N1 “avian flu” strain, deadly in 60% of cases, came about in the 1990s when a virus that sickened birds made the jump to a human. Ebola, HIV and Zika took a similar route.
Bacterial Infection From Flu Can Affect the Healthy, Too
Bacterial pneumonia is the most important and serious complications of the flu. Doctors say it can affect, even cause death, in otherwise healthy children and adults. "Years where we see H3N2 as the predominant strain, we typically see more deaths, more hospitalizations that year and this is one of those years, unfortunately," said Dr. Edward Dominguez, infectious disease doctor at Methodist Dallas.
News Scan for Feb 07, 2018
The WHO and South Korean health officials issued public health recommendations for people attending the upcoming winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang. The main threat is an increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infections, and indoor crowding during the two events could increase the risk of the spread of those diseases. The groups noted that the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting an increase in seasonal flu, mainly caused by influenza B and H3N2, an influenza A strain.
Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe may jeopardise capacity to protect people in next pandemic
Influenza vaccination coverage among high-risk groups has dropped in the European Region over the last seven years, and half the countries report a decrease in the number of vaccine doses available. These are the results of the first comprehensive overview of seasonal influenza vaccine coverage in the European Region of the World Health Organization between 2008/09 and 2014/15. Low uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in Europe jeopardises the capacity to protect people during annual epidemics and the next pandemic, the two organisations warn.
Burden of disease
Eagles parade could be a powder keg for flu in state where 91 have died, experts warn
"We know that whenever a large group of people congregates, there is significant chance to spread viruses and other infections, especially those spread through aerosols (cough/sneeze droplets)," Dr. David Cennimo, an epidemiologist at Newark's University Hospital and a professor of medicine at Rutgers University Medical School, said in an email.
Health Officials Say 129 People Have Died of Flu in Oklahoma
Oklahoma health officials say the state has recorded 129 influenza deaths this season — just one fatality shy of the state's record death toll — and about 3,000 people have been hospitalized with illness. Health officials say 89 people aged 65 or over are among this year's victims, more than any other age group. A total of 15 people aged 18-49 and 25 people aged 50-64 have also died due to the flu this season.
Baltimore's Flu Severity Level Among Worst In US: Report
The Baltimore region is a national flu hot spot, with one of the most severe levels of influenza in the U.S., according to a new report analyzing national doctor office data. The Charlotte area and the Minneapolis-St. Paul region are tied for being the worst metro areas in the nation this week when it comes to influenza, said Doctors Report. The findings are based on the website's and mobile app's Illness Tracker that compiles doctor diagnosis data reported during a seven-day period
Flu in Wales Update: Flu Prevention Urged as Cases Remain High
Cases of influenza in Wales have fallen this week from their peak last week, but remain at high levels. In the week ending 28 January 2018 the number of people diagnosed with influenza-like illness in general practices in Wales was 53.0 out of every 100,000 population, down from 74.7 per 100,000 the previous week. More people in Wales have had a flu vaccine this year than ever before, with over three quarters of a million in target groups vaccinated so far and 20,000 vaccinated in January alone.
Dozens more people die from flu in North Carolina
The number of people who have died from the flu continues to spike in North Carolina. The state Department of Health & Human Services says 34 people died last week from the virus, while there were 20 deaths the week before. To date, 140 people in the state have succumbed due to the flu. Of those, 97 were 65 or older, 33 ages 50-64, six ages 25-49, three ages 5-17 and one younger than five.
Pediatric flu death confirmed in Michigan, first of flu season
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recently confirmed the first influenza-associated pediatric death of the 2017-2018 flu season. Nationally, there have been more than 50 influenza-associated pediatric deaths reported during the 2017-2018 flu season. “It is not too late to get vaccinated,” Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for MDHHS said in a statement.
106 have died from the flu in SC. But state residents usually skip the flu shot
More than half of South Carolina residents tend to skip the flu shot, a new study shows. So many skip the shot, that the Palmetto State placed above the U.S. average, coming in at 61.1 percent, according to a study by Insurance Quotes. On Wednesday, the state’s health agency announced that 22 more people had died of the flu in South Carolina this season, bringing the total number of deaths to 106. The majority of deaths – 77 – were of seniors who are 65 and older.
Flu season is raging on Maui
So far, Hawaii has not been seeing widespread flu activity this season when compared to Mainland states, but anecdotally there was a spike of cases in December and high numbers last month, according to health officials on island. There also has been an uptick in vaccinations. Across the state, Kaiser Permanente has administered 9,070 flu shots in the two weeks ending Tuesday.
What you need to know about this year’s unusual winter flu surge in Hong Kong
In Hong Kong, since the start of the year, more than 120 people, including two children, have died from serious flu complications in an unusually intense seasonal outbreak that is expected to last a few more months. At least 96 of them were aged 65 or older. Medical experts expect the peak of the current type B flu outbreak to last at least a few more months, but are already warning of another surge on the horizon, this time, involving the more common influenza A virus, leading to the dangerous phenomenon of “double peaks”.
More flu deaths reported in NH
So far, 20 New Hampshire residents have died from the powerful strain or flu-related complications. The total includes seven residents whose deaths were included in the report last week. So far, all the victims have been adults. This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans to release a comprehensive collection of data on whether flu shots helped reduce the frequency of hospital visits. Officials said that only then will they know how effective the vaccine has been this season.
Flu deaths rise above 200 in the UK as NHS suffers through second-worst month on record
In the UK, the number of people killed by the flu this winter has risen to above 200 but new cases of the bug are "stabilising", new figures reveal. In the last week there have been 22 new flu-related deaths - taking the overall figure this year to 215, figures confirmed today. Richard Pebody, acting head of the respiratory diseases at PHE, said: "We are continuing to see flu circulate, with signs that flu activity is stabilising. "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."
Student with flu died after parents followed NHS warnings not to go to A&E over Christmas
In the UK, an engineering student with flu died after her parents heeded NHS warnings not to go to A&E over Christmas unless it was an emergency. Melissa Whiteley, 18, was admitted to hospital on Christmas Day after failing to shake a cough and while suffering from flu symptoms. She deteriorated rapidly and she was placed in a coma, suffering from sepsis, flu, pneumonia and a fungal infection in her throat.
Flu update: 25 new deaths announced as case rate increases
Even though it looks like it may have peaked in late December, San Diego’s flu season showed Wednesday that it has staying power. And health officials are keeping a watchful eye should there be a flareup. The county could find no record of vaccination for two-thirds of the 231 flu-related deaths this year. More than 95 percent had other underlying medical conditions that contributed to their deaths.
Instead of peaking, flu cases in Maine jump 63% from previous week
Last week saw a dramatic rise in the number of new flu cases and hospitalizations in Maine, adding to what already has been one of the worst years in nearly a decade. There were 876 new cases of influenza, a 63 percent increase over the previous week, as well as 120 new hospitalizations and five deaths attributed to the flu.
High flu rate continues to put pressure on GPs
Consultation rates for influenza-like illness rose in Wales in the week to 8 February, from 53 per 100,000 patients to 55.1 - and the country remains in the highest category on the European 'moving epidemic method' scale. In England, the GP consultation rate for flu dropped from 52 to 43 per 100,000 - but cases remain more than three times above the baseline threshold that indicates raised circulation of flu in the community.
GP consultation rates fall as flu activity decreases
GP consultation rates have fallen as flu activity has decreased despite fresh outbreaks of influenza, Public Health England revealed today. The weekly report from PHE and RCGP showed that that the GP consultation rate had dropped from 52.1 per 100,000 in the week previous, to 43 per 100,000. The report also established 95 new acute respiratory outbreaks compared to 174 in the previous week, 71 of which were in care homes. Eight outbreaks were reported in hospitals and 15 were seen in schools
10,000 cases: Flu outbreak in N.J. continues to surge
The flu is continuing to spread rapidly in New Jersey, with 3,000 additional cases reported in the state in the past week, pushing the total to more than 10,000 for the season, according to the latest statistics from the New Jersey Department of Health. One pediatric death has also occurred from a flu-related illness this season in New Jersey.
Flu Surveillance in Animals
Bird flu toll hits 40 in Queen’s Windsor swan flock as team of volunteers in biohazard suits collect bodies to prevent spread of disease
In England, around 40 of the Queen’s Windsor swans have now been killed by bird flu as volunteers in biohazard suits collected bodies. Around half the estate’s flock has been wiped out. Tests on seven swans have revealed the cause was bird flu
Saudi Arabia temporarily bans poultry imports from India over bird flu
Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned imports of live birds, hatching eggs and chicks from India after a form of bird flu that is highly lethal for poultry was found in the south Asian country, the Saudi agriculture ministry said