"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 13th Feb 2018
CDC Still Recommends Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines As Flu-Related Deaths Rise
The lethal H3N2 flu strain and comorbid diseases claimed at least 4,000 lives in the U.S. last week, according to the CDC. Only Seqirus and Sanofi are known to produce vaccines that effectively inhibit H3N2, but the CDC also recommended products from GlaxoSmithKline. AstraZeneca’s FluMist was not prescribed this year. Considering the demand for vaccines this season, the pharmaceutical companies might have incentive to invest in research and development for more potent, comprehensive products.
As raging flu epidemic spreads, Sanofi Pasteur targets more effective cell-based universal vaccine
Sanofi Pasteur has signed a deal with SK Chemicals to license cell culture vaccine technology as the raging flu epidemic in the U.S., one of the worst in recent history, highlights the need for a universal vaccine and more potent flu shots produced in cells instead of eggs. Currently Seqirus, which sells Flucelvax, has the only FDA-approved mammalian cell-based flu shot.
Treating the Flu in Just 24 Hours
People may soon have another option when treating the flu. And, this new single-dose medicine could work in just 24 hours. This is important since rare sporadic instances of oseltamivir-resistant and peramivir-resistant influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses and oseltamivir-resistant influenza A(H3N2) viruses have been detected worldwide. Shionogi completed a phase 3 clinical trial in January 2018, for Baloxavir marboxil, a medication that is reported to kill the flu virus within one day
CHP notified of additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) in Guangdong
In Hong Kong, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health received notification of an additional human case of avian influenza A(H7N9) from the Health and Family Planning Commission of Guangdong Province. Since October 2017, three human cases of avian influenza A(H7N9) infections and two other human cases of avian influenza A(H5N6) infections have been reported in the Mainland.
The next pandemic will come sooner or later. The CDC needs money to prepare
At the time of the Ebola crisis, the U.S. Congress approved a one-time, five-year emergency supplemental spending package, of which $600 million was sent to the CDC to help countries prevent infectious-disease threats from turning into epidemics. Anticipating that that money will run out in October 2019, the CDC has begun notifying country directors to begin planning withdrawal from 39 of 49 countries. This is not a pullout of all CDC programs, but it does mean retreating from frontline outposts for preventing, detecting and responding to outbreaks.
Lupin launches generic Tamiflu in the US
Lupin said it has launched its generic Oseltamivir Phosphate capsules used for treatment of influenza in the U.S. markets. The company said in a BSE filing that it has launched its tablets after receiving the approval from the FDA. The capsules, in the strengths of 30 mg, 45 mg and 75 mg, are generic versions of Roche's Tamiflu capsules in the same strengths, it added
SK Chemicals licenses flu vaccine technology to Sanofi Pasteur for US$155 mln
SK Chemicals has signed a US$155 million deal to license cell culture technology to Sanofi Pasteur for development of a universal influenza vaccine. "We're pleased to license this innovative technology today, as it brings us a step forward in the development of a future broadly-protective influenza vaccine, a key priority for Sanofi Pasteur," said David Loew, CEO of Sanofi Pasteur.
Is This Experimental Japanese Drug the Secret to Stopping the Flu?
Shionogi says it has an experimental pill that can kill the flu virus within a single day. Japanese drug regulators could approve the drug for use in Japan by early March, the WSJ reported. The drugmaker plans to apply for approval in the U.S. this summer; however, the drug likely wouldn't be available there until next year.
To fill flu vaccine shortage, Hong Kong officials consider doses meant for southern hemisphere
Hong Kong health officials could introduce flu vaccines intended for the southern hemisphere in light of the city’s flu vaccine shortage this year, with private doctors saying they had no more of the immunity-fighting substance for their patients. The possibility arose after the Department of Health already bought 44,000 extra doses of flu vaccines for a government scheme over the past three weeks. However, the shortage in the private medical sector has yet to be relieved. Sanofi Pasteur would deliver 24,000 doses to the city in mid or late March to the private market only.
ND doctors avoiding Tamiflu for flu patients
North Dakota doctors say that only kids under two and adults over 65 should get Tamiflu. Even then, only if the need is truly there. Dr. Vanessa Nelson with Sanford Health says they only prescribe the medicine if the person has other preexisting conditions. Nelson added the flu shot is the best way to prevent getting the flu.
Four-strain vaccine for NZ in 2018
The influenza vaccine used in New Zealand this year will include protection against infection with four strains of the virus. This will be the first time a four-strain vaccine will be funded in New Zealand. PHARMAC will fund two quadrivalent vaccines, supplied by Mylan, from 1 March 2018. Influvac Tetra will be funded for eligible people aged 3 years and over. Fluarix Tetra will be funded for eligible children aged 6 to 35 months.
Mother-of-two teacher, 38, dies of flu after forgoing $116 medication, telling her husband it "cost too much"
In the U.S., a mother-of-two, 38, died from complications stemming from the flu after deciding the medication to treat the virus was too expensive. In order to treat her ailment, doctors prescribed her Tamiflu. However, she thought it 'cost too much' according to her husband, who eventually bought his wife the medication when her symptoms did not ease up.
Scientists inch closer to universal flu vaccine as virus wreaks havoc on North America
Studies suggest that one of the most promising routes to achieve a universal flu vaccine is to create a vaccine that targets the “stalk” of the protein that covers the flu virus. A study by University of Rochester Medical Center in conjunction with researchers around the world noted that the stalk too can change, though this strategy would provide protection for a longer period of time. To eventually achieve universal protection, however, countries need to prioritize research on the issue. Several parties, including the U.S. National Institute of Health, global non-profits such as PATH and pharmaceutical companies are currently funding clinical trials for universal flu vaccines.
Cuomo Wants To Make Pharmacist Flu Shots For Children Permanent
NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a 30-day budget amendment that will encourage pharmacies to enroll in the New York State Vaccines for Children Program, which provides free vaccines for children and others who cannot pay for them. The amendment would also codify the executive order that Cuomo signed this year allow pharmacists to administer vaccines to children between the ages of 2 and 18, hopefully making vaccines easier and more convenient for people to get.
Could Flu Be Causing Hives?
Following the recent Facebook post of a mother whose son experienced hives soon before being diagnosed with the flu, health experts are answering questions on whether the virus may have caused the child’s rash.
Health Department: 5-Year-Old Brooklyn Girl Died Of The Flu
New York City’s health department confirmed Monday that a 5-year-old girl from Brooklyn died of the flu over the weekend. She is the fourth child to die from the virus in the city this season. The Department of Health has not confirmed if the child was vaccinated.
No News Recorded
With Flu Getting Worse, Klobuchar Calling For More Vaccine Research
In the U.S., the current flu vaccine is reportedly only 10 to 60 percent effective. Senator Amy Klobuchar wants to change that through a bill named the Flu Vaccine Act, which would call for more research on a better vaccine at the National Institute of Health. “Funding research to improve flu vaccinations is critical in keeping our society healthy. We need to get to a point where the viruses have to work to keep up with us,” said Dr. Kevin Nelson
Flu vaccines 50 percent effective
In Hong Kong, flu vaccines have been at least 50 percent effective in the winter flu season, the Centre for Health Protection said. The government will look into the feasibility of ordering flu vaccines from the southern hemisphere amid a citywide shortage. The latest figures collected from private clinics showed that the flu vaccines have been 40 percent effective this season, whereas the effectiveness in preventing influenza-associated hospitalization among children has been over 60 percent.
No increased flu shot demand, despite influenza-related deaths
The talk surrounding influenza has gone up after two children died of it recently in Guelph. But according to one public health official, the demand for the flu shot hasn’t increased.
Flu Shots Available at Rite Aid as Severe Flu Season Continues
In the U.S., in response to a flu season that health experts are calling one of the most severe in the past decade, Rite Aid is making sure its pharmacies are stocked with flu shots. The effort comes as the CDC reported on Friday the highest rate of influenza-like illnesses since 2009
Double-Whammied By Influenza
With H3N2 still raging - and influenza B on the ascendant - during the CDC Flu briefing a question was asked about dual, or co-infection, with both influenza A and Influenza B viruses. A lot of people end up co-infected with a variety of influenza and non-influenza viruses. Luckily, influenza A and B are not known to reassort - nor do influenza and non-influenza viruses - taking at least one bad outcome off the table.
Almost 26,000 people fall ill with flu and acute respiratory infection in Kyiv over past week
Over the sixth week of 2018, 25,831 people fell ill with flu and acute respiratory infection in the city of Kyiv. The epidemic threshold has not been exceeded.
Flu refuses to wane, has now killed 66 in Georgia
Georgia’s flu-related death toll this season now stands at 66, with two confirmed child deaths, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. The agency total means that 15 more deaths in the state were confirmed during the week of Jan. 28 through Feb. 3, the latest for which figures are available. Nationally, 10 more flu-related deaths were reported in children as of that week, bringing the total number of kids who have died of flu-related causes to 63 for the season
State: 6 die of flu, record 995 cases in week
Six Delawareans died of the flu in one week, and 995 flu cases were confirmed in the same seven days, making it Delaware's highest weekly total, state health officials said. The flu season has yet to peak, they warned. More flu-related deaths have probably already occurred but the state doesn't yet know it because of the time it takes hospitals to alert the state, said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Division of Public Health during a press conference on Monday.
Twenty-eight flu-related deaths reported in New Mexico
Officials with the New Mexico Department of Health report the number of flu-related illnesses and deaths continue to increase across New Mexico. Twenty-eight flu-related deaths and 100 pneumonia-related deaths in adults were reported to date in the 2017-2018 flu season. Flu-related hospitalizations, especially in those aged 65 and older, continue to steadily increase.
Flu virus has killed thousands in just one week with the death toll set to rise and Tamiflu shortages being reported across the country
In the U.S., CDC statistics show 4,064 Americans died from the flu or pneumonia during the third week of the new year, while the illnesses were responsible for 1 in 10 fatalities in the first week of February. The flu scare has also left pharmacies running low on Tamiflu. Several states have seen a drastic increase in prescription volume.
CDC: 14% of all Texas deaths related to flu
According to the most recent CDC report for the last week of January, ten percent of all deaths in the U.S. were related to the flu. The number was even higher in Texas, with 14 percent of the deaths during that period being flu-related. Experts still recommend getting the flu vaccine to reduce the chances of hospitalization or death due to the virus.
Fifteen flu deaths likely just the tip of the iceberg, health officials say
At least 15 people have died from the flu in Ottawa this winter, but public health officials say that is likely just a fraction of the actual number. Given changes to the way flu is being tracked and reported in the province this year, more timely numbers are not available. One of the aims of the system is to help prepare for a flu pandemic. But the information available is as much as six weeks out of date, which makes it less useful as a preventive tool.
Iran culls 25mn heads of poultry amid bird flu fears
Iranian officials culled 25 million heads of poultry following the recent appearance of fresh bird flu cases, the Iranian Labor News Agency reported. Nasir Nebipur, head of the Tehran Chicken and Egg Association, said a whopping 40 percent of the nation’s poultry had been slaughtered due to bird flu fears.
UK: H5N6 Detection In Wild Birds - Week 5
Although the British press has been writing extensively about suspected bird flu among the `Queen's swans' at Windsor, there has been considerably more H5N6 detected across the UK since the start of 2018. APHA (Animal & Plant Health Agency) - an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Welsh Government and The Scottish Government - published an updated list
Saudi- Environment Ministry Announces One Case of H5N8 Avian Flu in Kharj Governorate
In Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture announced that one case of H5N8 avian flu had been recorded in Kharj Governorate in the previous 24 hours. The ministry said that the number of samples collected since the beginning of the spread of the disease reached 7,106 in the Kingdom's regions. The results disclosed that 125 of these samples tested positive.