"Seqirus Media Monitoring" 15th Feb 2018

Seqirus mentions
CSL a 'quiet performer' and is in rude health
CSL continues to surprise on the upside, with a 34 per cent jump in half-year profit, as chief Paul Perreault described the company a “quiet performer”. Mr Perreault outlined in the results that Seqirus had continued to progress as planned. “There was a lot of scepticism of whether we could meet the strategy when we took over the business a couple of years ago and the team has been executing well.” Seqirus recorded a 43 per cent increase in sales of the seasonal influenza vaccine, as a busy flu scene making headlines in Britain, the US and Australia because of the strong strain of the virus.
News of Note—CSL’s flu vaccine sales, Inovio and more
Among vaccine news of note this week: sales of CSL’s Flucelvax quadrivalent flu vaccine were up 43% for the six months leading up to December. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., said his agency is working with the CDC to understand why protection offered by this year’s flu vaccine is less than optimal.
Pharmaceutical company CSL Ltd is right on track
CSL Limited, the Australian parent company of CSL Behring, increased earnings by more than 30 percent in 2017. There was also news locally that the construction of the new factory in Lengnau is in full swing. Susanne Jecklin, who was recently confirmed as site manager of the Lengnau plant, sees the construction progress as being right on schedule: "The facade work on all buildings was completed last December. Soon the utilities will be completed too and all work related to the electrical installations will begin.
Time for tax certainty, says CSL chief
CSL's Paul Perreault has called on the Turnbull government to give scientists greater support and maintain tax incentives for companies investing in R&D if it truly wants to make Australia more innovative. CSL reported its half-year net profit rose 34.9 per cent to $US1.09 billion ($1.39 billion). Mr Perreault said the strong results in the flu vaccine division were driven by its four-strain flu vaccine product which had been in high demand with consumers in the northern hemisphere.
Australia’s largest biotechnology company leading in innovation
CSL CEO Doctor Paul Perreault talks about the importance of innovation in the biotechnology business. He also mentions the company results and the success of the vaccine business Seqirus
Pandemic Influenza News
Hong Kong on alert after China confirms world’s first human case of H7N4 bird flu
Mainland China has confirmed the world’s first human case of a virulent bird flu strain, prompting Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection to issue an alert for the city. The centre said health authorities confirmed this month that a 68-year-old woman in Jiangsu province had been infected with H7N4 avian influenza after developing symptoms on December 25.
Taiwan CDC urges travelers visiting avian influenza affected areas in China to practice “5 do"s and 6 don'ts”
Taiwan Centers for Disease Control Wednesday advised travelers visiting China during the week-long Lunar New Year holiday to practice good personal hygiene to ward off avian influenza infection. This season, a cumulative total of three H7N9 cases, including one death, have been respectively confirmed in Yunnan Province, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Guangdong Province, China
News Scan for Feb 14, 2018
China has reported the world's first known novel H7N4 avian flu infection in a human, according to a report from Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection. Flu vaccination offers similar effectiveness for younger and older adults, but protection was very low for both groups against the problematic H3N2 strain, researchers from the CDC and several institutions that are part of a surveillance network team that analyzes flu vaccine effectiveness reported
3 ways the U.S. should prepare for the next flu pandemic
Despite progress, the U.S. is still not as prepared as it should be against a pandemic. Researchers need to improve the flu vaccine, but the federal government has only allocated US$75 million this year toward flu vaccine research. This is not nearly enough. Public health officials also need more and better information about influenza outbreaks. Finally, government officials and other members of the health community need to pay more attention to plans for public health emergency preparedness.
No cases of human infection with H5N6 bird flu reported in Iran
A senior official at Iran’s Health Ministry said no cases of human infection with the H5N6 form of bird flu have been recorded in the country, APA reported citing Tasnim news agency. He added that all of the people who had contacts with the wild birds infected with H5N6 have been vaccinated.
Industry News
Quidel QuickVue Flu Test Clears FDA as Class II RIDT
Quidel announced that its test to detect and differentiate influenza types A and B has met the U.S. FDA's criteria to be reclassified as a class II rapid influenza diagnostic test and that the test has received 510(k) clearance. The QuickVue Influenza A+B assa allows for qualitative, 10-minute detection of influenza A and B antigens directly from symptomatic patients' nasal or nasopharyngeal swabs
Here's why it's so hard to make a better flu vaccine
In the U.S., the CDC plans to release preliminary data about how well the flu vaccine has been working this year. It doesn’t look good. A Canadian study showed only about 17 percent protection against H3N2, the most common strain this year, and 50 to 60 percent protection against the H1N1 and influenza B strains. That’s why teams of scientists are working on a universal flu vaccine.
Sanofi looks to cell culture tech for universal flu vaccine
Sanofi Pasteur has licensed SK Chemicals' mammalian cell culture platform for vaccine production in a deal worth up to $155m (€126m). Sanofi is exploring several innovative flu vaccine technologies, including a universal flu vaccine
Flu sufferers worried about steep price of Tamiflu
In the Las Vegas area, with more and more cases of flu around the valley, many are worried about the steep cost of Tamiflu. Even with insurance, the drug can still cost around $100, on top the the cost of a doctors visit for a prescription. Dr. Wachs also recommends Relenza, a drug that's inhaled but works the same as Tamiflu, and usually costs less.
Tamiflu Shortage Across Northwest Arkansas
Pharmacies across Northwest Arkansas are experiencing a shortage of Tamiflu. Without insurance, the generic version costs around $115 dollars. The name brand costs around $170. Dr. Graham says there are currently only two manufacturers making the generic liquid and since they can't keep up with demand, local pharmacies can't either.
Flu warfare may look different next year
New ways of preventing and treating the flu are on the horizon. Among them, Shionogi's experimental drug baloxavir marboxil which reduced influenza viral load to undetectable levels -- killed the virus -- within 24 hours for more than half of the 414 participants in a study. Another weapon in the armature of flu warriors may be pimodivir, an experimental drug discovered by Vertex and in development at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Pimodivir works by targeting and inhibiting part of the virus replication process. Its mode of action is unlike that of existing antiviral drugs, so its makers say the drug may treat influenza A virus infections that have developed resistance to existing drugs.
Austin Regional Clinic studying anti-flu drug in high-risk patients
Austin Regional Clinic has been studying a new drug to fight the flu. The drug from Shionogi is known as baloxavir marboxil, and would be an alternative to Tamiflu. It already has been studied in otherwise healthy people with the flu, and showed promise for its rapid reduction of symptoms. This new phase is testing the anti-viral medication in people who are considered high risk.
Puerto Rican Boy Suffered from Negative Side Effects After Taking Generic Tamiflu
A Puerto Rican mother announced that her child suffered from psychosis after taking antiviral medication: an adverse reaction from Oseltamivir. She attributed hallucinations and delusions in her son to medicine that he was prescribed for the treatment of the influenza virus. An ER doctor explained the child had an adverse reaction to Oseltamivir and that he should discontinue its use immediately.
Academic studies
Influenza vaccine effectiveness in older adults compared with younger adults over five seasons
Flu vaccination offers similar effectiveness for younger and older adults, but protection was very low for both groups against the problematic H3N2 strain, researchers from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several institutions that are part of a surveillance network team that analyzes flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) reported
Meet RIPK3: a biological weapon to combat the flu
Scientists from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and McGill University, have found a protein that could soon help limit the effect of the flu season and turn into a basic player in the battle against lung infections. The discovery of the RIPK3 protein that is involved in the regulation of immune response to the flu means help may be on the horizon.
Pediatric influenza news
A 3-Year-Old Indiana Girl Who Was Not Vaccinated Died From the Flu This Week
A three-year-old Indiana girl who died from the flu Monday was not vaccinated, according to local news outlets. Alivia Viellieux, passed away in her sleep at her Muncie, Indiana home after being discharged from Ball Memorial Hospital last Thursday. Her family says they were advised not to give their daughter the flu shot. So far, 167 flu deaths and three school-wide outbreaks have been reported in Indiana this flu season
Alternative measures necessary to protect children with cancer against influenza
Additional steps are necessary to protect children with leukemia against influenza, as these patients were found to be just as likely as unvaccinated children to develop the virus. “The results reinforce the importance of hand washing and other measures to help protect vulnerable patients from influenza infections,” Elisabeth E. Adderson, MD, associate member of the department of infectious diseases at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, and colleagues wrote.
Wegmans to provide influenza vaccine to kids as young as 5
Following an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York to increase the availability of the influenza vaccine, Wegmans says it is offering flu vaccination to children aged 5 years and older. Under Cuomo's order, pharmacists authorized to administer vaccines to adults in the state can administer them to anyone aged 2 years and older. A Wegmans spokesperson noted the store's pharmacies has vaccine in stock approved for ages 5 years and older.
Influenza taking heavy toll on children in Canada
Influenza is taking a higher-than-usual toll on children in Canada so far this flu season, with the virus sending an above-average number to hospital and killing at least eight, including a boy and girl who attended the same Guelph, Ont., school. Infectious disease experts say the increased flu level among children is likely due to the early arrival of a strain that can be harder on the young, and there is no reason to believe the 2017-2018 flu season will prove to be worse over all than other non-pandemic seasons in the past decade.
Study of Flu-Related Deaths in Children Shows Healthy Children at Risk
A CDC study published in the journal Pediatrics shows just how vulnerable U.S. children are to the flu each year. The study, titled “Influenza-Associated Pediatric Deaths in the United States, 2010-2016,” analyzed reported flu-related deaths in children younger than 18 over the course of six flu seasons from October 2010 through September 2016. Results showed that half of flu-related deaths occurred in otherwise healthy children, 22% of whom were fully vaccinated
Over 65’s influenza news
18 flu-related deaths in Ottawa this season, officials say
There have been 18 deaths from a total of 515 laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu this season in Ottawa, but officials say the real number could be much higher. The deaths include 17 seniors over 70 and one younger adult, according to public health officials, who say that is "just the tip of the iceberg." "Not everyone gets tested for flu. So, yes, there could be more deaths...so we would expect there are more deaths out there where flu is likely a contributing factor," said Dr. Geneviève Cadieux, Ottawa's associate officer of health.
General Influenza News
Studies: Next major outbreak could bring high US job loss
The next large-scale infectious disease outbreak would not just be a public health crisis but also an economic crisis for the United States, in the shape of jobs lost and a draining of the export economy—even if it were to happen halfway around the world—according to two studies from the CDC
Acting CDC director Anne Schuchat good match for flu season
When Dr. Anne Schuchat stepped back in as acting director of the U.S. CDC this month, few stories referenced her background in-depth. It was perhaps not needed. Schuchat is a career CDC leader, and has been acting deputy director since 2015. Her expertise was clearly visible in the last two weekly conference calls with reporters on the 2017-2018 influenza season.
Thousands rush to get flu shot after 2 children died in Guelph
In Canada, thousands of people in the Guelph area have rushed to flu clinics to get their flu shot after two children died from the flu last week. Chuck Ferguson, a spokesman for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health told CBC News there has "definitely been a spike" in visits to get a flu shot since officials confirmed two children died from flu-related illnesses on Friday, Feb. 9.
Health Department to continue no cost flu shots while supplies last
Due to widespread flu activity remaining throughout Louisiana, the Louisiana Department of Health will continue to offer flu vaccines at no cost at Parish Health Units across the state while supplies last. The vaccine is available to anyone who has not yet received a vaccine this flu season.
Trump's been silent on the flu epidemic, despite the spike in cases
There’s an epidemic underway in the U.S. about which Trump hasn’t said anything: the flu. Flu hospitalizations have been much higher this season than is usually the case. The flu vaccine is not perfect, and this year’s vaccine has proven less effective than those in other years, but vaccination is still a simple way to reduce infection or the duration of illness. Trump hasn’t promoted the flu vaccine, either through his personal Twitter account, the White House account or the @POTUS account.
The First Flu You Ever Had Is Secretly Shaping How You Respond to Infections
The year you were born might predict how you’ll respond to this year’s flu—and how well you’d fair in a flu pandemic. Imprinting might be responsible for an unusual pattern in the ages of people going to the hospital with the flu. Specifically, the first flu virus a person catches shapes their immune response to other strains encountered later in life.
Trump could help curb a potential pandemic. Instead, he has been silent
The 2018 flu outbreak is on track to rival the swine flu epidemic of 2009, which made 60 million Americans sick, hospitalized more than a quarter of a million and killed more than 12,000. Our best defense against a pandemic reaching our shores is an investment in global health security: stopping diseases overseas. But the Trump administration has undertaken a stunning reversal of 16 years of progress
These patches could be new way to deliver flu vaccine
Researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University are working together on a new way to deliver the flu vaccine using microneedles on a patch the size of a small, round Band-Aid. The first human study took place at Emory University's Hope Clinic, with 100 people, and the results were promising. More clinical trials, funded by a grant from the NIH, are necessary before the patch can gain approval from the FDA
Michigan anti-vaccination case due back in court for motion hearing
In the U.S., a controversial vaccination case continued in Oakland County Circuit Court and several motions were resolved in judge's chambers. Lori Matheson is fighting her ex-husband Michael Schmitt for the right to decide if their 2-year-old daughter should be vaccinated. Matheson does not want her child to get vaccines. She said autoimmune disease runs in her family and she believes vaccines lead to autism.
Public Health Experts Look Ahead to Better Flu Control
Vaccine effectiveness numbers for this year's flu season have yet to be released, but experts are already looking at flaws in the vaccination process, and how improvements can be made. "We've become a little bit used to the idea that the flu vaccine is not a great vaccine," Marc Lipsitch, DPhil, professor of epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, said during a forum. The medical community faces significant challenges in upcoming flu seasons, according to the expert panel at the forum. Despite potential cuts to CDC funding, they said they hope for increases in vaccine development and influenza research.
Burden of disease
Number of flu cases in each county, as NJ explodes past last season total even before peak
New Jersey’s flu season has yet to peak as officials have confirmed an additional 3,600 new flu cases in the past week and the second flu-related pediatric death in the state this season. Following the 6-year-old girl’s death, health officials reminded the public that they should get a flu shot, despite its poor performance this season against the H3N2 virus
Influenza B Making a Surge in the United States
While influenza A viruses, particularly H3N2, have caused the majority of illnesses in the severe flu season of 2017-2018, health officials are reporting a nationwide rise in influenza B viruses, which can lead to some catching the flu twice in the same season
Flu Deaths Reach New High In San Diego County
In the U.S., another 20 people in San Diego County died from the flu last week, bringing the total number of deaths this season to 251, health officials said. "Influenza activity continues to be widespread and, unfortunately, more people are dying from the flu," said Wilma Wooten, the county public health officer. "People should continue getting vaccinated and taking other preventive measures to prevent getting sick."
Flu cases continue to rise in state
The New Mexico Department of Health reports the number of flu-related illnesses and deaths continue to increase across New Mexico. NMDOH reports 28 flu-related deaths and 100 pneumonia related deaths in adults so far in the 2017-2018 flu season. Flu-related hospitalizations, especially in those aged 65 and older, continue to steadily increase. “We encourage New Mexicans to continue to take simple precautions, such as washing your hands regularly and staying home when sick, to avoid the spread of the flu and if you haven’t already, get your flu shot,” said Dr. Michael Landen, New Mexico State Epidemiologist.
Influenza activity remains high in northern hemisphere: WHO
Influenza activity remains high in the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, with a few countries reaching levels exceeding those of previous years, the World Health Organization warned, adding that the best prevention remains vaccination.
Over 180 patients test positive for swine flu in twin cities
In Pakistan, as many as 180 patients in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have so far tested positive for influenza virus (swine flu) while at least two patients had reportedly died from the virus. Influenza patients are also facing problems owing to a shortage of relevant medicine in the market.
Flu Fears Spread in China Ahead of Lunar New Year Holiday
Chinese health authorities said the worst influenza season in recent years was straining the country’s resources and some experts warned that the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of Chinese go on the road, could make things worse. Mr. Feng, of China CDC, said the government needs to step up efforts to administer flu shots, especially to the elderly, pregnant women and children. One of the reasons for China’s low coverage is that the shots aren’t among government-provided vaccines and must be paid for out of pocket
Unusually harsh flu season — blamed for 130 deaths in Canada — now at 'peak levels'
The flu is at “peak levels” across Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. There are signs the numbers are levelling after an unusually harsh flu season with increased deaths, a spike in children needing emergency medical care, and “widespread” infection throughout British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. Roughly half of the nearly 35,000 cases have been among senior citizens, but the proportion of children hospitalized is increasing, to well over 500 across Canada.
Flu Surveillance in Animals
Ghana reports severe bird flu on farm: OIE
Ghana has reported an outbreak of the highly pathogenic H9N2 bird flu virus on a farm in the southwest of the country, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Wednesday
Bird flu wipes out R954m, SA turns to imports
The South African Poultry Association confirmed that no new outbreaks had been reported on commercial farms since mid-January. However, farms affected have had to cull all birds and recall and destroy all eggs as part of measures to control the spread of the virus. Farms also had to shut down production for up to six months while they embarked on surveillance and cleaning.