India approves pandemic vaccine
The pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila announced today it has gained approval from the drug controller general of India to become the first India-based firm to market a pandemic H1N1 vaccine in the country. The vaccine, VaxiFlu-S, will be marketed by Vaxxicare, part of a division of the company that focuses on preventives.
May 13 Business Today report
Study finds side effects with mass antiviral 'blanket'
Last June when pandemic H1N1 struck 17% of students and staff at a UK elementary school, 92% of students and 91% of staff received the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for treatment and prevention. Of those, 41% (113/273) of students and 47% (25/53) of staff reported adverse effects. Overall, 14% of students and 20% of staff did not complete the course of oseltamivir, primarily due to adverse effects. The authors say potential benefits of mass treatment must outweigh possible side effects.
May 13 Eurosurveillance study
Netherlands cancels third of its GSK vaccine order
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to cut 33% of its order of H1N1 vaccine from the Netherlands, saving the country 21 million euros, Reuters reported. The Dutch government said in March it wanted to sell 21 million unused vaccine doses back to drug firms. The original Dutch order was 34 million doses, 11 million of which were administered and 257,000 sold to other countries. GSK cut its Dutch order from 9 million to 6 million doses. A second supplier, Novartis, has not reduced its order.
May 12 Reuters article
Virus-like-particle vaccine shows promise
A recombinant pandemic H1N1 virus-like-particle flu vaccine made by Rockville, Md.-based Novavax protected ferrets against the disease in a study published in Vaccine. The vaccine induced a good antibody response in the animals and inhibited viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract. A single 15-microgram dose resulted in complete clearance of the virus from the lungs. Ferrets are known to be good animal models for flu in humans.
May 12 Vaccine abstract