FLU NEWS SCAN: CDC flu vaccine advice, antiviral drug effectiveness, intradermal H5N1 vaccine, H5N1 outbreaks in Vietnam

Aug 16, 2012

CDC renews its call for flu shots for everyone older than 6 months
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today published its official recommendations on influenza vaccination for the 2012-13 flu season, renewing its advice that everyone at least 6 months old should be immunized, an advisory it first issued in 2010. The recommendations, prepared by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), were published in the Aug 17 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), released today. The document includes a minor adjustment in the recommendation on dosing for children aged 6 months through 8 years: that those who have received two or more doses of seasonal flu vaccine since Jul 1, 2010, need just one dose for this season, but the rest need two doses. Among other things, the document includes recommendations about flu vaccination for people with a history of egg allergy. It also notes that a quadrivalent flu vaccine made by MedImmune, containing two influenza B strains to cover both B lineages, was approved in February but is not expected to be available until the 2013-14 season.
Aug 17 MMWR article
Jun 20 CIDRAP News story on ACIP recommendations

Study: Antiviral drugs effective in pandemic, post-pandemic flu periods
Although clinical symptoms in those infected with pandemic 2009 H1N1 flu (pH1N1) in Japan in 2010-11 were slightly more severe and peak body temperature was significantly higher in young patients than during the previous year's pandemic, the effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs) like oseltamivir (Tamiflu) remained high, according to a study today in Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses. Researchers analyzed clinical symptoms and fever data after the first dose of an NI for 365 patients with pH1N1 in 2009-10 and 388 patients who had either pH1N1, H3N2, or influenza B in 2010-11. They found that peak body temperature were significantly higher for pH1N1 patients younger than 20 years in 2010-11 compared with 2009-10. In addition, the percentage of pH1N1 patients with loss of appetite or fatigue was significantly higher in the later season. The team found the percentage of patients without fever after 48 hours of NI treatment was significantly higher for pH1N1 than for the other two strains, but overall NI effectiveness remained high in both seasons and for all strains.
Aug 16 Influenza Other Respi Viruses abstract

FDA approves trial of intradermal H5N1 vaccine with adjuvant
The US Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for a phase 1 trial of an intradermal H5N1 flu vaccine containing an adjuvant, which will be the first clinical test of such a product, according to the vaccine's developers. The announcement was made today by the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI), a Seattle-based nonprofit group, and Medicago, a Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company. The organizations said the testing could lead to a vaccine that could be self-administered in the event of a flu pandemic. "Our idea is to ultimately produce a one-dose vaccine that you could give yourself—imagine a flu vaccine that you can easily administer using a simple, painless microneedle device arriving in your mailbox," said Darrick Carter, PhD, vice president of IDRI's Adjuvant Technology Program. The vaccine combines a virus-like particle antigen made by Medicago with IDRI's Glucopyranosyl Lipid A (GLA) adjuvant. Plans for the trial call for enrolling 100 adults, who will receive the vaccine either intradermally or intramuscularly. The research is funded by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Aug 16 IDRI-Medicago press release

Vietnam reports six H5N1 outbreaks
Vietnam has confirmed six new outbreaks of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian flu in village poultry flocks, leading to the culling of more than 7,000 birds, according to a report filed with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) yesterday. Dates of outbreak onset varied from Jul 26 to Aug 11, and all the affected villages are in Nam Dinh province in the northern part of the country. Susceptible flocks ranged from 100 to 3,612 birds, and a total of 7,702 poultry were destroyed to prevent disease spread. The report did not specify how many birds were infected or died from the disease.
Aug 15 OIE report

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