News & Perspective

Jul 31, 2006

Jul 31, 2006

Hybrid avian-human flu virus didn't spread in lab study

(CIDRAP News) – In an experiment designed to mimic events that could launch an influenza pandemic, a synthetic influenza virus made by combining an H5N1 avian flu virus with a human flu virus turned out to be no more contagious in an animal model than the natural H5N1 virus, US scientists are reporting this week.

Jul 25, 2006

Jul 25, 2006

Roche criticized for marketing Tamiflu to businesses

(CIDRAP News) – Pharmaceutical maker Roche has drawn sharp criticism for promoting the sale of its antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to businesses while governments stockpiling the drug for defense against a possible flu pandemic wait to receive their own supplies, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Jul 21, 2006

Jul 21, 2006

HHS adds Relenza to state stockpile program

(CIDRAP News) – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday announced a contract with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that will allow states to add the influenza drug zanamivir (Relenza) to their federally subsidized antiviral stockpiles.

Jul 19, 2006

Jul 19, 2006

Broad health preparedness bill advances in Senate

(CIDRAP News) – A US Senate committee today approved a bill packed with a wide variety of provisions designed to improve the nation's ability to handle public health emergencies, including pandemic influenza.

Jul 19, 2006

Governors group issues pandemic planning guide for states

(CIDRAP News) – The role of state officials in an influenza pandemic has been hazy, but the focus became clearer yesterday when the National Governors Association (NGA) released a guide that spells out key planning issues for top state officials.

Jul 18, 2006

Jul 18, 2006

Novartis to build US cell-based flu vaccine plant

(CIDRAP News) – Novartis, the Swiss-based drug manufacturer, today announced plans to build what it says will be the first US plant to make cell-culture-based influenza vaccines.

The facility will be built in Holly Springs, N.C., at a total cost of about $600 million, the company said in a news release. It will be able to produce about 50 million doses of seasonal trivalent (three-strain) flu vaccine annually.

Jul 18, 2006

States slow to sign up for Tamiflu subsidy

(CIDRAP News) – The federal government on Jun 30 announced a subsidy to help states buy the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to build stockpiles in preparation for a potential influenza pandemic, but so far, few states have said they intend to use the program.

Jul 11, 2006

Jul 11, 2006

HHS to share $225 million for pandemic readiness

Editor's note: This story was expanded Jul 13 to include additional information on how the HHS funds can be used and when they will be awarded.

(CIDRAP News) – The federal government today announced plans to distribute $225 million to states for pandemic influenza preparedness, the second round of grants for that purpose this year.

Jul 05, 2006

Jul 05, 2006

HHS has enough H5N1 vaccine for 4 million people

(CIDRAP News) – In an update on pandemic influenza preparedness efforts, the federal government said last week it had stockpiled enough vaccine against H5N1 avian influenza virus to inoculate about 4 million people and enough antiviral medication to treat about 6.3 million.

Jul 03, 2006

Jul 03, 2006

Avian influenza patterns resemble 1918 pandemic, WHO study shows

(CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday published its first epidemiologic analysis of all laboratory-confirmed cases of H5N1 avian influenza reported to the agency between Dec 1, 2003, and Apr 30, 2006.

Though the quality, reliability, and format of the surveillance data varied by country, the WHO notes in its report that the conclusions are still useful for tracking disease patterns and planning future studies.

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