Flu Scan for Jul 21, 2015

H5N1 in China's wild birds
CSL-Novartis flu vaccine deal

Large flock of gulls killed by H5N1 on China's Qinghai Lake

China's Animal Disease Control Centre has confirmed H5N1 avian flu as the culprit in a die-off of more than 2,000 gulls at Qinghai Lake, a major migratory bird stopover site that has recorded large avian flu outbreaks in previous years, according to a report yesterday from the World Organization of Animal Health (OIE).

A total of 2,361 great black-headed gulls succumbed to the disease, animal officials reported. Testing on samples at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute came back positive for H5N1 on Jul 17.

Measures such as disinfection and control of wildlife reservoirs have been implemented, the report stated, and the country's Ministry of Agriculture will issue weekly follow-up reports.

The first H5N1 outbreak at Qinghai Lake was reported in May 2005 and was described at the time as the first H5N1 event to kill many wild birds. The outbreak was later seen as a factor in helping to spread the virus to a number of other countries, such as Russia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia.
Jul 20 OIE report
Related Jul 6, 2005,
CIDRAP News story
Related Jan 5, 2006,
CIDRAP News story


CSL wins European approval to buy Novartis flu vaccine business

Australia-based CSL Ltd. has won European approval to buy the influenza vaccine business of Swiss-based Novartis, moving it closer to completing the acquisition plan announced last fall, according to media reports.

The European Commission approved the deal after concluding that it would not hurt competition, according to a story today from PharmExec.com. The story said the commission determined that the market share of CSL will remain moderate and that strong competitors will remain active in the market after the merger.

A story yesterday in the Australian Business Review said CSL is expected to complete its $275 million deal with Novartis by the end of this year. The acquisition is expected to make CSL the second-leading company in the $4 billion global flu vaccine market, the story noted.

Included in the deal is Novartis's recently built cell-based vaccine facility in Holly Springs, N.C., constructed with the help of $487 million from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The plant is the first of its kind for flu vaccines in the United States.
Jul 21 PharmExec story
Jul 20 Australian Business Review story (behind paywall)
Related Oct 27, 2014, CIDRAP News story

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