Flu Scan for Sep 26, 2017

Avian flu in Europe
VLP flu vaccine trial

New avian flu outbreaks reported in France, Switzerland

In the latest avian flu developments, France reported a low-pathogenic H5N3 outbreak at a turkey farm and Switzerland detected highly pathogenic H5N8 in a pair of wild swans, according to new notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

France's outbreak began on Sep 14 when clinical signs were noted at a turkey breeding farm in Maine-et-Loire department in the west central part of the country. The virus killed 6 of 8,500 susceptible birds, and the remaining ones are slated for culling. Authorities have also placed protection and surveillance zones around the farm.

The country has reported several H5N3 outbreaks since late 2015, with the last event involving the strain reported in June.

Swiss officials, meanwhile, detected highly pathogenic H5N8 in two mute swans found dead on Sep 12 near Lake Leman in Valais department in the country's southwest.
Sep 26 OIE report on low-pathogenic H5N3 in France
Sep 22 OIE report on highly pathogenic H5N8 in Switzerland


Plant-based VLP flu vaccine reaches phase 3 clinical trials

A plant-based quadrivalent (four-strain) flu vaccine has entered phase 3 clinical trials, according to Medicago, a Canadian-based pharmaceutical company. The virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine is called Medicago QIV candidate.

According to a press release today, the trial is currently taking place with 10,000 subjects in seven countries (Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Thailand, and the Philippines), and will determine the efficacy of the vaccine.

Unlike egg-based flu vaccines, which take 6 months to develop, plant-based products can be manufactured in 5 to 6 weeks, making them appropriate for seasonal flu, Medicago said. The company added that the results of a phase 2 study showed that antibody and cell-mediated immune responses to QIV were higher than those of a comparator vaccine.

"We are excited to demonstrate the efficacy of the VLP vaccine during a large-scale field trial and prove the benefits of the unique immune response induced by this innovative product," said Nathalie Landry, Medicago's executive vice [resident of scientific and medical affairs."
Sep 26 Medicago
press release   

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