Flu Scan for Jun 14, 2013

Preclinical results for Inovio H7N9 vaccine
H7N9-H3N2 coinfection in China

Inovio reports preclinical results for H7N9 vaccine

Inovio, a pharmaceutical company based in Blue Bell, Pa., today announced the first preclinical results from tests in mice on its candidate DNA vaccine against the H7N9 virus, according to a press release.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

The company said the mice received two intramuscular doses of vaccine 3 weeks apart followed by electroporation; they were tested from week 5. All 10 of the animals showed high antibody titers as measured by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) testing.

The company said researchers constructed the consensus DNA vaccine targeting the HA influenza antigen from sequences collected from several infected H7N9 patients as a way to provide broad protection against all H7N9 viruses. The vaccine was designed, optimized, and manufactured within 2 weeks, according to the release.

Inovio is the second company to report preclinical results for a candidate H7N9 vaccine.

On Jun 6, Medicago, based in Quebec City, announced promising findings for its VLP platform H7N9 vaccine.
Jun 14 Inovio press release
Jun 6 CIDRAP News scan "Chickens shed H7N9 virus in quantity; Medicago tests H7 vaccine"

H7N9-H3N2 coinfection reported in Chinese teen

Chinese researchers today reported a case of coinfection with H3N2 and H7N9 influenza in a 15-year-old boy from Jiangsu province who was sick in late April and quickly recovered. The team published a case report on their findings in today's issue of The Lancet.

The previously healthy student started having symptoms on Apr 25 and went to the hospital the next day when they worsened. Two throat swabs were taken, and rapid testing showed influenza A. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in Nanjing indicated influenza A, H7, and H3. Virus isolation yielded H7N9 and H3N2 viruses.

The H7N9 virus was highly similar to a Zhejiang strain, and the H3N2 virus was closely related to currently circulating seasonal H3N2 viruses, according to the report.

The boy was admitted to the hospital where he received osteltamivir (Tamiflu) treatment. He recovered on May 2.

Researchers wrote that dual infections are a potential source of reassortment between human and avian viral strains, which could raise the risk of human-to-human transmission.
Jun 15 Lancet abstract

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