News Scan for Sep 27, 2013

H7N9 vaccine strain selection
Vaccine research funding
Tdap vaccine shortage

WHO selects strain for H7N9 vaccine development

The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday recommended a specific H7N9 influenza strain for vaccine development, saying it "elicits antibodies that react well with all viruses tested."

In a statement, the WHO said it has selected an A/Anhui/1/2013-like virus for the development of H7N9 vaccines for pandemic preparedness. It notes that A/Shanghai/2/2013 is an A/Anhui/1/2013-like virus.

The agency said hemagglutinin sequences of 123 H7N9 flu viruses (54 from 44 human case-patients and 69 from bird or environmental samples) have been deposited in genetic sequence databases. Antigenic analysis of 45 of those viruses using post-infection ferret antisera showed the good antibody response with the Anhui strain, the WHO said.

The candidate vaccine virus and other H7N9 strains are being shared under the WHO's Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Framework, the agency said.
Sep 26 WHO statement


NIAID awards up $945 million for vaccine, other research

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) has awarded nine institutions up to $945 million for conducting trials of promising candidate vaccines and infectious disease therapies, the agency said in a news release yesterday.

The institutions are known collectively as Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs), and this year the NIAID expanded the network from eight units to nine with the inclusion of a group from Duke Medicine. Each institution may receive up to an estimated $135 million annually over 7 years, the NIAID said.

"The VTEUs have been an invaluable resource for testing important vaccines and treatments against deadly emerging infectious disease threats," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD.

"Through these new awards, we are increasing the network's capacity to study infectious diseases where they are endemic," he said. "This will allow us to learn more about the origin and evolution of emerging diseases and also improve the evaluation of diagnostics along with potential vaccines and treatments."

The groups receiving awards are Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center; Duke Medicine, Durham, N.C.; Emory University, Atlanta; Group Health Research Institute, Seattle; Saint Louis University; University of Iowa, Iowa City; University of Maryland, Baltimore; and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
Sep 26 NIAID press release


Illinois schools grapple with Tdap shortage

A temporary shortage of tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine had prompted Illinois schools to address how they handle compliance with student vaccine requirements.

In a Sep 23 letter to districts and school nurses, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) said it can't waive the requirement but said it set certain conditions, such as a note in the student's record explaining that vaccination is delayed because of the shortage and an appointment record detailing when the student will receive it.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a Sep 11 update that Sanofi Pasteur's pertussis-containing vaccines will be in short supply from the middle of August through the middle of October due to delays in the release of new vaccine lots. The delay results from testing that found a filling line problem.

The CDC added that GlaxoSmithKline has taken steps to help meet the demand for pertussis-containing vaccines. However, because of increasing demand for Tdap, some backorders and delivery delays could occur, but the company expects them to be brief.
Sep 23 ISBE letter
CDC vaccine shortage update

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