Flu Scan for Oct 10, 2018

Early data on universal flu vaccine
Avian flu outbreaks in 3 nations

Broadly protective flu vaccine shows promise in phase 1 trial

A phase 1 trial of a broadly protective flu vaccine shows promise in people, Fierce Pharma reported yesterday.

Results of the trial, involving 96 healthy adults were reported at IDWeek by scientists from FluGen, based in Madison, Wisc. The vaccine candidate, called RedeeFlu, was safe and well-tolerated and produced a strong immune response. The scientists said the vaccine produced T-cell responses and humoral and mucosal antibodies at significantly higher levels among those who got the vaccine versus those who received placebo shots.

"The strong safety and immunogenicity data we see in this study are consistent with a vaccine that could provide broad and durable protection against influenza," said Robert Belshe, MD, a lead author.

In animal studies, RedeeFlu demonstrated protection against flu strains mismatched to the vaccine strain,a result the company is hoping to replicate in people. Broadly protective, or "universal" flu vaccines could eliminate the need to get a flu vaccine each year and could protect against future pandemic flu strains.
Oct 9 Fierce Pharma story


High-path H5 avian flu confirmed in 3 countries

Three separate strains of highly pathogenic avian flu have caused poultry outbreaks in Bulgaria, Taiwan, and China, health officials reported.

Highly pathogenic H5N8 struck backyard poultry near Plovdiv, Bulgaria's second-largest city, according to an Oct 8 report from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The outbreak began on Oct 3. The virus killed 98 of 406 birds in the flock, and the remaining poultry were culled to help contain the outbreak.

Taiwan officials, meanwhile, confirmed H5N2 in an outbreak in Pingtung County in southern Taiwan after 60 ducks died, according to a separate OIE report. The site was disinfected, and poultry farms within 3 kilometers are now under heightened surveillance. Taiwan has been battling dozens of H5N2 outbreaks this year.

In China, authorities confirmed H5N6 avian flu in Hunan province, less than 2 weeks after an outbreak caused by the same strain in neighboring Guizhou province, according to an agriculture ministry statement translated yesterday by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease blog. Officials noted 385 deaths among 1,035 susceptible poultry and pigeons and have euthanized the surviving birds.
Oct 8 OIE report on Bulgaria
Oct 8 OIE report on Taiwan
Oct 9 AFD blog post

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