News Scan for Mar 24, 2020

International AMR research projects
4-strain flu vaccine for seniors
H5N8 avian flu in Germany

WHO to fund AMR research projects in 7 countries

The World Health Organization's (WHO's) Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) announced late last week that 13 projects from 7 countries have been awarded funding for research on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Countries that received the funding, awarded under the Small Grants Scheme for Implementation Research on AMR, include Colombia, Ecuador, Ghana, Myanmar, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and Uganda. The projects emphasize a One Health approach to AMR, looking at the human, animal, and environmental drivers of drug-resistant infections.

"As the drivers of antimicrobial resistance lie in human, animal and plant health; food and feed production; and the environment, there is a need for robust evidence to guide the implementation of effective interventions across the One Health spectrum," Haileyesus Getahun, MD, PhD, MPH, director of WHO’s Department of Global Coordination and Partnership on Antimicrobial Resistance, said in a TDR press release.

Among the funded projects are an investigation of resistance patterns in poultry production in Nepal, surveillance of healthcare-associated infections and resistance in hospitals in Sierra Leone, and a study of drug-resistant gonorrhea in Colombia.
Mar 20 WHO TDR press release


Novavax reports positive phase 3 results of 4-strain flu vaccine in seniors

Today Novavax said that NanoFlu, the company's recombinant quadrivalent (four-strain) seasonal flu vaccine for adults ages 65 and older, was more immunogenic than Sanofi's Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine, which is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and had a good safety profile.

NanoFlu achieved the primary endpoints of the trial for immune response, both in terms of geometric mean titers (GMTs) and the difference in seroconversion rates (SCRs), for all four strains included in the vaccine. Compared with Fluzone Quadrivalent, NanoFlu had 24% to 66% higher GMT responses and 11.4 to 20.4 percentage points higher SCRs.

"With these data, we now have a clear path forward to licensure with our differentiated recombinant influenza vaccine," said Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, in a company press release. "These strong Phase 3 results align with and validate our previous clinical trials, in which NanoFlu showed higher HAI antibody responses than the leading flu vaccine for older adults. We expect that both Fast Track designation and the accelerated approval pathway from the FDA will help Novavax bring NanoFlu to market as quickly as possible to address the serious public health threat of influenza."

NanoFlu's safety profile is similar to Fluzone, with slightly more local adverse events, Novavax said. The vaccine also performed well against four strains of H3N2 that are antigenically drifted, an encouraging sign the vaccine may overcome issues related to antigenic drift and egg adaptation, according to the release.
Mar 24 Novavax
press release


Germany reports two more H5N8 avian flu outbreaks

Animal health officials in Germany reported two more highly pathogenic H5N8 avian flu outbreaks, one involving a wild bird and the other a turkey farm, according to notifications from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

The wild bird detection occurred in a buzzard found dead on Mar 20 in the town of Frohburg in Saxony state in eastern Germany. The source of the virus isn't known.

Meanwhile, the turkey breeding farm outbreak began on Mar 20 at a facility in Lower Saxony state in the country's northwest. The virus killed 130 of 10,313 susceptible birds, and the survivors were culled to curb the spread. Germany and other European countries reported sporadic H5N8 outbreaks over the winter.
Mar 23 OIE report on H5N8 in a German wild bird
Mar 21 OIE report on H5N8 at a German turkey farm

Newsletter Sign-up

Get CIDRAP news and other free newsletters.

Sign up now»


Unrestricted financial support provided by

Bentson Foundation Gilead 
Grant support for ASP provided by


  Become an underwriter»