News Scan for Dec 18, 2020

New cVDPV2 polio cases in 5 countries
UK antibiotic subscription model
Dutch H1N1v flu case

Afghanistan, African nations report more vaccine-derived polio cases

Five countries across Asia and Africa report new circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2), according to Global Polio Eradication Initiative's weekly report.

In Afghanistan, 54 cases of cVDPV2 were reported across 12 provinces, with the most in Kandahar (19), Hilmand (14), and Uruzgan, Wardak, Zabul (each with 4). This brings the 2020 total to 214. Nearby in Pakistan, no new polio cases have been identified, but three wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) and two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples have been confirmed.

The Chad polio outbreak in Africa had two new cVDPV2 cases in Logone Oriental, and the risk of further cases across the Lake Chad subregion remains high. The multiple outbreaks occurring in Chad have been associated with new cVPDV2 cases in South Sudan (6) and Sudan (2) as well .

Also in Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Maindombe province and Nigeria's Zamfara province each had two new cVDPV2 cases, with Nigeria also finding one positive environmental sample of cVDPV2 in Lagos province.
Dec 16 GPEI report


UK health agency selects antibiotics for subscription payment model

England's National Health Service (NHS) announced today that it has selected the first antibiotics to be purchased through the United Kingdom's subscription-style payment model.

In collaboration with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England selected the novel cephalosporin antibiotic cefiderocol, licensed for treating gram-negative bacterial infections in patients with limited options, and the beta-lactam/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination ceftazidime-avibactam, licensed for treating a number of infections, including pneumonia, intra-abdominal, and urinary tract infections.

Cefiderocol is manufactured by Shionogi and ceftazidime-avibactam by Pfizer. Over the next 12 months, NICE will evaluate the antibiotics to determine the annual subscription price the companies will receive.

The pilot program was launched by the NHS in 2019 to test a new model for paying for antibiotics that is based on their public health value. Under the program, NHS will pay companies on an annual basis for access to effective antibiotics, rather than reimbursing them based on the quantity of antibiotics sold. The aim of the payment model is to provide antibiotic developers with a predictable revenue stream and incentivize further investment in antibiotic development, while also promoting appropriate antibiotic use.

"Today is an important step in demonstrating that this payment model can be a 'win, win' for health systems and industry—NHS patients will be able to benefit from a secure supply of new antimicrobial drugs, while pharmaceutical companies will be able to reliably forecast their return on investment," project leads Mark Perkins and David Glover of NHS England wrote in a blog post.

NHS says the antibiotics will be made available to patients through the subscription model by early 2022.
Dec 18 NHS blog post


Swine H1N1 variant flu infects Dutch farmer

The Netherlands recently reported a variant H1N1 (H1N1v) case from 2019 involving a farmer who became sick after exposure to pigs, according to the latest zoonotic flu update from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The 43-year-old man began having symptoms on Sep 25, 2019, after which samples were collected from another symptomatic farm worker and symptomatic pigs. Influenza A was detected in samples from the farmer and the pigs, and further analysis found that the virus was related to avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses. Genomes from the farmer and the pigs were nearly identical.

The farmer saw his regular doctor and recovered after pneumonia treatment. The investigation found that he had no history of recent travel, didn't visit any trade fairs, and had not brought in new animals. Two of his contacts had flulike symptoms, but were not tested.

WHO's report also covered four other zoonotic flu cases that have already been publicly reported between Oct 24 and Dec 9 of this year: an H5N1 case from Laos, H9N2 and H5N6 cases from China, and an H1N2v case from Canada.
Dec 9 WHO zoonotic flu update

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