Influenza (seasonal)

FDA approves 2014-2015 formulation of Flublok influenza vaccine

Protein Sciences Corp. announced on Tuesday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s strain change amendment to Flublok, its seasonal influenza vaccine, for the 2014-2015 flu season.
Influenza vaccine manufacturers must receive approval from the FDA for any changes made to their manufacturing processes or product formulation. The early approval for Flublok will ensure that healthcare providers will receive the vaccine on time for the flu season in the fall.

The Price of Prevention: Vaccine Costs Are Soaring

There is little that Dr. Lindsay Irvin has not done for the children’s vaccines in her office refrigerator: She remortgaged her home to afford their rising prices. She packed them in ice chests and moved them when her office flooded this year. She pays a company to monitor the fridge in case the temperature rises.

The security company can call me any time of the day or night so I can go save my vaccines,” said Dr. Irvin, a pediatrician. Those in the refrigerator recently cost $70,000, she said — “more than I paid for four years of medical school.”


Reports on H7N9 clusters show limited family spread

Two detailed reports on H7N9 avian flu transmission among family members, including an event that occurred during the second wave of infections, provides reassuring signals that the virus doesn't often spread among humans, Chinese researchers noted yesterday.

CDC Advisory Committee Recommends Preferential Use of Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) for Eligible Children 2 to 8 Years of Age

The MedImmune Specialty Care division of AstraZeneca announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended that when available, Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) should be used for healthy children 2 to 8 years of age, who have no contraindications or precautions. The ACIP’s unanimous vote was based on a systematic evidence-based assessment methodology called the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (also known as GRADE).

Vaccine development and developing countries

Participation of patients in medical research requires that a balance is struck—between anticipated benefits and potential harms of the new treatment being assessed, and with a view to the broader value of evidence accrued for guiding clinical practice and future research. Tensions can arise, however. Research in low-income settings has sometimes been perceived to be of greater potential benefit to those in high-income countries, where a drug may be marketed after licensing.


FDA OKs Novartis's US cell-based flu vaccine facility

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first US facility that can make cell-culture influenza vaccines, a Novartis plant in Holly Springs, N.C., that has been part of federal government efforts to prepare for a pandemic and to sidestep some limits of egg-based flu vaccine technology.

Mortality dropped, but hospitalizations increased for some in '13-'14 flu season

For the first time since the swine flu pandemic in 2009, influenza A virus pdm09 (pH1N1) predominated in the U.S. during the 2013-2014 flu season. And while this season saw overall lower levels of outpatient illness and death than in those predominated by fellow A virus H3N2, for older adults it was comparatively more severe, a CDC report found.

Influenza Activity — United States, 2013–14 Season and Composition of the 2014–15 Influenza Vaccines

During the 2013–14 influenza season in the United States, influenza activity* increased through November and December before peaking in late December. Influenza A (H1N1)pdm09 (pH1N1) viruses predominated overall, but influenza B viruses and, to a lesser extent, influenza A (H3N2) viruses also were reported in the United States.


Diseases spread in weeks. Epidemic research takes years. This must change

In 1976 a thermos of blood from a Flemish nun who had died in Zaire arrived at the Antwerp lab where Peter Piot, the great microbiologist, was train