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Beating the flu

Published on 18/02/19 at 01:12pm

On 14 January, the European Commission issued marketing approval for Flucelvax Tetra, the first cell-based, quadrivalent influenza vaccine. Pharmafocus spoke to Seqirus’ Dr Rajaram on the challenges of tackling the H3N2 influenza virus, as well as threats to vaccination in general.

What advantages does Flucelvax offer compared to similar products?

Seqirus secures first cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine approval in Europe

Seqirus has made it known that its new cell-based seasonal influenza vaccine Flucelvax Tetra has been approved by the European Commission for patients over the age of nine, making it the first cell-based quadrivalent influenza vaccine (QIVc) available in Europe.

The EC’s decision on the vaccine was made “on the basis of immunogenicity and safety” compared to a cell-based trivalent vaccine.

Vaccine coverage falls by 6.2% since last year

Despite the severity of the flu season, just 37.1% of American adults received the flu vaccine this year, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The low rate represents a 6.2% drop since last year.

While 43.3% of Americans adults were vaccinated in 2016-17 this figure dropped during the flu season this year.

Notably, there were a number of discrepancies between various groups in society, as 26.9% of 18-49 year olds compared to 59.6% of >65s received the flu vaccine.

First novel, single-dose flu drug approved in US in almost 20 years

Image Credit: US Air Force photo illustration/Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton

The FDA has announced that it has approved the first single-dose flu drug with a novel mechanism of action in nearly two decades.

More effective flu vaccine could prevent hundreds of elderly deaths across UK this winter

Public Health England has revealed that an enhanced, “adjuvanted” vaccine is to be made available for over-65s this winter, and could save hundreds of lives at a time which poses danger a to health for many elderly patients.

According to the organisation, FluAd, as the newly licensed drug is known, could prevent the need for 30,000 GP consultations, 2,000 hospital visits and over 700 hospital deaths over the period.

Pfizer partners up with BioNTech for $425m to pursue mRNA flu vaccines

Pfizer has announced a partnership with German biotech firm BioNTech after signing a multi-year deal worth $425 million to develop new mRNA-based vaccines for the prevention of influenza.

BioNTech, which specialises in the development of therapies to treat cancer and infectious diseases, will receive upfront, equity and near-term research payments of $120 million under the terms of the deal, with up to $305 million to follow based on the achievement of various developmental, regulatory and commercialisation milestones.

Roche flu drug proves efficacy at Phase 3, but enough to beat Tamiflu generics?

Roche is celebrating the news that its investigational influenza drug baloxavir marboxil performed well at Phase 3, meeting its primary endpoint and reducing symptoms in patients at a high risk of complications from the flu.

World’s first synthetic, non-biologic vaccine developed

One of the major challenges in delivering vaccinations to all parts of the globe is the need to keep the temperature regulated, with vaccines needing to stay at a cool temperature no matter the climate of the region in which they are transported.

Researchers from Cardiff University may have discovered a way to bypass this challenge, by creating the world’s first synthetic, non-biologic vaccine for influenza.

CDC U-turns previous decision on AZ’s flu vaccine

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now recommended AstraZeneca’s FluMist as an option for doctors for the coming flu seasons.

The decision is likely too late for the next winter season, with most stocks of vaccine having already been ordered in, but could see the quadrivalent vaccine used after that.

The decision marks a serious turnaround, after the last two seasons the CDC had advised against ordering the vaccine, due to a long-term study showing that it proved ineffective against the swine flu outbreak.

Low flu vaccine efficacy may be due to previous immune history, study finds

The sometimes poor efficacy of influenza vaccines may be due to poor immune response and a patient’s wider immune history, a new study has found.

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