Each holiday season the festivities in a notable minority of households are disrupted by flu. Typically infants and seniors are most at risk of severe illness, but occasionally a strain that disproportionately affects young and middle-aged adults emerges. Early evidence suggests 2013-2014 could be such a year.
Last year's flu season hit the U.S. early and hard. Just how hard has now become clear, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting there were 381,000 flu-associated hospitalizations. Without a vaccine, things would have been much worse though.
The full effect of the introduction of quadrivalent flu vaccines is unlikely to become clear for several years, but this week saw the release of data that convinced the FDA to approve GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine. And while the benefit of the extra strain is unclear, the data makes a case for immunizing with any flu vaccine.
When MedImmune won approval for its quadrivalent nasal flu vaccine back in February 2012, it kicked off the battle to claim a share of the next-generation influenza immunization market. Now, almost two years later, its parent company AstraZeneca has the race underway in Europe, too.
As Visterra readies an influenza antibody for Phase I trials, the Gates-foundation-backed biotech announced today it's hired veterans of Mascoma and Concert Pharmaceuticals and licensed an antibody to treat the dengue virus out of the MIT lab of its co-founder, Dr. Ram Sasisekharan.
Theraclone Sciences was hoping for a federal cash infusion to keep its anti-influenza antibody program rolling, but a denial from the government will force the biotech to handle Phase II on its own.
Since an FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended GlaxoSmithKline's H5N1 vaccine one year ago, links between the vaccine's adjuvant and narcolepsy have strengthened, and the FDA subsequently delayed approval. Now, though, GSK has received its long-sought FDA approval.
China is a big, climatologically-diverse country, with the weather changing significantly between the temperate zones in the north and the subtropical regions further south. This affects when flu seasons occur, and consequently when health authorities should run vaccination campaigns.
U.K. health authorities have run similar surveys over the past four years, but this is the first time it will capture data from schools.
Navy sailors may have received ineffective vaccines because of a failure to keep the products at the right temperature, Navy Times reports.