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Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy claim current influenza vaccines offer less protection against the infectious disease than previously thought, and better ones are necessary.

A report titled “The Compelling Need for Game-Changing Influenza Vaccines” says the U.S.-licensed trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine does not differ widely from the one first developed in 1968. And a live-attenuated influenza vaccine licensed in 2003 is made using techniques from the 1930s, Fox reports.

So why hasn’t a new flu vaccine come along? The financial risks and inadequate incentives throw up roadblocks for most biotechs that might otherwise show interest. The entire process–from preclinical research through licensure–can take up to 15 years and cost more than $1 billion, the report says. A novel flu vaccine providing protection over the course of several years will need to cost more per dose than current vaccines for investors and manufacturers to realize the financial benefit of the endeavor.

And many believe the current flu vaccines offer enough protection. “A major barrier to the development of game-changing influenza vaccines is the perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza infection,” the report says.

Currently, 6 companies are licensed to produce and distribute flu vaccines in the U.S.: CSL, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, Novartis  and Sanofi Pasteur. This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand. Each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from seasonal influenza.


More Influenza Vaccine Available as Flu Season Approaches

Posted: November 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on More Influenza Vaccine Available as Flu Season Approaches

As flu season approaches, vaccines companies are working against the odds to market their influenza vaccines. Last year, the overall U.S. vaccination rate was about 42%–a far cry from the target rates of 80% for people ages 6 months to 65 years and 90% for those older than 65.

Vaccination rates ran the gamut in the 2011-2012 influenza season. For children between 6 months and 23 months, it was 75%, while just over a third of adolescents received the jab, according to the CDC. About 39% of adults were vaccinated, Reuters reports.

This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand, the nonprofit National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said. As of Sept. 14, more than 85 million doses of the vaccine had been distributed.

“When it comes to flu, we can’t look to the past to predict the future,” Howard Koh, assistant health secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a news conference, as quoted by Reuters.

FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from all 6 manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute in the U.S. back in August. This year’s dose includes one strain in common with last year’s and two new ones. But judging by vaccination rates from the previous flu season, the manufactuerers–CSL, GlaxosmithKline, ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur–will all be hoping for a change of pace. Factors preventing people from getting the shot include fear that they will get sick from the vaccine, cost and lack of awareness.


Painless Flu Vaccines

Posted: October 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Painless Flu Vaccines

Five years ago this summer, AstraZeneca decided to pony up to purchase Maryland-based MedImmune for a cool $15.6 billion, a deal that left many wondering whether the bills matched the product.  Now, incoming CEO Pascal Soriot has his work cut out for him.

Come October, the French-native will jump over from Roche , where he served as chief operating officer since 2010. He’s inheriting a vaccines and biotech drugs division with 2,600 Maryland employees and 4,000 globally, The Washington Post reports.  The company will also shutter two California offices, leading to a loss of 200 jobs and a shift of 100 more to other sites.

MedImmune has had its ups and downs, with the vaccines business supplying some upbeat results; in 2009, the company was the first to market a swine flu vaccine.  And this year MedImmune rolled out the first intranasal flu vaccine that contains four strains of the disease.

English: Millington, Tenn. (Oct. 28, 2005) &nd...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fluenz nasal spray became the vaccine of choice in the U.K. for children ages 2 to 17 in a contract expected to exceed £100 million ($156.7 million).  The company’s FluMist brought in $161 million of AZ’s $33.6 billion in revenue in 2011.