Influenza outbreak

RECENT NEWS
New York Times  Sep 5  Comment 
Scientists who tested surfaces at Helsinki Airport found the viruses responsible for colds and influenza on the trays used at security checkpoints.
MedPage Today  Sep 4  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- Report cites 'unknown' effectiveness of FluMist against influenza A (H1N1)
FiercePharma  Aug 28  Comment 
Countries have routinely exchanged samples of viruses with pandemic potential for research, but China has withheld shipments of the H7N9 strain, according to The New York Times.
FierceBiotech  Aug 16  Comment 
Pfizer has struck a $425 million deal to work with BioNTech on the development of mRNA influenza vaccines. The Big Pharma is providing $120 million in upfront and near-term payments to enter into the R&D collaboration.
GenEng News  Aug 2  Comment 
In addition to obesity's known impact on flu severity—complications including hospitalization and even death—new findings from investigators at the University of Michigan School of Public Health suggest that obesity may play a significant role...
GenEng News  Jul 18  Comment 
The susceptibility and recovery from various pulmonary infections have been observed to have a sex bias, depending on the microbial pathogen. For instance, researchers have known that women, compared to men, tend to have more severe flu with...
NPR  Jul 9  Comment 
Researchers are looking to redeploy drugs used for years to treat cholesterol and high blood pressure as remedies for influenza and Ebola.
MedPage Today  Jun 20  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- Committee also heard data on cell-cultured influenza vaccines
GenEng News  Jun 11  Comment 
Scientists report that half of influenza cases in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) received a false-negative rapid influenza antigen test (RIAT). Such results could delay antiviral therapy for patients who were in the ICU with...




 
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Influenza, or the flu, is a common infectious disease, which can be deadly to individuals with compromised immune systems (the very young, the very old, and those with conditions such as AIDS or Cancer). However, occasionally particularly virulent strains of influenza break out that can be threatening on a much larger scale -- such as the flu epidemic of 1918 and, more recently, concerns that H5N1 "Bird Flu" or H1N1 "Swine Flu" could mutate into a highly-infectious and deadly virus. A number of pharmaceutical companies make treatments for the flu and benefit from the fear of a flu outbreak.


  • Roche Pharmaceuticals makes Tamiflu, an antiviral pill to treat the flu. In 2005, amid concerns that bird flu might pose a large threat during the winter flu season, many national governments began stocking up on Tamiflu. Chugai pharmaceuticals sells Tamiflu in Japan.
  • Novartis AG (NVS), through its acquisition of Chiron in 2006, supplies much of the traditional flu vaccine supply to the United States.
  • AstraZeneca (AZN), through recently acquired MedImmune, manufactures 'FluMist', a novel flu vaccine that is delivered via an intranasal spray rather than via an injection.

Companies with treatments for H1N1, or "Swine Flu"

In April 2009, a novel flu virus, known as "Swine Flu" because it was believed to have originated in pigs, started infecting humans. By April 28th, there were 1,300 confirmed cases of the flu, known by its scientific designation H1N1, in Mexico, and a handful in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

According to preliminary test done by the US Center for Disease Control, Roche Pharmaceuticals (RHHBY)'s Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)'s Relenza are active against H1N1, although many older drugs are not. [1]

References

  1. Investors buy up shares of flu drug makers, New York Times, April 27th 2009.
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