Influenza outbreak

GenEng News  Jul 14  Comment 
An influenza vaccine trial in human volunteers has generated results that could help scientists develop a universal influenza vaccine that offers broad protection against yearly shifting viral strains. In the small-scale Phase I study, a group 2...
GenEng News  Jul 11  Comment 
Sanofi is looking to bolster its recombinant-based influenza vaccine portfolio through the acquisition of Protein Sciences for $650 million upfront and potentially up to another $100 million in milestones. The transaction, which has been approved...
GenEng News  Jul 10  Comment 
Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ synthetic plasmid DNA-based dMAb® monoclonal antibody (mAb) technology provided mice with complete protection from lethal challenge with multiple influenza A and B virus strains. The dMab platform utilizes synthetic...
GenEng News  Jun 28  Comment 
An early clinical study at Emory University has shown the potential to deliver influenza vaccines using a dissolvable microneedle patch technology that could feasibly lead to cheaper, more accessible, and patient-acceptable vaccination programs...
FiercePharma  Jun 26  Comment 
Last June, a key CDC vaccines committee stiff-armed AstraZeneca's nasal influenza vaccine based on worries about its effectiveness. Despite the company's efforts to fix things since then, the committee once again recommended that doctors eschew...  Jun 26  Comment 
The owner of the UK's 2 Sisters Food Group poultry-to-pizza business blames one-off factors, including bird flu, for a profits drop
Benzinga  Jun 23  Comment 
Over the next 20 to 30 years, the world will suffer a pandemic with the potential “to bring humanity to its knees,” epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, M.D., told CNN in April. He was talking about new strains of influenza found in birds across...
The Hindu Business Line  Jun 22  Comment 
Drug firm Alembic Pharmaceuticals has received US health regulator’s nod for Amantadine Hydrochloride capsules used to treat symptoms of infection caused by influenza virus. “The company has recei...
FiercePharma  Jun 21  Comment 
Seqirus said it has achieved an industry first by producing a cell-based influenza vaccine on a commercial scale using a virus that has been grown in cells versus the traditional method of using chicken eggs.
NPR  Jun 15  Comment 
Three genetic changes could be enough to make a bird flu strain that's already killing some people in China highly contagious. Are experiments with a deliberately mutated version too risky?


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]


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