Influenza outbreak

RECENT NEWS
Insurance Journal  9 hrs ago  Comment 
Alabama officials have confirmed bird flu in two poultry flocks, just a week after three commercial breeders had to kill their chickens across the state line in Tennessee. The state veterinarian announced that chickens are under quarantine after...
MarketWatch  Mar 22  Comment 
Avian influenza is spreading across Asia in what may be the worst outbreak in seven years, as the human death toll rises and chickens are culled in Japan, South Korea and China in an effort to contain the disease.
NPR  Mar 17  Comment 
A pandemic is likely to crop up in the next few decades, many scientists predict. To help readers prepare, NPR created its first-ever Pandemic Preparedness Kit. But it's not your traditional kit.
Agrimoney.com  Mar 15  Comment 
JBS boss Wesley Batista says the meat giant's Brazilian chicken arm will benefit from bird flu in competitor countries, and easing corn prices
MedPage Today  Mar 15  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- This time may be different
Agrimoney.com  Mar 14  Comment 
... say US officials, foreseeing the biggest drop in EU shipments in 16 years - and despite an output rise. What will be the impact on prices?
Agrimoney.com  Mar 14  Comment 
... which, as one of the top chicken exporters, stands to gain from trade curbs on rivals - as long as Thailand itself stays disease free
MarketWatch  Mar 14  Comment 
There’s a new strain of bird flu in China that can spread easily, and some stocks could benefit, while others could be hurt, writes Michael Brush.
Agrimoney.com  Mar 13  Comment 
... which, as one of the top chicken exporters, stands to gain from trade curbs on rivals - as long as Thailand itself stays disease free
Motley Fool  Mar 8  Comment 
Reports of a highly contagious bird flu in Malaysia sent BioCryst soaring higher, but this isn't what investors should be paying close attention to.




 
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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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