Influenza outbreak

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Insurance Journal  Jul 1  Comment 
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has extended a state of disaster emergency through July 31 in response to the bird flu outbreak in the state. The declaration was the second extension of the original disaster proclamation. It otherwise would have expired...
Insurance Journal  Jun 25  Comment 
A food supplier claims an Iowa egg farm breached a contract after bird flu disrupted the supply of eggs. Michael Foods Egg Products Co., a subsidiary of St. Louis-based cereal-maker Post Holdings Inc., filed a lawsuit in federal court in … The...
New York Times  Jun 16  Comment 
A decline in egg production by 341 million dozen this year is expected to mean a wholesale price of $1.60 to $1.66 for a dozen New York large eggs, a record high.
Southeast Farm Press  Jun 16  Comment 
Alabama Cooperative Extension While avian influenza has been confirmed in 20 states, Alabama remains free of the disease. Alabama poultry producers are doing all that they can to keep the disease at bay. read more
MarketWatch  Jun 12  Comment 
Egg prices have soared as the outbreak of avian flu has led to dramatically reduced supply of egg products.
Insurance Journal  Jun 12  Comment 
There’s relief ahead for U.S. poultry farmers suffering through the worst ever domestic outbreak of bird flu. As the weather warms, there’s likely to be fewer instances of the disease, which has already left 47 million dead birds, state...




 
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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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