Influenza outbreak

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Forbes  Apr 1  Comment 
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MedPage Today  Mar 27  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- Over the course of two influenza seasons, vaccination against the virus reduced the likelihood of life-threatening flu in children by about three-quarters, researchers reported.
DailyFinance  Mar 27  Comment 
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NPR  Mar 17  Comment 
Roughly 1 in 5 unvaccinated people had the flu between 2006 and 2011, but only a quarter of them had symptoms, a study found. That could affect how the virus spreads.
MedPage Today  Mar 17  Comment 
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New York Times  Mar 12  Comment 
Dr. Maassab’s spray used a live version of the influenza virus that had been attenuated, or weakened, so as not to cause the flu.     
MedPage Today  Mar 3  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- The risk for post-vaccination fever was significantly higher in children who received trivalent inactivated influenza and pneumococcal (PCV13) vaccines together compared with children who were given either vaccine alone,...
MedPage Today  Feb 21  Comment 
(MedPage Today) -- The flood of H7N9 influenza cases in China appears to have slowed to a trickle, as no new confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization since Feb. 17.
Forbes  Feb 21  Comment 
Flu deaths and hospitalizations continue to mount, the CDC warned today, issuing an urgent call for vaccination.




 
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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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