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News Reports for November 15, 2012

by: NewsDiary

Sat Nov 10, 2012 at 15:50:28 PM EST

Reminder: Please do not post whole articles, just snippets and links, and do not post articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Thanks!

• Bird Flu Strain Hits NSW Farm (Link)
• New South Wales: Chicken farm locked down amid bird flu scare (Link)

• British Columbia: B.C. nurses step up fight on mandatory flu-shots (Link)

United Kingdom
• Chemists under fire for selling flu vaccine as GP supplies run out (Link)

United States
• FDA advisory panel backs prototype Glaxo bird flu virus (Link)

• CIDRAP 2008: Some avian flu H7 viruses growing more human-like (Link)

• H (Link)

NewsDiary :: News Reports for November 15, 2012

News for November 14, 2012 is here.

Thanks to all of the newshounds!
Special thanks to the newshound volunteers who translate international stories - thanks for keeping us all informed!

Other useful links:
WHO A(H1N1) Site
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated August 10, 2012
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
UK RCGP Weekly Data on Communicable and Respiratory Diseases
Flu Wiki

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Australia: Bird Flu Strain Hits NSW Farm

An unidentified strain of bird flu has been detected at a hen farm near Maitland in the Hunter Valley, prompting authorities to quarantine about 50,000 chickens.

The suspected virus is not thought to be the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed 359 people worldwide in sporadic outbreaks since 2003. (snip)

"The suspected virus is definitely not the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain that has gained worldwide attention - nor is it closely related to that strain," the NSW chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said in a statement. (continued)

Australia: Chicken farm locked down amid bird flu scare
A chicken farm in the New South Wales Hunter Valley is in lockdown due to a suspected case of avian influenza.

The Department of Primary Industries says about 50,000 birds will be destroyed after test results confirmed the virus to be the H7 strain, not the H5N1 strain which has gained worldwide attention.

The ABC understands the property is near Hinton.

DPI chief veterinary officer Ian Roth says the virus does not impact humans but is highly pathogenic for birds. "The H7 is one of the ones that we do worry about basically because it kills lots of birds not for other reasons," he said. "But now they will need to destroyed, they will be destroyed humanely on this farm."

"Certainly with the H7s, the NSW Food Authority and NSW Health don't consider that from eggs or poultry products that there are human health concerns."


"We've started tracing to see if it could have possibly spread, and so far that's looking quite good," he said.

"It looks like there's not a lot of potential movements for problems. "But that's why we've got it locked down and our first response team activated." Continued: http://www.abc.net.au/news/201...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


This from CIDRAP in 2008......
Some avian flu H7 viruses growing more human-like

May 28, 2008 (CIDRAP News) - Scientists have found evidence that North American avian influenza viruses of the H7 subtype are becoming more like human flu viruses in their ability to attach to host cells, which suggests they may be improving their capacity to infect humans.

The investigators determined that several recent North American H7 viruses have an increased ability to bind to a type of receptor molecule that is abundant on human tracheal cells and is less common in birds. Their results were published this week by the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

The finding-which comes as the deadly Eurasian H5N1 virus continues to be seen as the likeliest candidate to spark a pandemic-"underscores the necessity for continued surveillance and study of these [North American H7] viruses as they continue to resemble viruses with pandemic potential," says the report. The study was done by scientists from the US Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emory University in Atlanta, and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

H7 viruses have caused a number of disease outbreaks in poultry in Europe and North America in recent years, though far fewer than the widespread outbreaks caused by the H5N1 virus. H7 viruses also have occasionally infected humans, typically causing only mild conjunctivitis. But a veterinarian died of an H7N7 infection during the devastating poultry outbreaks in the Netherlands in 2003.

Previous research has established that avian flu viruses prefer to link up with cell receptor molecules known as alpha 2-3 glycans, whereas human flu viruses, such as H1N1 and H3N2, prefer to attach to receptors called alpha 2-6. The terms refer to the nature of the link between sialic acid (SA), which forms the tip of the receptor molecule, and galactose, an adjoining sugar unit.

Differences in receptor binding, transmissibility
In the new study, with Jessica A. Belser of the CDC and Emory as first author, investigators examined the binding preferences of H7 viruses by exposing glycan microarrays-receptor molecules laid out in grids on glass slides-to solutions containing the viruses.

In addition, they dosed ferrets with H7 viruses and tested whether they became infected and whether the infection spread to other ferrets housed with them. Ferrets are considered the best animal model for studying flu transmission, because the distribution of cell receptor types resembles that in humans.

The viruses tested included two highly pathogenic H7N7 isolates from humans infected during the Dutch outbreaks of 2003, three H7N2 isolates from poultry outbreaks and a human case in the eastern United States in 2002 and 2003, and two H7N3 viruses from human conjunctivitis cases linked to a poultry outbreak in British Columbia in 2004.

The scientists found that the two Dutch viruses, one of which (called NL/219) came from the fatal human case, showed the typical avian preference for alpha 2-3 glycans. In contrast, the three eastern US isolates showed significantly increased binding to alpha 2-6 receptors. One of these three, which came from a New York state man who was infected in 2003, showed both a sharply increased preference for alpha 2-6 glycans and reduced binding to alpha 2-3 receptors-a characteristic that was also observed in H1, H2, and H3 viruses when they were first introduced into humans, according to the report.

The two Canadian isolates also showed an increased preference for alpha 2-6 receptors, compared with the Dutch strains, but it was less marked than that of the eastern US isolates. Continued: http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


[ Parent ]
US: FDA advisory panel backs prototype Glaxo bird flu virus
Nov 14 (Reuters) - An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday voted unanimously that a GlaxoSmithKline Plc prototype vaccine against bird flu appears to be safe and produces the desired immune-system response against the highly fatal virus. The London-based drugmaker said the advisory panel of outside medical experts voted 14 to 0 to support its vaccine against the H5N1 bird flu virus.


"Glaxo looks forward to the approval by the FDA of our vaccine, hopefully later this year," (Snip).


If approved by the agency, Glaxo would be licensed to make millions of doses of the vaccine, which would likely be placed in a government stockpile for use in the event of a global epidemic. The company would also be prepared to make as many other doses as required, perhaps including a slightly different strain of the virus than the Indonesia strain in its current prototype, (Snip).

Glaxo contracted with the federal government in 2007 to make a prototype vaccine (Snip). It contains only 3.75 micrograms of the inactivated H5N1 antigen, or protein, compared with 90 micrograms in an already licensed vaccine made by French drugmaker Sanofi.

With such a tiny amount of needed antigen, (Snip) Glaxo could easily make "far more doses" of the vaccine than it otherwise could. A special adjuvant boosts the effectiveness of the Glaxo vaccine, Friedland said, allowing for less antigen. "It's the adjuvant that makes the difference," he said. http://www.reuters.com/article...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


UK: Chemists under fire for selling flu vaccine as GP supplies run out
High street chemists have been criticised for selling the flu vaccine while a national shortage has prevented local GP surgeries from inoculating patients at higher risk from winter bugs.


Other chemists in the shopping parade, including Superdrug, also had the vaccine readily available for paying customers.


But GPs have reported shortages after one of the UK's major vaccine suppliers discovered problems with batches (Snip) David Williams, practice manager at the surgery in Adelaide Road, said: "We are not unique, it's affected a lot of the practices this year. A few of the big suppliers of the flu vaccine have had a problem with supplying. The way they make the vaccines is basically in big batches and my understanding is some of those batches went wrong and therefore could not be issued.

"So, along with many practices, we're scrabbling around to try and find all the flu vaccines we need. We're still hopeful we can give everybody the flu vaccine that needs it and is eligible to have it for free." Continued: http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


Canada: B.C. nurses step up fight on mandatory flu-shots (British Columbia)
B.C. nurses are seizing on the work of a UK-based health science organization that questions the scientific evidence for forcing health workers to get flu shots.

In August, provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall announced the policy that requires health-care workers to get a flu shot or wear masks during the flu season.

But the B.C. Nurses' Union took issue with the policy almost immediately and said the government should educate health-care workers on the benefits of vaccines but keep those vaccines voluntary.

The nurses stepped up their fight Wednesday by citing a letter in a Vancouver daily newspaper written by a doctor associated with the Cochrane Collaboration.

The nurses say the respected group has "shredded" the credibility of the reasons Kendall put forward to justify the policy and the nurses have launched a grievance over the issue. Continued: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown


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