Archive by category | Swine flu

FDA approves its first egg-free seasonal flu vaccine

FDA approves its first egg-free seasonal flu vaccine

After years of struggle, the production of seasonal flu vaccine in the United States has entered the modern era. On 20 November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its first seasonal flu vaccine made in cell culture, rather than in fertilized chicken eggs.  Read more

US swine flu outbreak spikes

Virologists suspect that the H3N2 variant strain arose from swine strains exhcanging genetic material in a process called reassortment.

Today the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the number of reported cases in an ongoing outbreak of an animal flu virus H3N2v that transmits between pigs and humans has jumped to 145  in the past week.  Read more

United States launches three biodefence centres

United States launches three biodefence centres

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today awarded contracts for the creation of three new centers tasked with responding to the threat of future pandemics and biological attacks.  Based in Maryland, North Carolina and Texas, the three centres are comprised of academic and industry consortia whose role it will be to hasten the development and manufacturing of vaccines and medications in the event of an emerging biological threat.  Read more

Canada confines mutant flu to maximum-security facilities

Canada this month announced that any research on mammalian-transmissible strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus in the country’s labs would need to be done at the strictest level of biocontainment, Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL-4). It’s the first country to issue a biosafety rating following the creation of such H5N1 strains in two recent controversial studies (see “Nature News Special: “Mutant Flu”).  Read more

WHO meeting calls for mutant-flu research to be published ‘in full.’

A two-day meeting of 22 experts convened in Geneva by the World Health Organization which ended this afternoon has concluded that two controversial flu studies should be published in full. The research – which created ferret-transmissible strains of avian H5N1 flu virus – will be published after a delay of probably a few months, which the experts argue is needed to explain better the public-health benefits of the research and allay public concerns over the safety of the work. “There is a preference from a public health perspective for full disclosure of the information in these two studies,” says Keiji Fukuda, assistant director-general of health security and environment at the WHO. “However there are significant public concern surrounding this research that should first be addressed.”  … Read more

Avian flu controversy comes to roost at WHO

Almost two dozen experts kicked off a two-day international meeting this morning at the World Health Organisation in Geneva, in a bid to find ways to move forward in the controversy over two studies that have created strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus that are transmissible in ferrets. The meeting may reach some consensus on a few immediate issues, such as what parts of the studies should be published, and who might qualify for access to the full papers on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.  Read more