H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: Better-yielding seed strain, deaths in Argentina, Hajj pilgrims, nurses protesting equipment lack, insurance for vaccine

first_imgAug 6, 2009British lab finds better-yielding seed strain of H1N1Britain’s National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (NIBSC) has produced a seed strain of novel H1N1 virus that grows much better than strains currently used, the Canadian Press reported yesterday. John Wood of the NIBSC said the strain grows about as well as typical seasonal flu seed strains, but the results must be confirmed by manufacturers. Vaccine makers welcomed the news. Yields from the seed strains now in use have been 50% below those with seasonal flu vaccines or worse.Argentina flu deaths double in latest countThe number of novel H1N1 flu deaths in Argentina has risen to 337, according to the health ministry’s latest report, suggesting that Argentina could soon pass United States as the country with the most fatalities, The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported yesterday. The number was more than double the deaths reported in the ministry’s last report 2 weeks ago. Though Argentina has more fatalities than any South American country, officials believe novel flu cases have peaked.http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/05/argentina-swine-flu-deaths-doubleAug 5 Guardian storyIran bars pilgrims from attending the HajjTo slow the spread of the pandemic H1N1 virus, Iran’s health ministry has banned the country’s citizens from attending the annual Hajj pilgrimage in December in Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press (AP) reported today. The health minister said through state media that the event draws 3 million pilgrims from all over the world, presenting a heightened risk of flu transmission. Iran has confirmed 145 cases so far, but no fatalities.http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/middleeast/2009/August/middleeast_August142.xml&section=middleeast&col=Aug 6 AP storyCalifornia nurses protest inadequate safety equipmentCalifornia nurses protested outside the University of California–San Francisco (UCSF) medical center yesterday to demand better equipment to protect them against the pandemic virus, according to an Aug 4 press release from the California Nurses Association. An ABC News report yesterday showed the nurses protesting in scrubs and masks. Nurses also protested the alleged firing of a UCSF nurse for complaining about inadequate safety gear. The California Hospital Association has denied the claims.Baxter finishes first batches of cell-based pandemic H1N1 vaccineBaxter International Inc. yesterday announced completion of the first commercial batches of its cell-based pandemic H1N1 vaccine, called Celvapan A/H1N1. The company said the vaccine was developed and produced within 12 weeks of receiving the H1N1 virus strain. In making the vaccine, Baxter applied the same processes used in gaining earlier European licensure of a mock-up pandemic vaccine, officials said. Clinical trials are scheduled to start this month.http://www.baxter.com/press_room/press_releases/2009/08_05_09-A-H1N1.htmlAug 5 Baxter news releaseCDC reports low sensitivity for rapid flu testsThe CDC reported today that it assessed several rapid influenza diagnostic tests and found they had low sensitivity, ranging from 40% to 69%. Sensitivity declined substantially when the clinical samples had lower levels of virus, the agency said in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Thus a positive result can guide treatment, but a negative result does not exclude a novel H1N1 infection. The agency evaluated the tests using 65 samples known to contain novel H1N1 or seasonal viruses.http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5830a2.htmAug 7 MMWR articleLarge insurer to cover novel H1N1 vaccineWellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance company in terms of membership, says it will cover administration of the novel H1N1 vaccine as it becomes publicly available, according to a story today from IFAwebnews. WellPoint operates as Anthem Blue Cross in Virginia and as Empire Blue Cross in New York. Members whose plans already provide coverage for vaccines will qualify for the added coverage.http://ifawebnews.com/2009/08/06/nations-largest-health-insurer-to-cover-h1n1-vaccine/Aug 6 IFAwebnews articlelast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *