WHO confirms report will look at stockpiling of H5N1 vaccine

first_imgFeb 18, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – A World Health Organization (WHO) official confirmed today that the agency is working on a report suggesting that governments consider stockpiling H5N1 avian influenza vaccines, but he stressed that such a stockpile “would not solve the problem” if a flu pandemic emerges.New Scientist magazine published an article yesterday saying that the WHO was preparing to recommend that governments consider stockpiling H5N1 vaccines. The story depicted that move as a change in WHO policy, saying the agency has previously maintained that a vaccine for pandemic flu can’t be produced until a pandemic begins.Dick Thompson, WHO spokesman on infectious disease issues, confirmed by e-mail today that WHO will suggest possible stockpiling in an upcoming report. But he characterized this as not signaling a major policy change.”There is a paper which WHO has been developing, which looks at the pros and cons of stockpiling H5N1 vaccine,” Thompson told CIDRAP News in the e-mail message. “The paper, which will be formally published in about 4 weeks time, states that those which can (wealthy countries) may want to consider stockpiling H5N1 as part of their larger flu pandemic preparedness as it could serve as part of a first response.”But he said the paper also describes three disadvantages of stockpiling: H5N1 may not match the pandemic strain, the vaccine’s shelf life of up to 2 years is relatively short, and, because companies have not yet begun clinical trials, licensing of the vaccine is months away.”At the same time WHO emphasizes that a stockpile would not solve the problem—that a few million doses in wealthy countries globally still leaves significant gaps,” Thompson added. “Therefore all countries should be preparing a full pandemic response, which does not rely on the availability of a vaccine.”The WHO’s concern about a pandemic is based on the H5N1 avian flu in Southeast Asia. The virus has caused at least 55 human illness cases, 42 of them fatal, since late 2003.Thompson also took issue with the magazine article’s statement, “Until now the WHO has said that a vaccine cannot be made until a pandemic starts, as only then can it be based on the exact strain of the virus responsible.”Calling this “incorrect,” Thomspon wrote, “We have long stated that an H5N1 vaccine could be useful, and have been coordinating with vaccine producers for months to follow the process of H5N1 vaccine development.”A lengthy new WHO report, “Avian influenza: assessing the pandemic threat,” says that stockpiling a “true pandemic vaccine” in advance is not possible, because the vaccine must “closely match the actual strain of a pandemic virus and must therefore await its emergence.” However, the report says that bulk antigen that protects against the H5 virus can be produced and stored in advance.Two companies, Sanofi Pasteur and Chiron Corp., are currently under contract to make H5N1 vaccines for the United States. Each company received a contract in May 2004 to make small pilot batches. In September, Sanofi (formerly Aventis Pasteur) received a contract to make 2 million doses. US officials have said that clinical trials of those vaccines are expected to start soon. Chiron is also under contract to make 40,000 doses of an H9N2 vaccine, another flu strain regarded as having pandemic potential.Thompson said WHO officials met with a number of manufacturers last week to review the status of H5N1 vaccine production, but he provided no information on the results of the meeting.He also commented that the WHO has not changed its assessment of the risk of a pandemic.See also:WHO report “Avian influenza: assessing the pandemic threat”http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2005/WHO_CDS_2005.29.pdfJan 20 report by WHO Secretariat, “Influenza pandemic preparedness and response”http://www.wpro.who.int/entity/emerging_diseases/documents/docs/B115_44en.pdflast_img read more

Ulster win puts pressure on Tigers

first_img “Often in the Heineken Cup if you miss out on your opportunities it can come back to bite you late on. It was good to get that just before half-time and the second half just built on that. “Our defence has been outstanding when you think how many points we have scored over the last few weeks and we have only conceded one penalty. The players deserve a huge amount of credit for that. “We have worked on our defence in the last few seasons because if you want to compete against the best teams at the end of tournaments like this, your defence has to be your starting point.” “We knew we had to get five points to build some pressure on Leicester,” said Humphreys. “When we mapped out the season we said we wanted to be top of the table in the Heineken Cup at the end of round four and we are sitting well at the moment. “The pressure is now on them and we can sit down and relax when we watch their game on Sunday. “We would have probably taken four points before the game, so to come away with five means that is two jobs very well done over the last two weekends. “We have played against Benetton Treviso enough over the last few seasons to know what a threat they can be. We talked about replicating what we did last week, getting off to a good start and putting them under pressure. “We probably made too many mistakes in the first half but we were more clinical in the second half. Then we took the chances when they came along and I am delighted to get the five points.” However, Humphreys admitted the win was not quite as comfortable as the scoreline suggests. He said: “It was a pretty surreal experience with the fog and not many of us had seen conditions like it before. The Luke Marshall try just before half-time was crucial because we had had a few chances before that and missed out on them. Press Association The result saw Ulster win their opening four matches for the first time in their Heineken Cup history to move the 2012 runners-up seven points clear of the Tigers at the top of Pool Five. Ulster ran in four tries in Italy, with s econd-half scores from Craig Gilroy, Robbie Diack and Jared Payne accompanying a late first-half effort from Luke Marshall. Ulster director of rugby David Humphreys believes his side’s 35-3 bonus point victory over Benetton Treviso has heaped all the pressure on Leicester Tigers ahead of their fourth-round clash with Montpellier on Sunday.last_img read more

MLB hot stove: Phillies in on at least 3 big-name free agents, report says

first_imgEither player would fit on the team’s roster, it’s just a matter of the financial terms each player is seeking.Harper reportedly turned down a 10-year, $300 million deal with the Nationals at the end of the 2018 season. MLB hot stove: Orioles reportedly interview 6 managerial candidates According to USA Today, Philadelphia has interest in 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, Yankees reliever and two-time All-Star Zach Britton and another unnamed “mega” free agent.The #Phillies in on Dallas Keuchel and Zach Britton while also hoping to lure a certain mega free agent— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 11, 2018It is unclear from USA Today’s tweet which “mega” free agent is being referred to, but according to reports from Monday, Philadelphia is meeting with the agents of both third baseman Manny Machado and outfielder Bryce Harper. Related News The largest contract any player has signed in MLB history is the 13-year, $325 million contract Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in 2014.The most lucrative contract in terms of average annual value belongs to Zack Greinke, whose deal with the Diamondbacks is worth $34,416,667 per year.Philadelphia was in on Patrick Corbin earlier this offseason, but he ultimately signed a six-year, $140 million deal with the Nationals. The Phillies reportedly did not want to give the left-hander a sixth year in his deal. The Phillies said they were going to spend “stupid” money this offseason, but they haven’t done so just yet.That could change very soon though as the team is reportedly in on three big-name free agents this week.last_img read more