FDA panel endorses overhaul for 2008-09 flu vaccine

first_imgFeb 22, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – With many of the influenza viruses now infecting people not matched well by this year’s flu vaccine, a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee recommended yesterday that producers use three new flu strains in next season’s vaccine, replacing all three components of this year’s version.FDA officials reported that the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously to follow the lead of the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommended last week that all three strains of this year’s vaccine for the northern hemisphere be replaced for next season.”FDA will now take the recommendation and make a final decision quickly,” FDA spokeswoman Peper Long told CIDRAP News.Changing one or two strains in the vaccine is not unusual, but Dr. Nancy Cox, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) influenza division, said changing all three is unprecedented.”This sounds like a major change, because this really hasn’t occurred before,” Cox said at a news briefing this afternoon. She said the change may not be as difficult for vaccine manufacturers as it might seem, because they have already had some experience with two of the strains, but how well the strains will grow is unpredictable.The flu vaccine is reformulated each year to try to keep pace with the fast-evolving viruses. The WHO and FDA recommend the strains for the vaccine in February to give manufacturers time to grow the viruses in chicken eggs and process them into vaccine doses. The choice of strains is an annual gamble, since the predominant viruses may differ from those in the vaccine, but most years the vaccine is reasonably on target.The three flu virus varieties in the vaccine include a type A/H1N1, type A/H3N2, and a type B. Last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that most of the H3N2 and B viruses it has analyzed this winter differed from the corresponding strains in the vaccine, but most of the H1N1 viruses tested so far continue to match up well with the vaccine.However, the WHO recommended replacing all three strains for next year’s vaccine, saying that the majority of recent H1N1 isolates differ from the H1N1 strain in the vaccine. At today’s briefing, Cox explained that in Europe, where H1N1 viruses are predominant this winter, they are “not so well matched with the vaccine.”The three strains recommended by the WHO and now by the FDA committee are:For the H1N1 component, a strain similar to A/Brisbane/59/2007, replacing A/Solomon Islands/3/2006For H3N2, an A/Brisbane/10/2007-like strain, replacing A/Wisconsin/67/2005For the B component, a B/Florida/4/2006-like strain, replacing B/Malaysia 2506/2004The Brisbane strains of H1N1 and H3N2 will be used in this year’s vaccine for the southern hemisphere, where the flu season runs from May through October, according to the WHO.Cox said that because the Brisbane H1N1 and H3N2 strains were picked for this year’s southern hemisphere vaccine, vaccine manufacturers already have had a chance to obtain and work with them, which should help them produce the new northern hemisphere vaccine.Experts were concerned about the Brisbane H3N2 strain a year ago, but it was not possible to add it to the vaccine at that point, Cox said. “Unfortunately, we did not have a viable egg isolate that could be used by the manufacturers, so it was necessary to continue to use the Wisconsin/67 strain in the vaccine,” she said.An Associated Press (AP) report published yesterday said producers of the southern hemisphere vaccine have found that the Brisbane H3N2 strain doesn’t grow very quickly in the laboratory. Cox said scientists are working on possible solutions to the problem of growing the strain, such as using a very similar virus found in Uruguay, the story said.At today’s briefing, Cox said, “One of the great limiting factors [in vaccine production] is how well the virus strains grow, and of course when you change strains, the growth properties are inherently unpredictable.”Of the flu viruses analyzed by the CDC so far this season, about 83% have been type A and about 16% have been type B, which tends to cause milder illness than type A, Cox said.Of the type A viruses, 63% have been H3N2 and 37% have been H1N1, she reported. H1N1 viruses—which in the United States have been well matched by the vaccine—predominated until early January, but since then the situation has reversed. Seasons in which H3N2 viruses are predominant tend to be more severe than those in which H1N1 strains predominate, experts say.See also: Feb 14 CIDRAP News story “WHO advises total makeover for 2008-09 flu vaccine”CDC’s weekly flu surveillance reporthttp://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htmlast_img read more

Jump-start aquaculture business with coaching from experts

first_imgFISH farms and hatcheries need propermanagement for these to prosper, so experts from the Southeast Asian FisheriesDevelopment Center Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC/AQD) are offeringaquaculture trainings with first-hand coaching to fish farmers, businessmen,and aquaculturists.  By Rossea H. Ledesma The aquaculture trainings havelectures, practical activities, and field trips with about 80 percent of thetraining sessions devoted to practical activities supervised by SEAFDEC/AQDscientists and experienced personnel. Some training activities are conductedin other stations such as the Binangonan Freshwater Station in Rizal, the DumangasBrackishwater Station in Iloilo, and Igang Marine Station in Guimaras. These training courses offered bySEAFDEC/AQD include hatchery, nursery, and grow-out culture of commodities suchas catfish, giant freshwater prawn, tilapia, sandfish, carp, abalone, seaweeds,marine fish species (grouper, milkfish, pompano, rabbitfish, sea bass, andsnapper), and mangrove crab. Site selection, design and construction of ahatchery and a pond are also among the special topics included in the trainingcourses. More information, including theschedule of SEAFDEC/AQD’s aquaculture training courses, can be accessed at www.seafdec.org.ph/training./PN SEAFDEC/AQD also has courses focusedon fish health diagnostics and feed formulation and preparation that areoffered upon the request. These topics are also covered by other aquaculture trainingcourses. “With the aim of boosting theaquaculture sector for food security, we always welcome those who want to trainwith us and we keep our lines open if they need further assistance after thetraining,” said Dan Baliao, chief of SEAFDEC/AQD.  “We translated our science-based aquaculturetechnologies into training packages for the adoption of aquaculturestakeholders and to uphold our mandate of developing and strengthening thecapacities of the aquaculture sector,” said Dr. Edgar Amar, head of the Trainingand Information Division. The training courses are based ondecades of scientific research and verification programs and are conducted at SEAFDEC/AQD’s main station in Tigbauan,Iloilo that is well-equipped with training facilities, research laboratories,and hatchery and broodstock facilities. Trainees study the anatomy and physiology of mangrove crab as one of the practical activities of the training course “Mangrove Crab (Mud Crab) Hatchery Operations” held at SEAFDEC/AQD’s Tigbauan Main Station on Aug. 12-Sept. 2, 2019. Photo by SEAFDEC/AQDlast_img read more