Desi swine flu vaccine ready for commercial use by April-May


NEW DELHI: Pune-based Serum India’s swine flu vaccine ‘Fluvac’ will be ready for commercial use by April-May, subject to all regulatory clearances. The Pune-based company received the drug regulators go-ahead on March 5 to carry out advanced safety tests on the vaccine —Phase II/III clinical trials crucial for its introduction in the market.

On Monday, it started clinical trials of nasal form of vaccine on 300 subjects at different locations around the country. After Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila, Serum Institute becomes the second company to have started Phase II/III trials, pushing it closer to the finishing line.

“The single dose vaccine will be available in two forms —nasal spray and as an injectable. The inhalation vaccine uses a live virus, which will be administered to three age groups. Further trials will be carried out later to test safety of the injectable vaccine on another set of people”, Serum Institute of India’s executive director S Jadhav told TOI.

The age group on which these trials will be administered is 9-19 years, 20-48 years and 48 and above. A single dose of the vaccine developed with egg-based technology will be initially tested in four cities across the country. The vaccine developed by indigenous players will most likely be administered as a single dose, and priced around Rs 150-200, sources close to the development said. (H1N1 vaccine globally cost between $9-15)

Swine flu hits 57 million Americans, kills 17,000

IT STINGS: A toddler gets a swine flu vaccine injection at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The infection proved virulent in America

The deadly H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu, may have affected more than 57 million Americans and killed as many as 17,000 of them, according to new official estimates.

Though 2,498 confirmed deaths linked to the H1N1 virus had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta as of January 30, the agency estimates that between 8,330 and 17,160 people actually have died from H1N1.

The overwhelming majority of the people who died – between 6,390 and 13,170 – were 18 to 64 years old, according to the CDC estimates released Friday. Between 880 and 1,810 children 17 years old and younger also died from this flu, it estimated.

In comparison, the CDC says that in a regular flu season, about 36,000 people in the United States die from seasonal flu, with 90 percent of the deaths usually occurring in people age 65 and older.

While the new figures show the H1N1 pandemic virus is still spreading, they also reflect a slowdown in the transmission of the illnesses since last October. The CDC had last estimated about 55 million Americans had been sickened, 246,000 were hospitalised and about 11,100 had died through mid-December.

While health officials have yet to declare the end of the influenza pandemic, a new round of widespread illness is increasingly unlikely now that a substantial portion of the American population has been either sickened by or vaccinated against the H1N1 pandemic virus. About 70 million people have been vaccinated.

In a separate weekly report of H1N1 influenza activity, the CDC said most influenza strains circulating as of Feb 6 are the H1N1 strain and not strains that cause seasonal influenza.

As of Feb 6, the majority of states reported “sporadic” transmission of the H1N1 virus, the CDC said. However, the CDC said doctor visits for influenza-like illnesses increased slightly over the previous week but “remain low overall.”

9 more swine flu deaths in India, toll goes up to 1044

Nine more people have died of influenza A (H1N1) in India, increasing the toll due to the swine flu pandemic in the country so far to 1044, an official statement said here today.

 Four of the deaths – two each in Gujarat and Rajasthan – were reported during the day today, it said.

 Besides, reports of five deaths that occurred in recent days – four in Karnataka and one in Himachal Pradesh – were received today from the health authorities of the states concerned, the statemet from the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare said.

 Of the total swine flu deaths in the country so far, Maharashtra now accounts for 284, while 158 lives have been lost in Rajasthan, 144 in Gujarat, 137 in Karnataka, 83 in Delhi, 52 in Andhra Pradesh, 35 in Punjab, 34 in Kerala, 33 in Haryana, 16 in Uttar Pradesh, 13 in Uttarakhand, 12 in Madhya Pradesh, 8 each in Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh, 7 in Tamil Nadu, 6 in Puducherry, 5 in Goa, 3 in Orissa, 2 each in Jammu & Kashmir and Chhattisgarh and 1 each in Assam and Mizoram.

 Meanwhile, 88 new cases of swine flu were reported from different parts of India today, including 23 in Gujarat, 22 in Delhi, 20 in Maharashtra, 8 in Uttar Pradesh, 5 in Rajasthan, 4 each in Karnataka and Haryana and 1 each in Assam and Tamil Nadu,

 With these, the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus reported in the country so far has gone up to 27,610, the statement added.

Tamiflu-resistant swine flu cluster in U.S

IS IT ENOUGH: A file picture of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu. A cluster of patients has already developed resistance to the drug in the US

 Four North Carolina patients at a single hospital tested positive for a type of swine flu that is resistant to the medication Tamiflu, said health officials on Friday.

The cases reported at the Duke University Medical Center over six weeks make up the biggest cluster seen so far in the U.S.

Tamiflu – made by Switzerland’s Roche Group – is one of two flu medicines that help against swine flu, and health officials have been closely watching for signs that the virus is mutating, making the drugs ineffective.

More than 50 resistant cases have been reported in the world since April, including 21 in the U.S.

Almost all in the United States were isolated, said officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cipla launches drug to treat H1N1 virus

  MUMBAI (Reuters) – Drug maker Cipla Ltd on Wednesday launched its generic version of Roche’s Tamiflu, used in the treatment of the H1N1 swine flu virus, the firm said in a statement.

 Cipla’s Oseltamivir brand, called Antiflu, will cost 475 rupees for 10 capsules, with 75 ml syrup will be similarly priced.

 Cipla’s drug is also pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation.

  (For more news on Reuters Money visit )







A nasal spray to boost your memory


THROUGH THE NOSE: An 11-year-old receiving H1N1 Influenza vaccine as a nasal spray in Miami. German scientists have developed a spray which they say will enhance short term memory

 A new nasal spray boosts short-term memory while you sleep, according to a team of German scientists at a sleep research lab.

In a research report in The FASEB Journal, the researchers show that a molecule from the body’s immune system (interleukin-6) when administered through the nose helps the brain retain emotional and procedural memories during REM sleep.

“Here, we provide the first evidence that the immunoregulatory signal interleukin-6 plays a beneficial role in sleep-dependent formation of long-term memory in humans,” writes Dr Lisa Marshall, co-author of the study, from the Department of Neuroendocrinology at the University of Luebeck in Germany.

Marshall and her team of scientists had 17 healthy young men spend two nights in the laboratory. On each night after reading either an emotional or neutral short story, they sprayed a fluid into their nostrils which contained either interleukin-6 or a placebo fluid.

The subsequent sleep and brain electric activity was monitored throughout the night.

The next morning subjects wrote down as many words as they could remember from each of the two stories. Those who received the dose of IL-6 could remember more words.

“If a nasal spray can improve memory, perhaps we’re on our way to giving some folks a whiff of common sense, such as accepting the realities of evolution,” wrote Dr Gerald Weissmann, editor-in-chief of The FASEB Journal.

“This is an exciting piece of interdisciplinary science since IL-6 had previously been considered a by-product of inflammation, not an agent that affects cognition.”

Dirty hands of docs, nurses act as germ superspreaders


Doctors and nurses who don’t wash their hands act as “superspreaders” of swine flu and other germs, a new research said.

Researchers at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, found that “the dirty hands of doctors and nurses act as germ superspreaders and cause more infections.”

The scientists led by Didier Guillemot created a mathematical model of a hypothetical intensive care unit (ICU) and they found that staff, who saw all patients briefly, were better at spreading germs than those who tended a few patients very closely.

If just one of the former always failed to wash their hands, it caused more infections than if the entire staff forgot one-quarter of the time, journal ‘New Scientist’ said.

Hospitals use the consumption of hand-hygiene products to monitor hand-washing, says team member Laura Temime of the National Conservatory of Arts and Trades in Paris.

“Our study suggests individual surveillance of hand hygiene would be better,” Temime added.