H1N1 Flu Has Mutated: Which companies may be able to help? Print
By Jude Santos & Wire Reports   
Thursday, 18 June 2009 04:17

The World Health Organization is closely monitoring the situation in Japan after three students from the

same high school who had not traveled abroad came down with the

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new H1N1 flu, a senior WHO official said.

The new strain of influenza appears to have mutated to become more infectious for humans, the online edition of science magazine Nature reported, referencing research by a team including Professor Yoshihiro Kawaoka of Tokyo University's Institute of Medical Science.

Companies with Certified Existing Treatments for Swine Flu

Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) /
Roche Holding Ltd. (OTC:RHHBY)
Product: Tamiflu (oseltamivir)

GlaxoSmithKline plc (NYSE:GSK) /
Biota Holdings Ltd.(ASX:BTA)
Product: Relenza (zanamivir)

Companies with Potential Vaccines
and Treatments for Swine Flu

Biota Holdings Ltd.(ASX:BTA) /
Daiichi Sankyo
Product: CS-8958

BioCryst Pharmaceuticals,Inc. (NASDAQ:BCRX)
Product: Peramivir Intravenous

Novavax, Inc. (NASDAQ:NVAX)
Product: Swine Flu Vaccines
using Virus-like particle (VLP) technology


MedImmune / AstraZeneca PLC (NYSE:AZN)
Product: needle-free, nasal spray swine flu vaccine by using Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV) technology

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS)
Product: Swine Flu Vaccine

Sanofi-Aventis SA (NYSE:SNY)
Product: Swine Flu Vaccine

Baxter International Inc.(NYSE:BAX)
Product: Swine Flu Vaccine

Companies with Adjuvants
for Swine Flu Vaccines


Hemispherx Biopharma (AMEX:HEB)
Product: Ampligen

Antigenics, Inc. (NASDAQ:AGEN)
Product: QS-21 Stimulon

Kawaoka, one of the

world's top leader on influenza research, will be delivering a speech at 8th INT'L BIO FORUM & BIO EXPO JAPAN, held in Tokyo Big Sight, Japan beginning on Wednesday, July 1 through Friday, July 3, 2009.

Dr. Kawaoka is very well known for the breakthrough of artificially-made influenza, as well as for remodeling ebola virus into a safe one which increases only in particular cells.

Although the new strain of Influenza identified this year that spread widely from Mexico seems to have converged, the next one is said to be coming in already without a sound; the mutant virus.

How science today can stand up against the highly-virulent influenza viruses will be discussed. His speech is also expected to focus on the comprehensive knowledge of influenza from a molecular biological point of view.

In addition, Dr. Yoshihide Hayashizaki of RIKEN will deliver a speech on "Prompt and Concise Influenza Diagnosis System" along with Dr. Yoshiyuki Nagai who will be presenting on "Proposal for Countermeasures against H1N1 Influenza"

The surface of influenza virus particles are covered with thorn-shaped proteins called hemagglutinin (HA), which allows the virus to stick to human cells. The surface of influenza virus particles are covered with thorn-shaped proteins called hemagglutinin (HA), which allows the virus to stick to human cells.

After analyzing multiple samples of the new flu virus, the team ascertained that in some cases the HA of the new H1N1 strain have mutated, allowing the strain to stick to human cells more easily. After analyzing multiple samples of the new flu virus, the team ascertained that in some cases the HA of the new H1N1 strain have mutated, allowing the strain to stick to human cells more easily.

According to Kawaoka, the same mutations have been found in HA of the H5N1 strain of influenza, the highly virulent bird flu, which kills about 60 percent of those it infects. According to Kawaoka, the same mutations have been found in the HA of the H5N1 strain of influenza, the highly virulent bird flu, which kills about 60 percent of those it infects. Kawaoka said the virus is still in the process of mutating into a form even more infectious to humans. Kawaoka said the virus is still in the process of mutating into a form even more infectious to humans.

Philippine health officials reported 33 newly-confirmed cases of Influenza A/H1N1 on Thursday, bringing the total to 344 in the Southeast Asian country.

South Korea's A/H1N1 flu cases rose by nine overnight to 79 on Thursday, health authorities said.  According to the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs, five additional cases of the flu were confirmed on Thursday, following Wednesday's nine new confirmed cases.

Another 110 people in England were confirmed with swine flu yesterday, taking the UK total to 1,585, the Health Protection Agency said.

Thailand has confirmed 113 new cases of swine flu, bringing the country's total to 518 cases, officials said Thursday.

Brazilian scientists, meanwhile, said they had identified a new strain of the swine flu virus after examining samples from a patient in Sao Paulo. The variant, A/Sao Paulo/1454/H1N1, showed mutations that allowed it to infect new hosts, the scientists said. It was not known if the new strain was more aggressive than the current A (H1N1) virus, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

The WHO said 36,000 people in 76 countries had been infected with the H1N1 virus, causing 163 deaths.

The Associate Press contributed to this report




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