Flu Stock Upturn? President Has Declared an H1N1 National Emergency Print E-mail
By Staff and Wire Reports   
Saturday, 24 October 2009 10:56
President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency. The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements.

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)

Baxter International Inc. (NYSE: BAX)
A(H1N1) vaccine using its Vero cell culture technology

Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS)
Product: Influenza A(H1N1) vaccine using Cell-based manufacturing technology

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

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

Companies with Potential Treatments for Swine Flu

CEL-SCI Corporation (Amex: CVM)
Product: LEAPS-H1N1
Currently Under Special
Fast Track Trials Authorized by FDA

Companies with Potential Vaccines
and Treatments for Swine Flu

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

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

Inovio Biomedical Corporation (NYSE Amex:INO)
Product: SynCon™ H1N1 influenza DNA vaccines

Vical Incorporated(Public, NASDAQ:VICL)
Patented DNA delivery technology

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (Amex: SVA)
Product: Panflu(TM)

Wyeth (NYSE: WYE)
Product: PCV13 or Prevnar 13

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

Companies with Adjuvants
for Swine Flu Vaccines

BioSante Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Product: BioVant™ H1N1 adjuvant

Hemispherx Biopharma (AMEX:HEB)
Product: Ampligen

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

Other Technologies
Which Combat H1N1

Oculus Innovative Sciences, Inc.
Technology platform

Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTC:AEMD)
Product: Hemopurifier®

MedaSorb Technologies

Product: CytoSorb(TM)

The declaration that Obama signed allows Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers, if needed.

Hospitals could modify patient rules — for example, requiring them to give less information during a hectic time — to quicken access to treatment, with government approval.

The declaration, which the White House announced Saturday, allows HHS in some cases to let hospitals relocate emergency rooms offsite to reduce flu-related burdens and to protect noninfected patients.

Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made. Officials said this was not in response to any single development on an outbreak that has lasted months and has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States.

It was the second of two steps needed to give Sebelius extraordinary powers during a crisis. On April 26, the administration declared swine flu a public health emergency, allowing the shipment of roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually needed them. At the time, there were 20 confirmed cases in the U.S. of people recovering easily. There was no vaccine against swine flu, but the CDC had taken the initial step necessary for producing one.

"As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic," Obama wrote in the declaration.

Because of vaccine production delays, the government has backed off initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses would be available by mid-October. As of Wednesday, only 11 million doses had been shipped to health departments, doctor's offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The government now hopes to have about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.

The flu virus has to be grown in chicken eggs, and the yield hasn't been as high as was initially hoped, officials explained.

In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe is reporting that for the first time this fall, public health authorities described the state’s influenza outbreak as widespread, the highest category on the scale of disease spread. In a weekly surveillance report, officials said they had seen a “dramatic increase in influenza-like illnesses over the past few weeks’’ compared with early fall levels in previous years.

“We had always been predicting this,’’ Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director of the state Department of Public Health, said yesterday. “We knew the H1N1 [swine flu] virus was going to be increasing. We didn’t know when, but now we do. It’s here.’’

It was just six months ago that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that two children in California had developed a respiratory illness never before seen in humans, referring to the infection as "swine flu" in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Flu activity is now widespread in 46 states. Nationwide, visits to doctors for influenza-like-illness are increasing steeply and are now higher than what is seen at the peak of many regular flu seasons. In addition, flu-related hospitalizations and deaths continue to go up nation-wide and are above what is expected for this time of year.

Below is a summary of the most recent key indicators:

  • Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) increased steeply since last week in the United States, and overall, are much higher than what is expected for this time of the year. ILI activity now is higher than what is seen during the peak of many regular flu seasons.
  • Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu are climbing and are higher than expected for this time of year.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report has increased and has been higher than what is expected at this time of year for two weeks. In addition, 11 flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week; 9 of these deaths were confirmed 2009 H1N1, and two were influenza A viruses, but were not subtyped. Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 95 laboratory-confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths and another 7 pediatric deaths that were laboratory confirmed as influenza, but where the flu virus subtype was not determined.
  • Forty-six states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time. They are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This many reports of widespread activity are unprecedented during seasonal flu.
  • Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far are 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.

Last week the CDC reported that influenza activity increased dramatically in the U.S.

  • 4,855 (37.5%) specimens tested by U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) and National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) collaborating laboratories and reported to CDC/Influenza Division were positive for influenza.
  • All subtyped influenza A viruses being reported to CDC were 2009 influenza A (H1N1) viruses.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) was above the epidemic threshold.
  • Eleven influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported. Nine of these deaths were associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection and two were associated with an influenza A virus for which subtype is undetermined.
  • The proportion of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) was above the national baseline. All 10 regions reported ILI above region-specific baseline levels.
  • Forty-six states reported geographically widespread influenza activity, Guam and three states reported regional influenza activity, one state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico reported local influenza activity, and the U.S. Virgin Islands did not report.

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