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Flu vaccine delay could boost Durham company's treatment

Posted October 21, 2009

— A Durham company may be the beneficiary of the government’s race to produce and provide vaccinations and treatments for the H1N1 flu virus.

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services, said Wednesday that approval could come within days for emergency intravenous use of experimental new antiviral drugs, including Peramivir, which is being developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals.

Sebelius admitted Wednesday that production of vaccine for the H1N1 virus is behind schedule, and people should take precautionary steps to prevent its spread.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said "more vaccine is coming out every day," but production isn't where it was expected to be at this juncture.

She said officials expect "widespread availability" by mid-November.

Approval of new drugs would complement existing supplies of the flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, could help patients too sick to take pills or use an inhaler, and would add to choices available if and when the virus develops resistance to the current drugs, Reuters news service reported.

"The good news is we have encouraging results from several different candidates, and we anticipate final decisions being made by the scientists very shortly," Sebelius said in a speech to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

She called a decision on the drugs “imminent.”

Of drugs in that class, BioCryst’s entry is the furthest along in development.

Chief Executive Jon Stonehouse called his product “the most potent inhibitor of the H1N1 virus."

"What's encouraging about Peramivir is we've got a drug in an IV form that gets in quickly and hits the virus hard when you need a drug to work quickly," he said.

BioCryst received fast-track approval in 2006 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop the drug and is working with an agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a $180 million grant to complete clinical trials.

It is already in limited use by a handful of physicians nationwide in cases where other treatments for flu have failed. At least seven critically ill patients have recovered after taking Peramivir, officials said.

"We are very encouraged by the results, but the scientists will lead our recommendations in terms of getting that antiviral on the market," Sebelius said.

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  • SEOpro Oct 21, 2009

    I would no more buy a vaccine from China to be shot into my body than I would buy tainted lead-painted toys for my kids.

    I find it interesting and alarming that the majority of Americans will follow instructions without question.

    I find it disturbing that both live and suppressed virus components are being injected or nasally applied to our children - again, without question.

    I think is is reprehensible that the media is being used by the government to achieve their agenda in being able to order and demand mandatory injections to every living person in the US of A. In addition, these "vaccines" have not been adequately tested. As far as we know, there is no standard for the vaccine cultivation. No two manufacturers are alike?

    Since when does government come in and buy you a t.v. converter box, shower your banking mogul crooks with billions and then call for mass, mandatory "injections" of relatively unknown substances to every single citizen with no right to refuse?

    2009.

  • patriotsrevenge Oct 21, 2009

    Hmmmmm, second story on this in 2 days......have much stock in BioCryst Mr. WRAL editor???

  • Steven Oct 21, 2009

    Gotta love all the misinformation or outright lies being posted on another H1N1 story again.

  • concerncitizen Oct 21, 2009

    H1N1 Media Scare! This morning while watching the Early Show on WRAl I saw one of the most amazing things. A dog chasing it tail! The commentator was hysterical almost trying to get the guest from the CDC to tell her when enough H1N1 would be available! Now what amazing about that? The news media started this scare! It has been reported by them that the regular flu has killed more people the the H1N1 ever has! It was amazing to see the commentator chasing her on hype!!!!!!! To the point of being hysterical! It just keeps going around and around! Finally the poor guest said maybe mid November! The commentator smile and said thanks for your time!!! The commentator looked like she had won something special!

  • fiestysp Oct 21, 2009

    Experimental!!!! I won't be taking the swine flu vaccine if they do get more, they came up with this shot way to fast, I still question if it is safe or not..........sure people seem ok that have taken it so far, but whats the long term affect?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Oct 21, 2009

    By mid-November it won't be an issue. H1N1 is running rampant through our schools.

    Most people will have had H1N1 by mid-November the way things are going.

  • momnay Oct 21, 2009

    This is crazy! First the media and "officials" talk about this potential world wide pandemic- then low and behold, it "becomes" a "world wide pandemic with increasing numbers of death worldwide" but fail to keep it in perspective with the seasonal flu thereby causing world wide panic. Then there is the rush for a vaccine which is produced with minimal testing and rolled out into a "hungry market". Announcements are made that "the vaccine is locally available" - but through all this there are more facts left out than included. The vaccine is only available in limited quantities and only administered to those in "risk" categories with NO underlying health conditions - those are the people who are dying from complications!!!! Also, you should not get the H1N1 vaccine and the seasonal vaccine within 2-4 weeks of each other so that you can isolate your reactions. Also, the H1N1 vaccine is not fully effective for 3 weeks!

  • Citizen7265 Oct 21, 2009

    Of even greater concern is the ugly secret many are not aware of....many counties are no longer even testing for the flu because the numbers are so high they would have to begin closing businesses if the actual numbers were known. I am not a healthcare employee, but have been told this time and again by numerous nurses in the area. We really have our priorities in order........

  • Worland Oct 21, 2009

    We'll just have to wait for China to ship us another batch of H1N1 vaccine. It seems none of the flu vaccines are made in the USA. Since Hillary Clinton stuck her nose into health care back in the 1990's, the vaccine producers in the U.S. decided it was in their best interest to move their operations off shore. This was recently high lighted as a National Security issue.

  • Killian Oct 21, 2009

    Wow, that's profound. "Practice prevention!" Yeah. Thanks.

    Michie asked: "Is the flu really as bad as they say it is?"

    Depends on who you ask. =) The vaccine is only available to groups considered "high risk" for now, so if you're an average, everday adult, don't bother asking for it. However, it's that exact age group that now has the highest incidence of death attributed to H1N1. (Source: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/story/1278611.html)

    I am just getting over having H1N1 and man, it was obnoxious for a few days. I was never in any danger, despite a heart condition (that increases my risk factor), but I'm still feeling cruddy. I'm back at work with no fever, but I feel like a worn out dish rag. And from what I hear, I can expect to feel that way for 2wks.

    Hopefully more of the vaccine will come available, but really, for most people, it'll have been too little, too late.

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