December 2006 MedBytes: Influenza

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This month, Texas Medicine reports on the delivery of influenza vaccine during the 2006-07 season. The World Wide Web has many sites that provide additional information about the vaccine manufacturers and the systems in place for distribution.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC site at  is one of the top online resources for information. The site includes annual estimates of the available flu vaccine, recommendations on who should be vaccinated if there is a vaccine shortage, information on clinical description and diagnosis and how to control infection, and flu activity updates. CDC officials have also added a section on the avian flu that includes information on outbreaks, transmission between animals and people, vaccine availability, and infection control in health care facilities.

TexasDepartment of State Health Services
The agency has some of the same information you can find on the CDC site. But its Web site,, does have some Texas-specific information, including how the state plans to deal with a flu pandemic. It also has links to the CDC and to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

National Vaccine Program Office
The National Vaccine Program Office (NVPO), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides pertinent information about childhood, adolescent, and adult immunizations. The NVPO site,, contains the draft version of the national Pandemic Influenza Response and Preparedness Plan and a list of interagency groups that work with vaccine issues.

Novartis Vaccines, Inc.
Visitors to the Novartis site,, can read an overview of the company, press releases related to influenza, and the company's plans to combat avian flu. In 2004, Novartis won contracts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to provide H5N1 and H9N2 influenza vaccine candidates for NIAID-sponsored studies.  

Sanofi Pasteur
Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccine subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis Group, is the largest company in the world devoted entirely to human vaccines. It is also the largest producer of the influenza vaccine, producing an estimated 50 million doses for this season. Shipping began in September. The company's site,, contains press releases, information about vaccine production, and an update on the company's cell culture-based seasonal influenza vaccine. Also included are links to past press releases, an influenza multimedia kit, and details about Sanofi's other vaccinations.

This year, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that its FluLaval vaccine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for adults 18 years and older. GSK added FluLaval to its portfolio of flu products when it acquired the Canadian vaccine manufacturer ID Biomedical Corporation in December 2005. Its site,, provides product information, research and development updates, and a media center with the company's latest announcements. There also is an interactive timeline depicting the company's history.  

Home of FluMist, MedImmune began shipping the vaccine in July. FluMist is MedImmune's live, attenuated influenza vaccine approved for use in healthy people between ages 5 and 49. The company's site,, has detailed information about FluMist and the company's other products. Additionally, it contains a physician's guide to MedImmune's products and programs, as well as an online product request form.

MedBytes is a quick look at new, or newly discovered, Web sites of interest toTexasphysicians. The column also highlights features of the TMA Web site.  Publication of information about Web sites in this column is not to be considered an endorsement or approval by the  TexasMedical Association of the sites or sponsors, or of any products or services involved.


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