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Hepatitis C is an infectious disease affecting the liver, caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). The infection is often asymptomatic, but once established, chronic infection can progress to scarring of the liver (fibrosis), and advanced scarring (cirrhosis) which is generally apparent after many years. In some cases, those with cirrhosis will go on to develop liver failure or other complications of cirrhosis, including liver cancer.
The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is spread by blood-to-blood contact. Most people have few symptoms after the initial infection, yet the virus persists in the liver in about 80% of those infected. Persistent infection can be treated with medication, such as interferon and ribavirin, and currently over half are cured overall. Those who develop cirrhosis or liver cancer may require a liver transplant, although the virus generally recurs after transplantion.
Acute hepatitis C refers to the first 6 months after infection with HCV. Between 60% to 70% of people infected develop no symptoms during the acute phase. In the minority of patients who experience acute phase symptoms, they are generally mild and nonspecific, and rarely lead to a specific diagnosis of hepatitis C. Symptoms of acute hepatitis C infection include decreased appetite, fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, itching, and FLU LIKE SYMPTOMS.
Generalized signs and symptoms associated with chronic hepatitis C include fatigue, flu-like symptoms, joint pains, itching, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, nausea, and depression.
Once chronic hepatitis C has progressed to cirrhosis, signs and symptoms may appear that are generally caused by either decreased liver function or increased pressure in the liver circulation, a condition known as portal hypertension. Possible signs and symptoms of liver cirrhosis include ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdomen), bruising and bleeding tendency, varices (enlarged veins, especially in the stomach and esophagus), jaundice, and a syndrome of cognitive impairment known as hepatic encephalopathy. Hepatic encephalopathy is due to the accumulation of ammonia and other substances normally cleared by a healthy liver.
That is just a little background on Hepatitis C. One or two more facts and I can begin showing you how this links back to the "novel" Influenza.
No vaccine protects against contracting hepatitis C, or helps to treat it. Vaccines are under development and some have shown encouraging results.
Here we go!
In the mid 1970s, Harvey J. Alter, Chief of the Infectious Disease Section in the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, and his research team demonstrated that most post-transfusion hepatitis cases were not due to hepatitis A or B viruses. Despite this discovery, international research efforts to identify the virus, initially called non-A, non-B hepatitis (NANBH), failed for the next decade. In 1987, Michael Houghton, Qui-Lim Choo, and George Kuo at CHIRON Corporationcollaborating with Dr. D.W. Bradley from CDC, utilized a novel molecular cloning approach to identify the unknown organism. In 1988, the virus was confirmed by Alter by verifying its presence in a panel of NANBH specimens. In April of 1989, the discovery of the virus, re-named hepatitis C virus (HCV), was published in two articles in the journal Science. 
**Chiron filed for several patents on the virus and its diagnosis. A competing patent application by** the CDC was dropped in 1990 after Chiron paid $1.9 million to the CDC and $337,500 to Bradley. In 1994 Bradley sued Chiron, seeking to invalidate the patent, have himself included as a co-inventor, and receive damages and royalty income. He dropped the suit in 1998 after losing before an appeals court.
"A competing patent application by** the CDC was dropped in 1990 after Chiron paid $1.9 million to the CDC and $337,500 to Bradley."
Well isn't that interesting? Wonder who Chiron is?
Chiron Corporation was a multinational biotechnology firm based in Emeryville, California that was acquired by Novartis International AG on April 20, 2006. It had offices and facilities in eighteen countries on five continents. Chiron's business and research was in three main areas: biopharmaceuticals, vaccines and blood testing. Chiron's vaccines and blood testing units have been combined to form Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, while Chiron BioPharmaceuticals will be integrated into Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
In 2004, Chiron attracted adverse media coverage after the UK government suspended its licence for manufacturing Fluvirin, an influenza virus vaccine, at its plant in Liverpool. This action left the United States government short of the vaccine.It later emerged that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may have been aware of the problem nine months earlier, but a miscommunication between the company and the FDA left the problem unsolved until the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency), the British equivalent of the FDA stepped in and suspended Chiron's licence. The company undertook a remediation program and succeeded in restoring the manufacuring license from MHRA in 2005.
In 2005, Novartis made an offer to buy Chiron. Initially this offer was rebuffed, but after the bid was substantially enhanced, Chiron was sold, and became part of Novartis in April, 2006.
O.K. Now take a look at this.(back to Hep C for just a minute)
The drug VIRAMIDINE, which is a prodrug of ribavirin that has better targeting for the liver, and therefore may be more effective against hepatitis C for a given tolerated dose, is in phase III experimental trials against hepatitis C. It will be used in conjunction with interferons, in the same manner as ribavirin. However, this drug is not expected to be active against ribavirin-resistant strains, and the use of the drug against infections which have already failed ribavirin/interferon treatment, is unproven.
Taribavirin (rINN; also known as viramidine, codenamed ICN 3142) is an antiviral drug in Phase III human trials, but not yet approved for pharmaceutical use. It is a prodrug of ribavirin, active against a number of DNA and RNA viruses. Taribavirin has better liver-targeting than ribavirin, and has a shorter life in the body due to less penetration and storage in red blood cells. It is expected eventually to be the drug of choice for viral hepatitis syndromes in which ribavirin is active. These include hepatitis C and perhaps also hepatitis B and yellow fever.
Taribavirin is as active against influenza as ribavirin in animal models, with slightly less toxicity, so it may also eventually replace ribavirin as an anti-influenza agent.
Tarbivirin was first reported in 1973 by J.T.Witkowski et al., then working at ICN Pharmaceuticals, in an attempt to find a more active derivative of ribavirin. Taribavirin is presently being developed by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International. Valeant is testing the drug as a treatment for chronic hepatitis C.
continued in next post.
[edit on 20-5-2009 by paxnatus]
Originally posted by amatrine
reply to post by wyleecoyote
Well here in Arizona it is already 103. How much hotter does it have to get?
I do no think the weather matter with this thing.
Im not one to rush my daughter to a doctor, but she was complaining of headache and her legs, and I was worried she had menningitis. She has only been to the doctor for yearly check ups. She barely gets ill. Then two weeks ago she was out of school for a week with nasty stomach bug, now this.
The next door neighbors kids , one who is in her same class, are also home very sick, same symptoms.
It is scary. It seems to be hitting all the kids here. I have not personally known many sick adults here so far.
[edit on 20-5-2009 by amatrine]
Geneva - United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged people to remain vigilant against swine flu on Tuesday as the number of cases around the world shot up to almost 10 000.
The UN health agency said cases had soared by more than 1 000 since Monday with 9,830 infections now in 40 countries, including 79 deaths.
The WHO has so far resisted pressure to declare a full-fledged swine flu pandemic, but anxiety about the spread of the virus - especially in Asia and the Americas - is growing.
Experts warned infections had probably already spread to other regions including the capital Tokyo, which with almost 36 million people is the world's most populous urban area.
A Victorian school has been alerted to the dangers of a potential swine flu outbreak after one of its pupils was confirmed as the state's first case of the H1N1 virus.
THE 27 grade three classmates of Victoria's first confirmed swine flu case, a nine-year-old boy, will be dosed with anti-viral drugs this afternoon and told to stay home in voluntary quarantine until next week.
The boy's 10-year-old brother, who is in grade five at the same inner Melbourne school in Clifton Hill, is also showing symptoms of the virus and if tests due tonight prove positive, then his class will also be given the drugs and told to stay home.
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A foreign national who had flu symptoms when he arrived in Taiwan May 18 from the United States via Hong Kong has been confirmed as Taiwan's first swine flu case, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Wednesday.
The 52-year-old doctor, who works aboard cruise liners, was discovered to have a fever of 38.3 degrees Celsius at a quarantine station upon arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Monday
He was taken to the nearby Taoyuan General Hospital by an ambulance to be put under quarantine and observation, said CDC Deputy Director-General Shih Wen-yi
After testing and double checking the doctor's samples, a CDC lab confirmed around 4 a.m. Wednesday that he was infected with swine flu, formally known as influenza A(H1N1), Shih said.
Massive vaccine deal makes Intercell's day
By Anna Lewcock, 02-Jul-2007
Related topics: Clinical Development, Phase I-II, Phase III-IV
One of the most significant deals to take place in the vaccine industry in the last ten years was signed late last night between vaccine heavyweight Novartis and biotech firm Intercell.
Through the agreement, Novartis gains access to over ten vaccine projects currently making up Intercell's portfolio, as well as exclusive access to Intercell's super-adjuvant IC31 to develop improved flu vaccines.
Intercell will receive an upfront payment of €270m (€120m in licence an option fees and €150 cash contribution through the purchase of 4.8 million shares), with potential milestone and royalty payments leading to multi-billion Euro revenues according to the Austrian firm.
***Not only is this Intercell's biggest deal to date, but the two companies claim it is a major landmark in the vaccine industry:***
"This is the most significant deal between two independent companies in the vaccine industry in the last decade," Intercell chief financial officer Werner Lanthaler told in-PharmaTechnologist.com.
**The partnership focuses on the development of bacterial vaccine products derived from Intercell's Antigen Identification Programme (AIP), with Novartis gaining opt-in rights to any existing unpartnered vaccine projects and access to all future vaccine candidates discovered by Intercell during the long-term collaboration.**
The technology platform focuses on the identification of novel antigens from a variety of pathogens, specifically concentrating on those antigens thought to induce the strongest immune response in humans. The approach compliments Novartis' own Reverse Vaccinology system, which selects vaccine candidates based on highly conserved antigen sequences.
Among the various projects now available to Novartis are Intercell's IC43 vaccine candidate for the treatment of hospital-acquired pseudomonas infections (currently in Phase II), and pre-clinical vaccine IC47 for use against pneumonia infections in the elderly and infants.
One of the other projects likely to be near the top of the two companies' target list is the development of an improved influenza vaccine. Novartis has gained exclusive access to Intercell's IC31 adjuvant for the development of flu vaccines, and also has non-exclusive rights to use the adjuvant in the development of vaccines in other disease areas.
Only a few weeks ago Intercell announced that an IC31-boosted flu vaccine would be put to the test in Phase I tests, helping to improve the immune response by triggering a response in T-cells as well as B-cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, Intercell is eligible to receive milestone of up to €100m during the development period of IC31 in novel flu vaccines, as well as double digit royalty payments tied to sales.
For other vaccines making use of the IC31 adjuvant in selected areas, Intercell will receive €30-€60m during the development phase and up to high single-digit royalties tied to sales performance for each product.
As well as this, the contract between the two companies also includes a co-development and profit-sharing arrangement to bring together the two firms' Hepatitis C vaccine programmes, with the intention of establishing solid leadership in the field.
According to the terms of the overall agreement, Intercell has responsibility for all costs through to the end of Phase II clinical trials, at which point Novartis will take over for Phase III development, manufacturing and commercialisation for any projects it chooses to continue.
Intercell already partners with several big names in the pharma industry, including Wyeth, Sanofi Pasteur and Merck & Co., but the company has stressed that this new agreement does not impact on any existing collaborations.
The deal has left Intercell with a comfortable cash cushion of over €300m, according to Lanthaler, as well as ensuring the company remains independent - a deliberate move which the firm believes will ultimately create more value for its shareholders.
January 15, 2009 16:00 CET
US Department of Health and Human Services awards Novartis USD 486 million contract to build manufacturing facility for pandemic flu vaccine
* Holly Springs, North Carolina site will have capacity to provide 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of declaration of influenza pandemic
* Novartis novel cell-based manufacturing technology vital alternative to traditional egg-based vaccines production
* Commercial production of pre-pandemic and seasonal flu vaccines planned after completion in 2012
* Plant to provide 300 highly skilled jobs at opening
Basel, January 15, 2009 -- Novartis announced today that the US Department of Health and Human Services, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (HHS, BARDA) has awarded Novartis Vaccines a contract for up to USD 486 million over eight years to support the design, construction, validation, and licensing of U.S. cell-based influenza vaccine manufacturing facilities in Holly Springs, North Carolina, to provide a pre-pandemic supply of influenza vaccine and to provide the capacity to manufacture 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of declaration of an influenza pandemic.
"I am delighted that Novartis Vaccines' facilities in Holly Springs will be able to support the US Government's ability to respond quickly to a potential pandemic, as well as contribute to America's vaccine infrastructure for seasonal flu," said Dr. Joerg Reinhardt, Chief Operating Officer of Novartis. "We believe that this contract award underscores the US Government's commitment to ensure pandemic vaccine supply, and reflects their confidence in Novartis."
A major advantage of Holly Springs' future influenza cell culture production is that it will not rely on the availability of eggs. Avian influenza virus is currently considered the most likely source of the next pandemic - and it is lethal to both chickens and their eggs. Without eggs, traditional influenza manufacturing techniques cannot produce vaccines, so the Holly Springs flu cell culture production capabilities would be a vital alternative.
"This HHS contract builds on the strategic investment made by Novartis in vaccines innovation, and reinforces the significant financial and technology investments we have already committed to Holly Springs," added Dr. Andrin Oswald, CEO of Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. "We currently anticipate that by 2012 the site will provide jobs for more than 300 highly skilled people with the capability to produce cell-based seasonal flu vaccine, pre-pandemic vaccine and 150 million doses of pandemic vaccine within six months of the declaration of an influenza pandemic."
Under the contract, Novartis is responsible for, among other things, pre-construction document development, land use and zoning, construction, commissioning, validation and licensing of the facilities (which are already under construction in Holly Springs, North Carolina), with the goals of regulatory licensure, manufacture and release of seasonal and pre-pandemic vaccine, as well as provision for pandemic vaccine supply in the event of a pandemic. The contract also requires Novartis to provide two commercial-scale annual lots of pre-pandemic vaccine for a minimum of three years.
In addition, HHS has the right to exercise options to purchase additional influenza vaccine over 17 years.
Influenza is a contagious, potentially serious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that attack the upper respiratory tract. It can cause mild to severe illness, and can lead to death. Influenza viruses easily spread from person to person in respiratory droplets created by coughing and sneezing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year an estimated 3 to 5 million people worldwide become seriously ill from influenza, and as many as 500,000 - primarily children and the elderly - die from ensuing complications. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that, in the US alone, the total economic burden (including direct medical costs, lost wages and impacts on productivity) imposed by such epidemics averages somewhere in the neighborhood of USD 87 billion every year.
About pandemic influenza
Pandemic influenza occurs when a new influenza virus emerges that causes serious illness and is easily transmitted among humans. In this situation, the virus can result in a worldwide outbreak of disease, or pandemic. Pandemic influenza occurred three times in the last century. Avian influenza, or "bird flu," does not normally infect humans, but recent outbreaks of H5N1 avian influenza have resulted in hundreds of human cases, with a mortality rate of more than 50%. Billions of birds have been destroyed in an effort to contain the virus, which is now considered endemic in parts of Asia.
The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "will," "planned, "potential," "believe," "commitment," "strategic," "anticipate," "would," "can," or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding the potential completion of construction of the production facility at Holly Springs, the potential commencement of and continued successful production of vaccines at Holly Springs, regarding the amounts to be paid by the government under the agreement described in this release, or regarding potential future revenues from vaccines produced at Holly Springs. You should not place undue reliance on these statements.
Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of the Company regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results at the Holly Springs facility to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements.
There can be no guarantee that we will complete construction at Holly Springs, commence production there, or successfully continue production of vaccines there. Nor can there be any guarantee that we will be paid the full amount referred to in this release. Neither can there be any guarantee that vaccines produced at Holly Springs will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future.
In particular, management's expectations regarding the Holly Springs production facility and vaccines produced there could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected construction difficulties or delays; unexpected production difficulties or delays, including difficulties or delays relating to the novel cell-culture production technique to be employed there; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; the company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group's assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group's consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG's current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Novartis AG provides healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Focused solely on healthcare, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines, diagnostic tools and consumer health products. Novartis is the only company with leading positions in these areas. In 2007, the Group's continuing operations (excluding divestments in 2007) achieved net sales of USD 38.1 billion and net income of USD 6.5 billion. Approximately USD 6.4 billion was invested in R&D activities throughout the Group. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 97,000 full-time associates and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit www.novartis.com....
 WHO Fact Sheet No. 211. March 2003
Liberty woman who works at a home for developmentally disabled adults in Fallsburg has been diagnosed with the first confirmed case of swine flu in Sullivan County, one of 14 New York counties outside New York City where the H1N1 virus now has surfaced.
The woman began to feel ill May 13, three days after attending a Mets game in New York City, and has been home from her job at New Hope Community since then, county officials said Tuesday.
Shiga became Japan’s third prefecture with an outbreak of the new H1N1 influenza Wednesday in a sign of further spread of the flu in western Japan, bringing along with other new cases the tally of infections in the country to 238, while some local authorities began to upgrade their anti-epidemic steps.
FEDERAL Health Minister Nicola Roxon says there's no need for Australians to be alarmed about the threat of a swine flu outbreak, despite two new cases of the virus being confirmed.
Authorities today announced a nine-year-old boy in Melbourne and a 28-year-old New South Wales woman had tested positive for the disease after returning from trips to the US.
"There's no cause for alarm. We will need to respond to this as the situation develops and it may be in this instance that the situation will develop very quickly," she said.
"I need to reiterate to the community that we are very well placed to deal with any outbreak of swine flu here in Australia."
Originally posted by ecoparity
Severe Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Community-Acquired Pneumonia Associated with Influenza --- Louisiana and Georgia, December 2006--January 2007
Staphylococcus aureus infection has been reported infrequently as a cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) and typically has been associated with influenza virus infection or influenza-like illness (ILI).* During the 2003--04 influenza season, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) gained attention as a cause of 15 cases of influenza-associated CAP† (1). No formal surveillance has been conducted, and few additional cases of MRSA CAP were reported to CDC during the 2004--05 and 2005--06 influenza seasons. However, in January 2007, CDC received reports of 10 cases of severe MRSA CAP, including six deaths, among previously healthy children and adults in Louisiana and Georgia during December 2006--January 2007. These were the first reported cases of severe MRSA CAP during the 2006--07 influenza season in the two states, and 10 was a higher number than expected for the 2-month period. A case of severe MRSA CAP was defined as pneumonia requiring hospitalization or resulting in the death of a patient from whom a specimen (i.e., sterile site or sputum sample) yielded MRSA when collected
this is not a mutation, it's a co-infection (infection with flu and MRSA). Keep in mind the best place to pick up MRSA is in a hospital.
CDC 2007 MRSA Co infection Reports
[edit on 19-5-2009 by ecoparity]
Our “national pastime”? Baseball? Wrong.
Among Americans, the real favorite is fear of the unknown. It’s science fiction come to life, with emphasis on the fiction.
Heard any Swine Flu tales this week? Nah, “H1N1, formerly known as Swine Flu,” is so yesterday. It was way over two weeks ago when oinker disease dominated every newscast and newspaper.
Well, the results are in. After masks, school closings, and not eating pork, even though the “possible pandemic” had no connection to pork consumption, as of last Sunday, the total number of folks, worldwide, who went to their great reward as a possible result of swine flu was 72. By comparison, the average number of people, in just the USA, not worldwide, killed each day in automobile accidents is 115.
Remember when spinach was pulled from the shelves over the e-coli scare, or peanut butter was going to do us all in with, again, e-coli being the culprit? The average number of deaths from e-coli in this country each year is 67.
Meanwhile over 443,000 Americans (over 18 percent of all deaths) die each year because of smoking.
That’s well over a thousand a day. Last I heard, cigarettes were still for sale in America’s supermarkets.
But tobacco has long been known to be a killer. It’s the unknown that grabs our attention.
Despite dire warnings to the contrary, I’ve been lucky enough to live a long life. During the many years spent strolling Planet Earth, imminent death supposedly lurked just around the corner in any number of forms.
Culled from memory is a partial list of the various doomsday scenarios I somehow managed to avoid:
Ebola virus, bird flu, the Trilateral Commission, swine flu, Y2K, SARS, a dot.com virus almost every week for the past decade, sub-prime meltdowns, mad cow disease, e-coli, commies, the domino theory, hepatitis run amok in restaurants, Hillary Clinton’s health plan, global thermonuclear war, radon poisoning (so bad that according to McCall’s magazine back in the ’70s, Grand Junction would cease to exist; as it turned out, McCall’s was the one going toes up), NAFTA, nuclear attacks from Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, France (France?) and China, global warming, plus West Nile fever.
Luckily, the latest threat to humanity, swine flu, is behind us. At least until November. Come winter, two things are certain to happen — a rise in the price of orange juice due to the (pick one) drought, freeze or tree canker affecting the Florida crop and two, flu vaccine for next year will lack the right combination of ingredients to protect against the latest strain heading our way directly from some Third World country.
We will, however, get our flu shots and, as in years past, make it through the winter relatively unscathed.
Now, with H1N1 in our rear-view mirror, we must disregard piddly issues like war in Iraq and Afghanistan, an economy in the dumper and the Rockies in last place, to concentrate on the real issue facing America today: Stock up on ammo because President Obama is going to take away our bullets.
Don’t say it isn’t going to happen. There was an article about the president’s stealth plan for bullet removal in a supermarket tabloid and it’s all over the Internet. How much more proof does one need?