This year’s flu season: Low activity level, antibiotic-resistant viral strain
ATLANTA Low levels of influenza activity throughout the majority of the season, coupled with the fact that the predominant viral strain this year showed some resistance to antiviral remedies, characterized the 2008/2009 influenza season, according to a report published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Friday.
After a slow start to the season, influenza activity increased in mid-January, peaked in mid-February and remained high until mid-March. Since mid-March, influenza levels have been decreasing nationally.
During this influenza season, a high level of resistance to the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) was detected among circulating influenza A (H1N1) viruses. Since October 1, 99.3% of influenza A (H1N1) viruses tested were resistant to Tamiflu. To date, influenza A has accounted for 67.3% of all influenza viruses identified, and influenza A (H1N1) has accounted for 89.8% of the influenza A viruses that were subtyped.
No oseltamivir resistance has been detected among influenza A (H3N2) or B viruses currently circulating in the United States; however, all the influenza A (H3N2) viruses tested were resistant to adamantanes (Symmetrel and Flumadine, for example). The adamantanes are not effective against influenza B viruses, either. None of the influenza A (H1N1) viruses tested were resistant to both oseltamivir and the adamantanes, and all influenza viruses tested this season have been susceptible to Relenza (zanamivir).
CDC issued interim guidelines for the use of influenza antiviral medications on Dec. 19, suggesting that health-care providers should review their local surveillance data if available to determine which types (A or B) and subtypes of influenza A (H1N1 or H3N2) are most prominent in their community and consider using diagnostic tests to distinguish influenza A from influenza B. When an influenza A (H1N1) virus infection or exposure is suspected, zanamivir is the preferred medication; combination therapy of Tamiflu and Flumadine is an acceptable alternative.
Since early February, the relative proportion of influenza B viruses had been increasing each week, and more than half of influenza viruses identified since the week ending March 14 were influenza B. Approximately 80% of influenza B viruses tested have not been related to the influenza B vaccine strain, however, all influenza B viruses this season have been susceptible to Tamiflu and Relenza. When the type or subtype is unknown, Relenza was the preferred medication, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted.
To date, this season, the cumulative laboratory-confirmed, influenza-associated hospitalization rate reported by EIP among persons greater than 49-years-old has been lower than rates reported for the previous three seasons, but most similar to the 2006/2007 season.
Nuvilex reduces suggested list price of Cinnergen
CHERRY HILL, N.J. Nuvilex, formerly eFoodSafety.com, last week reduced the suggested list price of Cinnergen, a cranberry cinnamon liquid supplement, corresponding with an advertising and promotion campaign that helps promote healthy glucose metabolism, raise customer awareness and garner increased demand for the product at the lower price point.
“By improving our marketing and sales efforts, we intend to raise awareness and drive demand for Cinnergen,” stated Martin Schmieg, Nuvilex chairman and CEO. “Engaging our retail partners with better pricing while maintaining current gross margin levels will help us in retail positioning, and the lower suggested retail price will be good for current and future Cinnergen users. Furthermore, our partnership with dLife will expose Cinnergen to the large pre-diabetic and diabetic population that is looking for healthy alternatives. We plan to closely monitor and track our Cinnergen advertising and promotion activities and hope to report a significant return on our investment.”
Nuvilex has executed a partnership agreement for the promotion of Cinnergen with dLife, the only multimedia network serving the diabetes community. The dLife advertising and promotion campaign is expected to launch in mid-April. The multimedia outlets include dLife TV, which airs every Sunday on CNBC at 7 p.m. With more than 80,000 pages of content, 9,000 diabetic recipes, and 400 videos, dLife.com is a leading online destination for diabetes information. The dLife network also includes: dLifeRadio, which can be heard on stations around the country and on XM Satellite Radio; and dLifeDirect, the only diabetes cooperative direct-mail program.
Phase one of the dLife partnership will include 1.2 million banner ads plus content integration on the dLife website, banner advertising in three upcoming dLife newsletters (350,000 circulation) and banner advertising in the upcoming Rite Aid Connect Newsletter (550,000 circulation). Nuvilex has engaged the Iridium Group to design its web and print placement ads and will also focus on improving its search positions with Google and Yahoo. Nuvilex also intends to promote Cinnergen on WebMD.
Effective May 1, Nuvilex will reduce the suggested retail price for a 32-ounce bottle of Cinnergen to $26.95 from $34.95. Additionally, lower multi-level wholesale pricing will be established to support the Company’s retail partners.
Nuvilex will discontinue production of the 16-ounce bottle size of Cinnergen.
Stem cells may curb insulin use for Type 1 diabetes patients, study finds
NEW YORK An experimental stem-cell treatment for juvenile-onset diabetes kept patients off insulin for at least a year, according to published reports.
According to WebMD, of patients recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes who received the treatment, more than half were able to go without insulin for at least a year, and four patients managed to go without it for at least three years. The treatment also uses drugs to suppress the immune system, however, and two of the patients contracted pneumonia.
The original study appears in the April 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.