Zoonotic Vaccines

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Last reviewed
November 4, 2022

Zoonotic Vaccines 2022

Zoonotic diseases are caused by harmful germs, bacteria, parasites, and fungi, says the U.S. CDC. These germs can cause many different types of illnesses in people and animals, ranging from mild to serious illnesses. Zoonotic influenza refers to diseases caused by animal influenza viruses, says the WHO

People can be infected with various influenza viruses circulating in animals, such as avian influenza (Bird Flu) and swine influenza virus subtypes. The OIE World Animal Health Information System publishes a database through which information on the animal health situation worldwide is reported.

As of October 2022, the U.S. CDC says annual 'flu shots' do not prevent human zoonotic influenza infections. However, Zoonotic influenza vaccines have been stockpiled by the government to prepare for pandemics.

Avian Influenza Vaccines

Avian influenza (Bird Flu) is a disease caused by influenza type A viruses among wild birds and domestic poultry. Humans do not normally contract Avian flu viruses; however, human infections have occurred and are very lethal. Three subtypes of avian influenza A viruses infect people (H5, H7, and H9 viruses). Asian lineage H5N1 and H7N9 have caused the most human infections among these. Avian influenza A viruses are classified into low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI) and highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) based on their molecular characteristics and ability to cause disease and mortality.

Breaking Avian influenza news is published on this webpage.

Pandemic Influenza Vaccine

If the influenza A(H5N1) virus changes and becomes easily transmissible from person to person while retaining its capacity to cause severe disease, the consequences for public health could be significant. And Pandemic influenza is a novel contagious respiratory disease passed between people in which the severity is unpredictable because human immune systems have not established natural defenses. 

The most recent pandemic occurred in 2009, caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus. Estimates indicate that the pandemic caused up to 400,000 deaths globally, with about 12,000 people in the U.S. In April 2007, the U.S. FDA licensed the first inactivated influenza vaccine for people at increased risk of exposure to the H5N1 influenza virus subtype. It was derived from the A/Vietnam/1203/2004 influenza virus a, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. 

The U.S. National Influenza Vaccine Modernization Strategy and the White House American Pandemic Preparedness Plan outline U.S. priorities. In addition, the CDC's Influenza Risk Assessment report was recently issued in Dec. 2021. The U.S. FDA approved the first adjuvanted, cell-based influenza vaccine, AUDENZ™, in 2020. And the FDA recently granted supplemental approval for a multi-dose vial presentation of Seqirus' AUDENZ on November 23, 2021. And on February 25, 2022, BARDA requested that Seqirus provide influenza vaccines (AUDENZ) and adjuvants for pre-pandemic stockpiling or manufacturing to support rapid response to an influenza pandemic or other public health emergencies.

And the U.S. government purchased about 50,000 doses of RAPIVAB, with U.S. FDA approval (2014) for the intravenous infusion for acute uncomplicated influenza in patients six months and older who have been symptomatic for no more than two days.

Additionally, the U.S. government signed a multi-year contract on October 4, 2022, for a potential total investment of up to $1 billion in the development of influenza (VIR-2482) and other emerging infectious disease or medical countermeasure candidates.

Furthermore, four pandemic preparedness vaccines are authorized in Europe, which can be modified into pandemic influenza vaccines. The EMA conditionally Authorized AstraZeneca's Pandemic influenza vaccine H5N1 (P/LAIV) in May 2017 to prevent pandemic influenza in children and adolescents.

Swine Influenza (Swine Flu)

When an influenza virus in swine is detected in a person, it is called a "variant influenza virus," says the CDC. When animal influenza viruses infect their natural host, they are named for that host, as in avian influenza viruses, swine influenza viruses, equine influenza viruses, etc. The term "swine flu" refers to swine influenza viruses infecting swine. There are different swine influenza virus subtypes and strains, some of which infect other animal species, including (rarely) humans. Most human infections with variant influenza viruses occur following close proximity to swine. However, human-to-human transmission can occur. 

On November 4, 2022, a total of ten human infections with variant novel influenza A viruses were reported in the U.S. during 2022, including five H3N2v (Michigan (1) West Virginia (3)) and five H1N2v (Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Wisconsin) viruses, the most cases in five years. The CDC issued Health Alert Network Health Advisory CDCHAN-00473 on August 30, 2022, summarized the CDC’s recommendations. 

In India, Maharashtra reported 3,585 H1N1 cases and 204 fatalities as of September 30, 2022.

The first swine influenza virus was found in pigs in 1918. In April 2009, a swine flu outbreak was first detected in Mexico and was caused due to the H1N1 virus. Since 2005, 504 variant influenza virus infections (of different influenza A virus subtypes) have been identified in the United States; most of these infections have been associated with exposure to pigs or attendance at an agricultural fair prior to illness onset. The CDC published an interactive analysis of Novel Influenza A Virus Infections in the U.S.

Companies operating in the global swine flu vaccine market are Novartis AG, CSL Limited, Zydus Cadila, AstraZeneca plc, Medimmune, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi SA, Baxter, and Sinovac Biotech Ltd.

African Swine Fever

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting domestic and feral swine of all ages. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the FDA say ASF cannot be transmitted from domestic and wild pigs to humans.

Langya Henipavirus

Langya henipavirus (LayV), also known as Langya virus, is a species of henipavirus detected in China's Shandong and Henan provinces. Media reports indicated that 35 people were infected from 2018 to August 2022. Hendra virus and Nipah virus from this genus are known to infect humans, with fruit bats as the natural host of both viruses.

Zoonotic Infection Identification

This ECDC document, published on October 3, 2022, offers guidance for public health and laboratory experts in identifying human infections with animal influenza viruses as early as possible to provide early warning and inform risk assessments and public health measures.

Zoonotic Vaccine News For 2021 - 2022

October 4, 2022 - Vir Biotechnology, Inc. announced that the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority had awarded Vir a multi-year contract with the potential for up to $1 billion to advance the development of a full portfolio of innovative solutions (VIR-2482) to address influenza and potentially other infectious disease threats.

August 25, 2022 - BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced that the U.S. HHS department had exercised its option to purchase an additional 10,000 doses of BioCryst’s antiviral influenza therapy, RAPIVAB®, for approximately $7 million.

August 19, 2022 - The U.S. CDC reported a variant H1N2 (H1N2v) case in an adolescent patient confirmed by the Oregon Health Authority.

August 12, 2022 - GAVI published: Five things you need to know about the Langya virus.

August 12, 2022 - The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources and the CDC confirmed three people had developed influenza-like illnesses after working closely with swine at the Jackson County Fair. Laboratory Services returned the presumptive positive influenza A(H3N2) variant (A(H3N2)v) virus on at least one child specimen.

August 9, 2022 - China's Shandong and Henan provinces have detected a new zoonotic virus, the Langya virus.

July 22, 2022 - The Times of India reported the state-wide total of H1N1 swine flu cases is 142, including seven fatalities in 2022.

July 15, 2022 - The Government of Canada signed a new contract with GlaxoSmithKline to support sustained influenza pandemic readiness.

June 15, 2022 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of African swine fever. Through an outreach and awareness campaign called "Protect Our Pigs," APHIS will support commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners with information and resources.

June 3, 2022 - The two swine flu patients - a 38-year-old man and a 28-year-old woman - who tested positive for the H1N1 virus are undergoing treatment in India.

May 20, 2022 - According to CTV News reporting, veterinary officials in Alberta, Canada, have detected the HAPI virus in dead skunks.

May 19, 2022 - Germany notified the WHO of one laboratory-confirmed human case of infection with a swine-origin influenza A(H1N1) virus in North Rhine-Westphalia. The (H1N1v) case was not hospitalized and has since recovered. Although the patient had no direct contact with swine, the individual lived in a region with many swine farms and had swine farmer contacts.

May 13, 2022 - Influenza at the human-animal interface summary and assessment - WHO.

May 12, 2022 - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources received confirmation that three red fox kits died from highly pathogenic avian influenza, the state's first such confirmation of the HPAI virus in wild mammals. The fox kits, collected in April 2022, came from three separate dens in Lapeer, Macomb, and St. Clair counties in Michigan.

May 11, 2022 - Anoka County, Minnesota, confirmed a wild fox (kit) tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza, the first confirmed case in a wild mammal in Minnesota. Last week, two red fox kits in Ontario, Canada, tested positive for HPAI. Those kits were the first reported cases of the current HPAI outbreak in a wild mammal in North America.

April 27, 2022 - A study published by the University of Pittsburg found: Computational exploration of free parameters between strains suggests that the production rate of interferon is the primary driver of strain-specific immune responses observed in vivo and points toward the relationship between the viral load and lung epithelial interferon production as the primary source of variance between infection outcomes. 

April 26, 2022 - China's National Health Commission (NHC) announced the first known human (boy) infection from H3N8 avian influenza. Experts' preliminary assessment believes that the H3N8 avian influenza virus is of avian origin. The H3N8 virus has been detected in horses, dogs, birds, and seals worldwide. This case is an occasional bird-to-human cross-species transmission, and the risk of a large-scale epidemic is low, says the NHC.

April 20, 2022 - Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection reported a man from Sichuan province was confirmed with the H5N6 avian flu virus. China has reported 13 H5N6 cases in 2022, H5N6 is known to circulate in poultry in a handful of Asian countries, and infection in humans is often severe or fatal.

March 23, 2022 - The journal Vaccines reported, 'A cell-based process may be better suited for vaccine production during an HPAI pandemic; aH5N1c influenza vaccine (Audenz) elicited high levels of antibodies following two vaccinations.'

March 13, 2022 - The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture announced a $13-million investment in research that explores novel therapies and prevention strategies for animal diseases. Cornell University received $642,000 to develop more effective vaccines to protect against the swine flu virus. And the University of Minnesota also received a $500,000 grant to study how novel influenza viruses emerge, persist, and transmit in pigs and how population dynamics and epidemiological factors affect influenza virus emergence, evolution, and control. 

February 25, 2022 - Seqirus and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority announced an agreement to strengthen influenza pandemics preparedness and rapid response capabilities.