November 14, 2009

CDC Update

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) analyzes influenza activity and publishes key findings each week.

Key Flu Indicators

FluView.*

During the week of November 1-7, 2009, a review of key indicators found that certain indicators declined, while others continued to rise. Overall, flu activity in the United Sates remained very high. Below is a summary of the most recent key indicators:

  • Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) nationally decreased this week over last week. This is the 2nd week of national decreases in ILI after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases. (Visits to doctors for ILI is still higher than what is seen during the peak of many regular flu seasons.
  • Total influenza hospitalization rates for laboratory-confirmed flu continue to climb and remain higher than expected for this time of year.
  • The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report continues to increase and has been higher than what is expected for six weeks now.
  • Forty-six states are reporting widespread influenza activity at this time; This many reports of widespread activity at this time of year are unprecedented during seasonal flu.
  • Almost all of the influenza viruses identified so far continue to be 2009 H1N1 influenza A viruses. These viruses remain similar to the virus chosen for the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, and remain susceptible to the antiviral drugs oseltamivir and zanamivir with rare exception.
Our inferences and predictions:
The rare exception as well as the cases of hospitalization both seem to be good candidates for increased use of peramivir (BCRX) or intravenous Relenza (GSK)/Tamiflu (RHHBY.PK).

November 10, 2009

NVAX Special Opinion

If any new investors to NVAX are panicking because of this article on Motley Fool, fear not. The Fool used to be a good source, but with their open source approach of letting anyone write articles, it has become a general bulletin board where everyone is free to dish their opinion. For instance, the author Tim Hanson has completely missed Novavax's long standing work in virus like particle (VLP) technology based vaccines for seasonal flu.
In fact NVAX is currently initiating phase II studies on comparing the dosing of its VLP based vaccine to existing flu vaccines (of other companies) {press release pdf}.

The problem with this approach is that there is no objective or comprehensive coverage of companies. Instead, we have a piecemeal approach picking on factors and comments on "absence of long term plans" -(paraphrased).
Tim Hanson says:
"I'm not here to be negative about either Novavax"
That was a funny circuitious route towards attacking a company which has very clear long term plans. Especially with long term manufacturing agreements with Cadila (india) and another company in Spain. They also have seasonal flu vaccines for long term (let me see) EVERY YEAR. Stop whining about sour grapes and actually make some real research. In addition, NVAX CEO has come to Novavax with 25 yrs big pharma experience because he saw big potential here.

Anyways, i am sitting in NVAX, long term with several long calls for next year. I am not concerned much. But what I am concerned is for small retail investors (who I was one of 3 years back) who would be misled by these opinions posing as research.
With today's search capabilities, it is quite easy to come up with a timeline of almost anything. In case of NVAX, you can check out their timeline with vaccine development and other progress here.

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