Flu vaccine makers get HHS funds to prepare for pandemic

first_imgJun 20, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Federal health officials last week announced the awarding of contracts totaling $132.5 million to help two vaccine producers get ready to start churning out vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic.The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded $77.4 million to Sanofi Pasteur and $55.1 million to MedImmune Inc. to retrofit existing vaccine production facilities and keep them in ready condition for 2 years to produce pandemic flu vaccines, with an option to extend the time to 5 years.The goal is that when the retrofitting is done, the facilities together will be capable of producing about 100 million doses of a pandemic vaccine within 6 months of the start of a pandemic, according to Marc Wolfson, a spokesman for HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (formerly the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness).That amount represents about 16% of the HHS goal of having enough domestic capacity to make 600 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine—enough for 300 million people—within 6 months after a pandemic hits, Wolfson told CIDRAP News.The renovations also will equip the two companies to produce prepandemic vaccines year-round, HHS said. Currently production of prepandemic vaccines is limited to the 3 months each year when facilities are not tied up with making seasonal flu vaccines, HHS officials said.The HHS contracts call for the two companies to maintain “warm base operations” in the renovated facilities for 2 years, meaning they will not be shut down. The contracts include options for another 3 years of warm-base operations, which would require more money, the agency said.Sanofi Pasteur, located in Swiftwater, Pa., has been the leading producer of seasonal flu vaccine for the US market in recent years. MedImmune, based in Gaithersburg, Md., makes the nasal-spray seasonal flu vaccine FluMist, which uses a live, attenuated virus.Sanofi makes the only prepandemic H5N1 flu vaccine licensed so far by the Food and Drug Administration. HHS has stockpiled the equivalent of 14.5 million 90-microgram doses of the vaccine, according to Wolfson. That’s enough for about 7.25 million people at two doses each. HHS has a goal of stockpiling enough prepandemic flu vaccine for 20 million people.Wolfson said the current US annual production capacity for prepandemic flu vaccines is 16.5 million doses. Besides Sanofi, he said, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis are also making prepandemic H5N1 vaccines for the US stockpile. Both companies also market seasonal flu vaccines in the United States.Sanofi is building a new flu vaccine plant in Swiftwater and hopes to have it completed in time for the 2008-09 flu season, company spokeswoman Patty Tomski told CIDRAP News. The company will contribute about $25 million to the renovation of its existing plant scheduled under the HHS contract.”The contract covers costs for design, retrofit and the maintenance of the facilities at a state of readiness so the company can switch to pandemic influenza vaccine manufacture at the HHS’s request,” the company said in a news release. Tomski said the plant will be able to start producing a pandemic vaccine at any time of year.The retrofitting is expected to be completed in late 2010, according to Tomski. The renovated plant will use the conventional production method of growing flu viruses in eggs, she reported.With the renovation, the company expects to maintain the plant’s existing production capacity of about 50 million doses a year, Tomski said. The new plant is designed to add capacity for another 100 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine annually.MedImmune will contribute about $14 million to the retrofitting of its facilities under the HHS contract, the company said in a news release.The work will affect MedImmune’s manufacturing and testing facilities in Santa Clara and Mountain View, Calif.; its blending, filling, packaging, and warehousing facilities in Philadelphia and Salem, Pa.; and a storage and distribution center in Louisville, Ky., according to company spokeswoman Karen Lancaster. As part of the renovation, she said, facilities will be expanded to maintain capacity for making seasonal flu vaccines.MedImmune uses an egg-based system to make its intranasal vaccine. The same approach will be used to make pandemic vaccines, though the company is developing a cell-based production system, Lancaster said.See also:Jun 14 HHS news releasehttp://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2007pres/06/20070614a.htmlJun 14 Sanofi news releaseJun 14 MedImmune news releaselast_img read more

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Last Shot: Rice heads into final chance at NCAA title, rides multi-sport experience to guide SU offense

first_imgThis is placeholder text Advertisement Published on February 5, 2015 at 8:11 am Contact Jesse: jcdoug01@syr.edu | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+ Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Every day at 3 p.m., Kevin Rice rode with his father Steve and sister Stephanie to Skaneateles (New York) High School girls’ varsity lacrosse practice.Stephanie was on the team as an eighth-grader and Steve was its head coach. Rice, a fourth-grader, warmed up the goalies, peppered the wall next to the field and hopped on the team bus for every away game.“Poor kid probably watched more women’s lacrosse than any young boy probably ever should,” Stephanie said. “But he loved it. I’d turn around and he’d be scoring on the goalies while warming them up. Varsity goalies and a little kid. That’s just how Kevin was.”At the time, Rice wasn’t necessarily infatuated with the lacrosse. Had it been Stephanie and Steve’s basketball team, he would have been sneaking into layup lines and keeping the scorebook. Had it been soccer, the 8-year-old would have carried the ball bag and dribbled around until the daylight ran out.He went on to play all three sports in high school, and was behind in college lacrosse recruiting when he finally zeroed in on the sport after his junior year. But what turned many colleges away — the fact that Rice played three sports while most aspiring lacrosse players were frequenting showcases and travel tournaments — piqued Syracuse’s interest and landed the 5-foot-10 senior attack 20 miles from where he grew up.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textNow it’s a blend of Rice’s soccer, basketball and lacrosse experience that makes him the perfect puppeteer of the No. 4 Orange’s no-nonsense attack, a unit that includes Rice, Dylan Donahue and Randy Staats, and makes Syracuse a surefire contender for the national championship this season.It would be the first title in six years for a team that’s won one every 3.2 seasons since its first in 1983. It would keep the seniors from being the third straight SU class to leave empty-handed. And it would turn Rice’s career accomplishments from irreplaceable to indelible.“You come to Syracuse to win championships and there have been so many local guys, like me, that have been able to do that,” Rice said. “The thought of me not being one of them isn’t something I like to think about. You just have to leave it on the field.”Rice has always operated from the X attack spot behind the opposing team’s net.That’s where Skaneateles head coach Ron Doctor knew Rice would be most effective, and that’s where he’s built his profile at Syracuse, dodging toward the cage with an awareness that keeps all options on the table.Pass to a cutting midfielder. Find a fellow attack across the crease. Dive to the net looking for a shot. Pull it back and try the other side. Drive the defense up a wall.“There’s probably only one person in the country that would say that Kevin isn’t the best dodging X attack in the country, and that’s him,” said Derek Maltz, who played with Rice for three seasons before graduating from SU in May. “What he does changes a whole offense and a whole game.”Rice’s development into a dominant attack, as well as a preseason first-team All-American and 23rd overall pick in the Major League Lacrosse draft in January, has many layers.For starters, he’s the son of a coach and grew up with lacrosse in his family. That meant talking strategies and nuances during car rides and trailing Stephanie, who went on to play at Hofstra, all over central New York. It also meant holding a lacrosse stick around the same time he was learning to hold a pencil, then learning that he could use that stick to compete with other kids.That’s the other key factor in Rice’s development — the thirst for competition. When he got to Skaneateles, a small public school, he knew he could play a role on the varsity soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams.And by not focusing solely on lacrosse, he was indirectly molding his lacrosse game.“I think that the three sports I played have a huge hand in the kind of lacrosse player I am,” Rice said. “Some guys play three sports because they are great athletes, but I’m not a great athlete in the sense of speed and size. I had to think the games and that helped me.”When Rice was a sophomore, he volunteered to play defense as a way to get onto the varsity soccer field. Skaneateles had a talented offense and Rice learned to see the field from the back, distributing to the strikers and watching offensive sequences unfold. Eventually Rice shimmied his way onto the offense and proved to have a knack for scoring goals, leading the 2010 Lakers to a 22-0 season and Class B state championship.In basketball, he balanced scoring with point-guard play, much like he does from behind the cage in lacrosse. Rice says he was a good ball-handler that could score from the perimeter, but also focused on finding his teammates for open shots.He and his classmates played football in gym class, their teacher wanted Rice to be his quarterback. Linda Rice would have never let her son put on pads. There also wasn’t much time for a fourth sport.“Playing three sports helped him see the field and visualize how plays unfolded in all of them,” Steve Rice said. “It was hectic in high school but it’s paid off in lacrosse.”As a junior, Rice was even leaning toward basketball when Steve sat him down. Rice wasn’t tall enough. To show him this, Steve printed out the statistics of Division I and II players of similar size. Most weren’t even seeing the court and those that were weren’t doing much else.After that, Rice started focusing on lacrosse and the recruiting process, which started slow, but sped up with a single text message.It was from SU assistant coach Lelan Rogers and asked Rice to come in and talk about playing for the Orange. When Rice spoke with head coach John Desko — who liked that he was a coach’s son who played three sports — offers from Loyola Maryland, Jacksonville and other lower-profile programs were immediately pushed aside.“I told him, ‘You can go to Florida or somewhere else and just be a player and start fresh. At Syracuse people are going to know you and there are going to be expectations,’” Steve said.“He wanted that. He embraced it.”To this point Rice has blown by expectations, finishing second on the team in points (55) and assists (32) as a sophomore. He tallied a team-high 80 points last year before being named an All-ACC team member, a Tewaaraton Award nominee and a second-team All-American by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association-Index.Syracuse is returning 75 percent of its scoring for the 2015 season after averaging the fourth most goals per game in the country last year. It’s also bringing back all three of its starting attacks, with Staats providing his Canadian box skills around the net and Donahue coming off a year in which he scored on 53 percent of his shots, making him the third most efficient scorer in the nation.Rice will press the buttons and navigate the offense through the Orange’s stiff Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, and Donahue’s confident in that formula.“Teams will try and zone up or throw different looks at us, but Kevin makes that hard,” Donahue said. “He makes us all better and hard to defend as a team with the way he passes and moves. You look at what he’s accomplished and it says it all.”But Rice defines his success by his team’s. The Orange fell in the national championship game against Duke in his sophomore season and wilted in a 10-9, first-round tournament loss to Bryant last year.So despite all the statistics, accolades and defenders he’s made miss, Rice still feels unfulfilled.“I got one shot left to get this team a championship,” Rice said with less than a month before the Orange’s opener against Siena. “You’re going to see a much hungrier team this year.”Standing next to the Syracuse lacrosse wall of fame in the lobby of Manley Field House, Rice paused and glanced at the program’s history as he weighed his and his class’ legacy. The Powell brothers, Cody Jamieson, Dan Hardy and other SU greats looked down at a player itching for their tangible success. A trophy. Closure.Rice grinned.“And you’re going to see a much hungrier me, too.” Commentslast_img read more

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