24 October 2008
H2 and H6 Influenza A as potential pandemic threats and their vaccines and other countermeasures added to prior U.S. PREP Act Declaration for H5, H7, and H9
On October 17th the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a document in the Federal Register related to pandemic influenza preparedness and the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP) Act.
This document was a notice of an amendment to pandemic influenza vaccines and other countermeasures against H5, H7, and H9 viruses that were already covered under a PREP Act Declaration in terms of tort liability protection as of February 1, 2007. Specifically, vaccines and related countermeasures against H2 and H6 influenza A were added as an amendment to the prior PREP Act Declaration for the following reasons:
"Whereas the H2 class of influenza viruses, which caused the human influenza pandemic of 1957 and reappeared recently in U.S. animals including swine, is viewed as a likely candidate to evolve into an influenza strain capable of causing a pandemic of human influenza;
Whereas the H6 class of influenza viruses, which appeared recently in animals including domestic fowl, is viewed as a likely candidate to evolve into an influenza strain capable of causing a pandemic of human influenza..."
The full notice in the Federal Register can be found in Volume 73, number 202, pages 61861-61864 and at: www.hhs.gov/disasters/discussion/planners/prepact/index.html
This Federal register document was signed by the Secretary of HHS, Michael O. Leavitt. The only "manufacturer" cited in appendix 1 to this document pertaining to U.S. government contracts for "covered countermeasures" against Influenza H2, H5, H6, H7, H9 was with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Daniel R. Lucey, MD, MPH
EROne Institutes, Washington Hospital Center
Adjunct Professor Microbiology and Immunology
Georgetown University Medical Center
Website for this posting: www.BePast.org