September 3rd, 2016 marks the day that Indonesia has officially launched a better, and more complete protection against Influenza. The launch event was held at The Westin, Jakarta as a symposium to healthcare providers. VaxCorp Indonesia was invited to witness another step of medical breakthrough that provides a better hope in the fight against Influenza.
Influenza is just a Cold, there’s no need for vaccination right?
Wrong! Influenza, commonly referred to as “The Flu” is an extremely contagious and airborne disease that causes respiratory illnesses. Influenza can infect people of all ages, and may even cause severe complications and even death. Comparatively, unlike the common cold which can be triggered by allergies, and caused etiologically by several different types of virus, The Flu is caused specifically by the Influenza virus. Therefore, since only a few variants of the Influenza virus exists, it becomes relatively easy to prevent with a flu shot (influenza vaccine). With this in mind, this relatively preventable disease is still becoming a problem due to the lack of people routinely getting the flu shots.
Differentiating the cold and the flu can sometimes be tricky, since symptoms may overlap. However, if it hits you like a bolt of lightning, with a fever above 38°C, then you’re likely to have the flu. With the flu, you are likely to be flat out, with chills, headaches and muscle aches that are severe, and tightness of the chest.
Consequently, Influenza may cause complications such as bacterial or viral pneumonia, dehydration, middle ear infections, sinus infections, etc. Additionally, Influenza causes 3 to 5 million severe cases of Influenza and 250,000 to 300,000 deaths annually worldwide. Moreover, Influenza may worsen long-term conditions such as Congestive Heart Failure, Asthma, Diabetes. The illustration to the right is a good comparison between Influenza and Common Cold.
Still think that Influenza is just a cold that you can easily ignore? Or are you starting to realize the importance of preventing the disease?
The Do’s & Don’ts in Influenza
✓ Go to your doctor if you have severe respiratory symptoms that may resemble influenza.
✓ Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching food items and handling your younglings.
✓ Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Such is only basic ethics, not doing so just proves what a horrible human being you are.
✓ Stay at home, drink plenty of water and get enough rest. Drinking 250-500 mg of Vitamin C may provide some help in boosting your immune system, however no definitive evidence is available and too huge amounts will irritate your stomach.
✓ Get routinely vaccination every year. The influenza virus is quite rapidly mutating, therefore the need for a yearly vaccination. Vaccinating against Influenza during the second to third trimester of pregnancy provides protection against Influenza for the baby up to 6 months.
✗ Self-medicating with OTC drugs; this may potentially cause you toxicity due to double-dosing on similar ingredients of different medicines. Antibiotics is also a big NO-NO, since viruses are responsible for Influenza, and not bacterias.
✗ Relying on wearing surgical masks; surgical masks may only provide 70-80% protection. Comparatively, N95 masks, despite positive reports in laboratory settings only provide approximately 1% better protection than surgical masks.
✗ Touching your eyes, nose, and mouth frequently.
✗ Being at a public place, and talking to people closer than an arm’s length.
✗ Shaking hands with others and/or handling younglings.
✗ Spitting in public.
Influenza Vaccine; A Brief History
The symptoms of Influenza disease has been recognized since 2,400 years ago, coined from the Italian word which means Influence. Currently, two major types of Influenza that infects humans are;
- Type A influenza virus is the one that causes pandemics or worldwide epidemics. It infects humans, animals and birds. Type A strains are the most varied and adaptable of the influenza viruses. At present, researchers know of 15 HA serotypes and 9 NA serotypes. However, there are many subtypes arising from frequent protein changes and combinations.
- Types B affects only mammals, but it is less severe than Type A and has no distinguishable serotypes. The two Type B Influenza viruses that is circulating in Indonesia is the Yamagata & Victoria subtypes.
Other types known are Influenza Type C which infects only mammals, causes disease rarely and has no distinguishable serotypes. Type D is another type of the Influenza Virus which only infects cattle.
Since the first discovery of the monovalent (only type A) Influenza vaccine in 1937 by Jonas Salk and Thomas Francis, we have come a long way to produce a better and more effective protection against Influenza. In 2013, the Quadrivalent Influenza vaccine was produced and widely used in the United States of America and other countries starting 2014. The Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine was introduced in Indonesia in September 3rd, 2016, and hopefully will be widely used from hereon. The Quadrivalent Influenza vaccine may provide at least 18% additional protection than the Trivalent vaccine.
Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine; A New Hope To Mankind
This Quadrivalent Vaccine is necessary because in over three decades of Trivalent Vaccine usage, the B-type of Influenza virus strain used in each vaccine batch is based on data prediction. Correspondingly, this prediction has resulted in observed mismatches between the type predicted in the vaccine and the circulating virus strains. These mismatches has caused a sub-optimal protection of the Trivalent vaccine.
According to studies in over a decade, the use of the Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine compared to the Trivalent Influenza Vaccine will provide a decrease in up to 21 million cases of Influenza, 300,000 hospitalized cases of Influenza, and 16,000 deaths associated with Influenza.
The Type-B influenza virus accounts to as much as 44% of all Influenza strains, responsible as the major cause of Influenza epidemics every 2 to 4 years. In 2012-2013 flu season in Europe and the United States of America, the burden of Influenza Type-B resulted in 54% of childhood deaths associated with Influenza, and 57% of confirmed geriatric cases of Influenza.
FluQuadri: Sanofi Pasteur launches Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine in Indonesia
Sanofi Pasteur, a France based giant conglomerate in Vaccine development has organized a rather niche and sophisticated launch event in September 3rd, 2016 to celebrate the introduction of their Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine. The vaccine is marketed under the brand FluQuadri-TM and should be available throughout the Indonesian market this month. Fluquadri comes in a pre-filled syringe form that is available for patients of age 6 to 35 months and above 3 years old (including adults). You can get your Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine here.
The launch event was conducted at The Westin, Jakarta which was in the form of a symposium directed at healthcare providers. This event was attended by several high positioned executives of Sanofi, huge names in Preventive Medicines, and the Chairman of Adult Immunization Task Force of Indonesia; Prof. Dr. dr. Samsuridjal Djauzi, Sp.PD, K-AI. This being said, lectures were given by as follows:
- The Health Benefit of Flu Vaccination for Specific Condition by dr. Erwanto Budi Winulyo, Sp.PD
- Flu Vaccination for the Elderly by dr. Edy Rizal Wahyudi, Sp.PD, K-Ger
- Flu Vaccination for the Pilgrim by dr. T. Thafsin Alfarizi, Msc
- Flu Vaccination for the Working Population by Prof. Dr. dr. Samsuridjal Djauzi, Sp.PD, K-AI
- Improving Influenza control with Quadrivalent Influenza Vaccine by Dr. dr. Sukamto Koesnoe, Sp.PD
- Medical Rational of QIV and Countries Experiences by Dr. dr. Iris Rengganis, Sp.PD
- QIV a broader Protection for Flu by dr. Melvin Sanicas
- Kosen S. Health and Direct Economic Cost of Influenza Disease in Indonesia. National Institute of Health Research and Development, Ministry of Health Republic of Indonesia. Presented in WHEII, Bali, June 2012.
- Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2014-2015. An Advisory Committee Statement (ACS) National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). July 2014.
- Pandemic H1N1 2009 briefing note. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/notes/h1n1_vaccine_20090806/en/
- Fluquadri Fact Sheet. Sanofi Pasteur.