- CSL Seqirus will provide its registered pandemic influenza vaccine to the UK if an influenza pandemic occurs during the next four years.
- This new agreement to CSL Seqirus follows more than ten years of influenza pandemic preparedness partnership with the government.
- In the event of an influenza pandemic, CSL Seqirus would rapidly produce a strain-matched vaccine at its Liverpool manufacturing site to support the UK’s pandemic response.
Maidenhead, 26 September 2023 -- CSL Seqirus, a business of CSL (ASX: CSL), today announced that it has signed an agreement with the UK government to develop and supply pandemic influenza vaccines in the event of an influenza pandemic. Under the terms of the agreement, should an influenza pandemic be declared, the UK government would have the option to purchase more than 100 million doses of pandemic vaccines from the CSL Seqirus manufacturing plant in Liverpool in a rapid timeframe.
“CSL Seqirus is a global leader in pandemic influenza preparedness, and we’re pleased the UK government will continue to partner with us in preparing to provide protection against the potential of a flu pandemic,” said Marc Lacey, CSL Seqirus, Global Executive Director for Pandemic. “This agreement will help to ensure the UK maintains robust preparedness and rapid response capabilities for this potential future threat.”
Pandemics are a natural phenomenon. They are the result of a new pathogen emerging and spreading around the world and have occurred at infrequent and unpredictable intervals throughout human history, presenting a real and serious risk to public health.[i] There have been four influenza pandemics since 1918, highlighting the need for vigilance and preparedness.[ii]
Globally, governments and health authorities are concerned by the recent and persistent outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A(H5) viruses among wild and farmed birds, as well as commercial poultry, reported in the UK,[iii] North America,[iv] and South America,[v] which have also led to widely reported mammalian spill-over infections.[vi] While the risk assessments by the UK Authorities continue to highlight limited mammalian transmission[vii] and the risk to the general public is considered to be low (or low to moderate for those occupationally exposed to avian influenza infected birds or mammals) by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)[viii],[ix] [x] and World Health Organization (WHO), the UK continues to recognise the general risk that influenza pandemics could pose in the recently updated National Risk Register.[xi]
“CSL Seqirus has been an active and reliable partner to the UK across pandemic influenza vaccines for many years.” Said Lorna Meldrum, VP Commercial Operations, International & Pandemic Response at CSL Seqirus. “We are proud to play a continued part in ensuring ever higher levels of influenza preparedness in the UK and globally.”
The vaccines would be entirely manufactured in the UK, where CSL Seqirus maintains a site in Liverpool – one of the largest sites in Europe to manufacture seasonal influenza vaccines.
“Our year-round operation of the seasonal influenza vaccines manufacturing site in Liverpool provides a critical foundation for pandemic preparedness.” said Nige Hilton, VP of Manufacturing and Site Head, CSL Seqirus. “We recently opened a high-speed fill-and-finish facility at Liverpool, which enables us to complete the entire start-to-end vaccine manufacturing process in the UK – providing onshore supply security in the event of a pandemic.”
About Pandemic Influenza
Influenza is a contagious airborne respiratory disease. The risk of influenza-associated morbidity and mortality is greater with pandemic influenza than with seasonal influenza because there is likely to be little or no pre-existing immunity to the novel virus in the human population. The timing and severity of pandemic influenza is unpredictable. Four influenza pandemics have occurred over the past century, with the 1918 pandemic being the most severe in recent history, with an estimated mortality of up to 50 million people worldwide. Strain-matched pandemic influenza vaccines are manufactured in response to the declaration of a pandemic. Pre-pandemic (also called zoonotic) influenza vaccines are available in the inter-pandemic period to help protect against influenza strains with pandemic potential; these vaccines can be deployed under government guidance to mitigate the risk of an outbreak or provide a first line of defence in advance of a pandemic vaccine if a pandemic were to be declared.
About CSL Seqirus
CSL Seqirus is part of CSL (ASX: CSL). As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, CSL Seqirus is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and a transcontinental partner in pandemic preparedness. CSL Seqirus offers a broad portfolio of differentiated influenza vaccines in more than 20 countries around the world.
CSL (ASX: CSL) (USOTC:CSLLY) is a global biotechnology company with a portfolio covering haemophilia and immune deficiencies, vaccines to prevent influenza, and therapies in iron deficiency and nephrology. This enables us to identify, develop and deliver innovations so our patients can live life to the fullest.
This press release is issued from CSL Seqirus in Maidenhead, UK and is intended to provide information about our global business. Please be aware that information relating to the approval status and labels of approved CSL Seqirus products may vary from country to country. Please consult your local regulatory authority on the approval status of CSL Seqirus products.
[i] GOV.UK. UK Pandemic Preparedness. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-pandemic-preparedness/uk-pandemic-preparedness. Accessed September 2023.
[ii] The evolution and future of influenza pandemic preparedness. Harrington et al., Experimental & Molecular Medicine. Available at: s12276-021-00603-0.pdf. Accessed September 2023
[iii] RSPB. Avian flu (bird flu). Available at: Avian F https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/how-you-can-help-birds/disease-and-garden-wildlife/avian-influenza-updates/#:~:text=Right%20now%2C%20avian%20flu%20is,as%20Wales%20and%20Northern%20Ireland.lu Accessed September 2023.
[iv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2022). Bird Flu Current Situation Summary. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm. Accessed July 2023.
[v] World Health Organization (WHO). Influenza at the human-animal interface summary and assessment, 24 April 2023. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/influenza-at-the-human-animal-interface-summary-and-assessment-24-april-2023. Accessed July 2023.
[vi] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2022). Bird Flu Current Situation Summary. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/avian-flu-summary.htm. Accessed July 2023.
[vii] GOV.UK. Investigating into the risk to human health of avian influenza (influenza A H5N1) in England: technical briefing 5. Available at: Investigation into the risk to human health of avian influenza (influenza A H5N1) in England: technical briefing 5 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Accessed August 2023.
[viii] Avian Influenza Overview December 2022 – March 2023. ECDC. Available at: avian-influenza-overview-march-2023.pdf (europa.eu). Accessed August 2023.
[ix] ECDC. Communicable Disease Threats Report. Available at https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/communicable-disease-threats-report-week-32-2023_0.pdf Accessed August 2023.
[x] European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Risk assessment H5 clade 18.104.22.168b viruses. Available at: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/infectious-disease-topics/z-disease-list/avian-influenza/threats-and-outbreaks/risk-assessment-h5. Accessed August 2023.
[xi] HM Government. National Risk Register 2023. Retrieved from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1175834/2023_NATIONAL_RISK_REGISTER_NRR.pdf. Accessed 4 August 2023