The U.S. government is preparing to purchase large supplies of a cancer vaccine the FDA approved in August in an effort to stem the deadly flu surge that has already killed more than 300 Americans.
Health and Human Services announced Tuesday it plans to purchase 5.4 million doses of liquid drug CoVID-19, which is made by Portola Pharmaceuticals and licensed by the FDA in August. The FDA has approved the use of CoVID-19 in adults with breast cancer.
CoVID-19 (known by the code name TC-5214) has been given the green light as an alternative for other types of cancer patients who cannot be immunized with other existing vaccine programs that are not yet approved.
“I am concerned by the deaths of those hospitalized due to the complications of the flu, and I thank the Department of Health and Human Services and [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] for their hard work to prevent this from happening again,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said in a statement. “We need to ensure as many Americans as possible have access to the most effective and efficient vaccine available to fight this harmful illness.”
Collins voted for the 2018 reauthorization of the Pediatric Infectious Disease Vaccine (PIDV) Act, which includes funding for CoVID-19 and a broad expansion of the agency’s role in the flu fight.
“It is essential for the federal government to prevent deaths from the flu through the purchase of liquid cancer vaccines developed specifically for use in the H1N1 strain of influenza, which has been responsible for over 300 deaths this flu season,” Collins said in a statement.
The CDC’s new report on flu cases released this week showed an especially dangerous outbreak of the flu in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands this season, which is now showing up throughout the United States. The CDC warned, however, that while it’s early, the current state of the flu is reminiscent of what we saw during the 2010-2011 flu season, when 6,178 people died across the country.