TIME’s Science Cop Jeffrey Kluger takes on the misinformation coming from opponents of childhood vaccinations.
People from around the world will mark World Pneumonia Day on 12 November.
More than 1.5 million children die every year from pneumonia, more than from any other disease. But a million children’s lives a year could be saved by simple interventions such as vaccination against the most common causes of pneumonia and treatment with antibiotics.
For the first time in history, thanks to the GAVI Alliance partners, vaccines against the leading cause of pneumonia are reaching children in developing countries at nearly the same time they reach children in high income countries. This is unprecedented. The introduction of these vaccines is a cornerstone of GAVI’s ambitious plan to ensure that all children have equal access to life-saving vaccines.
The GAVI Alliance is a founder member of the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia, formed in 2009 to raise awareness and to encourage governments to support the implementation of a range of proven measures to prevent and treat pneumonia.
Lesley Bunning does not mince words. The 62-year-old Sacramento-area woman nearly died of the flu earlier this year and has come forward with an important message. She says she was “a fool” not to get the flu vaccine in the past, and now she’s hoping to save lives by urging the public to get vaccinated this year and every year.
Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine. Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine. Merck is seeing approval for a new HPV vaccine, that is 90% effective compared to 70% for the current vaccine.
Wonderful to see a doctor loving his work and making a positive difference.
An even more effective vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer, may be on the horizon, according to new research published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Merck announced that it’s investigating a 9-valent HPV vaccine that protects against nine total types of HPV—five more than the current one on the market.
The current vaccine, Gardasil, also manufactured by Merck, is effective against 70% of cervical and other HPV-related cancers and protects against two of the main types that cause cancer—type 16 and 18—as well as two more that cause most cases of genital warts, types 6 and 11. The potential new vaccine, which isn’t named yet, will protect against approximately 90% of cervical cancers, says study author Elmar Joura, an associate professor of gynecology at the Medical University of Vienna in Austria (who received grant support, lecture fees and advisory board fees from Merck). It protects against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58.
Coverage against those extra strains could be good news for women worldwide, as some races are prone to different types of HPV. In East Asia, HPV 52 and 58 are more common than in the U.S. or Europe, Joura writes in an email to TIME. “The good thing is that the nine valent vaccine will equalize these differences,” Joura writes. “The grade of protection will be the same worldwide.”
In the study, Joura and his team analyzed data from 12,514 women and found that of those ages 15-26 who had precancers, 32% had more than one type of HPV—that number was 19% for women between the ages of 24 to 45.
The FDA is currently reviewing the vaccine, and Joura expects them to reach a decision by the end of 2014. “The vaccine will hopefully be available soon after,” he wrote.
Dr. Pramod Srivastava, director of the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health, is interviewed on NBC Connecticut about ovarian cancer. Srivastava has developed an ovarian cancer vaccine that uses a patient’s own immune response and is “custom-made” for each patient. Initial studies show it’s less toxic than current chemotherapy treatments and more targeted.