Archive for May, 2011

Sanofi-Pasteur aims to launch dengue vaccine in 2014

Thursday, May 12th, 2011 (last updated)

France’s Sanofi-Pasteur said on Friday it hoped to launch a vaccine for dengue fever from 2014 in certain priority countries and could produce some 100 million doses a year.

“It’s a considerable amount: by comparison we produce around 200 million doses of flu vaccine each year,” said Olivier Charmeil, the CEO of the world’s biggest vaccine maker. “We have been working on this vaccine for 15 years.”

There is currently no cure or vaccine for dengue fever but Sanofi has the most clinically advanced vaccine candidate, which entered Phase III clinical testing in Australia in November.

The mosquito-borne disease is a threat to nearly half of the world’s population. Of the estimated 220 million people infected each year, two million – mostly children in Latin America and Asia – develop a severe form called dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Prevnar 13 vaccine (PCV13) for pneumococcal disease for adults meets all endpoints

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 (last updated)

Prevnar 13 or PCV13, a pneumonia vaccine, was found effective for patients aged 50+ in two clinical trials as its maker, Pfizer, applies to expand the vaccine’s use. Pfizer says the vaccine met all study endpoints. The trials showed that PCV13 can produce an immune response at least as effectively as the currently approved PPSV (nonconjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine).

PCV13 also elicited a higher functional antibody response than PPSV against most serotypes common to both vaccines and serotype 6A (which is not contained in PPSV).

Lisa A. Jackson, MD, MPH, principal investigator, Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, Washington, said: “Both pivotal studies met their primary objectives and demonstrated that PCV13 was at least as immunogenic to PPSV for the 12 disease-causing serotypes common to both vaccines. The data also showed that PCV13 induced significantly higher levels of functional antibodies than PPSV in the adults studied for the majority of the common serotypes.”

PCV13 is already approved for use in infants and children up to six years of age in over 90 nations around the world.

Faces of vaccine-preventable diseases

Sunday, May 8th, 2011 (last updated)

These are the Faces of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.

We can no longer afford complacency.

These stories are those of five families whose lives have been forever changed by vaccine-preventable diseases. Don’t let what happened to these families happen to yours. Take your best shot against vaccine-preventable diseases and protect your family! Go to to learn more about the vaccines recommended for both children adolescents and adults. Vaccines prevent dangerous diseases and save lives. Immunize now!

Download this movie

Insight into HIV immunity may lead to vaccine

Sunday, May 8th, 2011 (last updated)

Latest insights into immunity to HIV could help to develop a vaccine to build antibodies’ defences against the disease, a University of Melbourne study has found.

By investigating the action of the human antibodies called ADCC (antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity), in people with HIV, researchers were able to identify that the virus evolves to evade or ‘escape’ the antibodies.

Professor Stephen Kent of the University of Melbourne and one of the senior authors on the paper said ADCC antibodies have been strongly implicated in protection from HIV in several vaccine trials but their action was poorly understood.

“These results show what a slippery customer the HIV virus is, but also shows that these ADCC antibodies are really forcing the virus into changing, in ways that cause it to be weaker,” he said.

“It also implies that if good ADCC antibodies were available prior to infection, via a vaccine, we might be able to stop the virus taking hold. This is the holy grail.”

The group at the University of Melbourne’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology analysed blood samples of people with HIV and found their virus had evolved to evade or ‘escape’ the ADCC antibodies against HIV they are making to try to control their virus.

The team led by Dr Ivan Stratov and Professor Kent employed a novel technology developed in their laboratory to find where ADCC antibodies were attacking the virus. They then looked at how the sequence of the virus had mutated over time to avoid the immune response.

“There is an urgent need to identify effective immunity to HIV and our studies suggest ADCC responses supply significant immune pressure on the virus,” Dr Ivan Stratov, a clinician and researcher said.

The group is now working on designing HIV vaccines to induce ADCC antibodies that make it more difficult for the virus to escape.

Around one in three newspaper articles about vaccines contain negative messages

Friday, May 6th, 2011 (last updated)

Vaccines are one of the most cost- effective interventions. In the United States, immunizations have helped to reduce the incidence of many vaccine- preventable diseases by 98% to 100%.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that around one in three vaccine-related stories published between 1995 and 2005 painted vaccination in a bad light, often suggesting that vaccines are unsafe.

Health care providers can use encounters with media as a means to direct parents to reliable re- sources that provide current and appropriate information about vaccines, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the World Health Organization. In addition, there is a need for the heath care provider community to build better relationships with the media and contribute articles that are supportive of vaccines. Ongoing monitoring of news reports on vaccine safety may help inform the content and framing of vaccine-safety messages.

Immunization safety in US print media 1995-2005. Pediatrics 2011.

Direct link to the full paper

Vaccination is too vital to be a matter of choice

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 (last updated)

Why do dogs have to be immunised, but children don’t?

YOU HAVE TO prove that your dog has been fully immunised against diseases before they can be accommodated in boarding kennels, but no rules apply to places children attend such as crèches, playgroups and schools. Isn’t this amazing?

Many myths exist about immunisation.

Myth 1: Vaccines have damaging and long term side effects.
Fact: Vaccines have side effects but none is as severe as the disease itself. The polio vaccine has been in use for 40 years with no serious side effects, whereas for those who contract the disease 1 in 100 will be paralysed, 50 per cent permanently.

Myth 2: Giving a child more than one vaccine at a time increases the risk of side effects which can overload the child’s immune system.
Fact: A child’s immune system handles several hundred foreign bodies every day and can easily handle multiple vaccines at the same time.

Myth 3: Most of the children who contract vaccine-preventable diseases had been vaccinated.
Fact: Almost all children who contract preventable diseases had not received the necessary doses.

These myths persist and, while some parents have medical or strong philosophical reasons not to get their children immunised, many do not. They either can’t be bothered or think making the few visits to the GP when their child is between one and 13 months old is too much trouble.

European Immunization Week 2011

Sunday, May 1st, 2011 (last updated)

Immunization/Vaccination is the best, most cost-effective way to prevent disease. 650 000 people in the WHO European Region are not fully immunized. Are you? Are your children?