Archive for January, 2012

Vaccination warning over whooping cough

Sunday, January 8th, 2012 (last updated)

Parents are being warned to ensure their children are vaccinated against whooping cough after a rise in cases during 2011.

The number of cases in England and Wales more than doubled from 421 in 2010 to 1,040 in 2011.

In north Northamptonshire, there have been nine cases of the illness reported to the Health Protection Agency in the past year.

Two of these were in East Northamptonshire, four were in Kettering, two were in Corby and one was in Wellingborough.

It can be a serious illness in the very young but can affect all age groups.

Symptoms of the illness, also known as pertussis, include severe coughing fits which in children are accompanied by the characteristic ‘whoop’ as the child gasps for breath after coughing.

Very young children have the highest risk of severe complications and death.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA, said: “We usually see a rise in cases of whooping cough every three to four years as the disease peaks in cycles, with 2008 being the last peak year.

“The uptake of the vaccine which protects against whooping cough is very good but it is a highly infectious disease so when there is a case it can spread quickly.

“Parents should ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations so that they are protected at the earliest opportunity.

“The pre-school booster is also important, not only to boost protection in that child but also to help prevent them passing the infection on to vulnerable babies, as those under four months old cannot be fully protected by the vaccine.”

Morgana Price, 22, a mother to Dylan, one, from Nest Farm Crescent, Wellingborough, said: “Dylan has had all his jabs and I think it’s really important for them to get them.

“I think even if people have missed getting their injections they should go to their doctor and let them know so they can get them up to date.”

Evening Telegraph

Childhood and adolescent immunizations: vaccine recommendations and the diseases we’re protecting against

Saturday, January 7th, 2012 (last updated)

This webinar discusses the effects of childhood and adolescent vaccine-preventable diseases, identifies the recommended adolescent vaccinations and the latest CDC recommendations for whom to give the Tdap booster, identifies proper childhood and adolescent immunization dosing schedules, and reviews the latest HPV vaccine recommendations and coverage levels.

Florida Bureau of Immunization

HPV Vaccine uptake exceeds expectations in Ireland

Friday, January 6th, 2012 (last updated)

More than four-fifths of schoolgirls eligible for the cervical cancer vaccine have received the life-saving treatment in its first year, new figures reveal.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) announced an uptake rate of 82%, exceeding its expectations of the number of girls receiving protection from developing cervical cancer as adults.

Dr Kevin Kelleher, assistant national director of health protection at the HSE, welcomed the high uptake.

“These are excellent figures for the first year of the programme and are equal to or greater than those achieved in the first year of programmes in other countries, for example UK and Australia, and are a great credit to the staff of the vaccination teams,” he said.

Around 80 women in Ireland die every year from cervical cancer.

The vaccination programme was introduced to a small number of schools in May 2010 and was rolled out nationally the following September, targeting almost 60,000 schoolgirls in the first and second year. The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is administered in three doses over six months.

“The staff involved in the programme are to be commended for this achievement and particularly for the impressive retention of girls in the programme, in that 97% of girls who received a first dose of HPV vaccine completed the three-dose schedule,” Dr Kelleher added.

The national campaign aimed to achieve an 80% uptake for a completed course of vaccinations. It also includes a catch-up programme for all sixth year girls, which will continue for the next three years.

Parents were sent information packs and asked to sign consent forms, and most of the vaccines administered were done so in schools – free of charge.

The Government made a dramatic U-turn at the start of 2010 to roll out the life-saving vaccine after initially claiming it could not afford to do so given the tough economic climate. However drug companies agreed to lower their prices for the vaccine, which saw the cost of the programme – including the vaccine and administration costs – slashed from 16 million euro to three million.

Belfast Telegraph

Hepatitis C vaccine performs well in clinical trials

Thursday, January 5th, 2012 (last updated)

Scientists and researchers in the UK have taken a step closer to developing a new vaccine that protects against the hepatitis C virus.

The team from Oxford University say clinical trials of the vaccine have shown “promising” results after it was tested on 41 people.

According to the researchers, the vaccine emulated similar resistance responses to hepatitis C that the few people in the world with a natural immunity to the virus display.

However, the team have warned that more research and investigation into the vaccine is needed and have estimated that this could take years.

The vaccine has been based on the common cold virus, which had genetic strands of the hepatitis C virus added to it.

It is hoped that the body will then recognise the hepatitis C virus as an intruder and the immune system will be encouraged to attack it.

The researchers are confident that the vaccine will provide long-lasting protection, of at least 12 months if not longer, against the virus which can go undetected in the body for years.

Hepatitis C is incredibly hard to spot because it is constantly changing and taking on new disguises, which is why natural immune systems have such trouble in fighting the virus.

There are also six different strains of the illness and often it has little or no symptoms.

It is estimated that 170 million people could be infected with hepatitis C across the world, which, like the HIV/AIDS virus, is spread blood-to-blood.

The virus is responsible for causing extensive liver damage and even liver cancer.  It has also been linked to being a cause of early death.

As of yet, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C and current treatments only come with an approximate 50 percent success rate.

Commenting on the results of the vaccine’s trial, one of the researchers, Professor Paul Klenerman, said: “We’ve found that it’s possible to prime large cellular immune responses against hepatitis C that last for at least a year.

“The immune responses we’ve seen are exciting and we are beginning the next stage of trials.” He added: “While we are hopeful, it could be a long road to any vaccine that protects people against hepatitis C.”

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive of the Hepatitis C Trust, Charles Gore, said: “This is very promising research.

“There has been rapid development in drugs to treat hepatitis C but vaccine development has lagged behind. Yet, if we only treat existing infections, we will always be behind the curve.

“We badly need to improve prevention and this is an excellent step in that direction,” he added.

Healthcare Global

Human trials underway for new HIV vaccine

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012 (last updated)

Scientists are carrying out what they claim is the first clinical trial of an injectable vaccine for HIV which causes AIDS.

A team from Imperial College, Hull York Medical School, Medical Research Council Clinical Trial Unit and Infectious Disease Research Institute is evaluating whether the vaccine is safe for use in human volunteers.

The vaccine contains trimeric HIV envelope protein (gp140) which can target the virus` most virulent strain Clade C that has caused the greatest number of HIV infections around the globe, infecting half of the 34 million people with HIV.

The trial, which is funded by the Wellcome Trust and goes by the name MUCOVAC2, is evaluating a vaccine that contains the HIV trimeric gp140 protein CN54, representative of Clade C strains of the virus.

This clade of HIV is the most prevalent type of virus in Sub-Saharan Africa and responsible for the greatest number of infections globally. The trimeric protein represents the major target for antibodies on the viral surface.

The vaccine candidate will be formulated with an adjuvant — GLA — developed to enhance immune responsiveness following intramuscular injection. GLA formulations have been previously tested clinically with promising results.

The scientists have enrolled 36 healthy, HIV-negative women aged 18-45 years at St George`s University of London and the HYMS Experimental Medicine Unit at York Hospital.

The trial will evaluate vaccine`s safety and determine the quality and magnitude of induced immune responses. The research is expected to take less than a year to complete with results available early 2013.

“Globally, women comprise half of the 34 million people living with HIV. In Sub-Saharan Africa, women represent nearly 60 percent of adults with the virus.

“Our collaboration marks an important juncture for the field as we begin to assess which routes of immunisation may provide the best responses to protect women,” said Prof Robin Shattock of Imperial College, who leads the consortium which developed the MUCOVAC2 trial.