Archive for May, 2013

First Global Vaccine Summit: we changed history

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 (last updated)

In all, a total of $4 billion dollars was raised during the First Global Vaccine Summit (Abu Dhabi – April 2013). That’s close to three-quarters of the plan’s projected $5.5 billion cost over six years, and enough to protect more than one billion children from polio forever.

Countries like Norway, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the UK made generous pledges, as did His Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. The $4 billion also includes $335 million from private philanthropists such as Carlos Slim, His Royal Highness Alwaleed Bin Talal, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The foundation stepped in with $1.8 billion, a third of what’s needed for the polio campaign.

The Summit pledges are a huge step towards a fully funded plan, and everyone hopes that financing won’t be the thing that stands in the way of achieving the miracle of polio eradication.

The Gates Notes

Fear of vaccinations ‘linked’ to weak knowledge

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 (last updated)

People who have poor general knowledge about science are more likely to be fearful of getting vaccinations for themselves or their children, a poll has suggested.

Those with a weaker knowledge about science are more likely to think the risk of serious side effects from immunizations are “high”, according to a Wellcome Trust survey.

While 4% of adults who scored highly on a science quiz thought the risk of serious side effects was high, this rose to 22% of adults who had achieved low scores.

But the survey, conducted on 1,300 UK adults, found that almost four in every five people regarded vaccinations as “safe”.

The news comes amid the outbreak of measles in South Wales.

This epidemic has been linked to low uptake of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) jab.

In 1998, now discredited research linked the vaccination to autism in children.

The study caused a global scare and uptake levels of the vaccination fell significantly in the years after its publication.

“The recent outbreak of measles in Wales, fuelled by lingering, but misplaced, fears over the MMR vaccine, demonstrates how challenging it can be to shake off people’s fears about vaccination,” Clare Matterson, director of medical humanities and engagement at the Wellcome Trust, said.

“This survey suggests that such fears are related to weaker science knowledge and demonstrates the importance of a solid science education.”

Medical research Click here

Source: & Wellcome Trust

Why you should worry about a case of polio in Somalia

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 (last updated)

On May 13, the Taliban issued a statement declaring that it would no longer target polio vaccine workers and is ordering its fighters to help in vaccination campaigns.

Just two days earlier, however, the World Health Organization reported that “wild-type” poliovirus was isolated in Somalia from a 32-month-old girl who suddenly became paralyzed, as well as from three other individuals with whom she was in contact. Genetic testing has since indicated that the virus in question is linked to polioviruses circulating in northern Nigeria, according to Nature’s newsblog.  The setback marks the first new case of naturally occurring polio in Somalia since March 2007. Emergency vaccination initiatives—and fund-raising to pay for them—are now underway.

As the accompanying map shows, this development is a concern not just for Somalia, but for a broad swath of Africa, where low vaccination rates leave children particularly vulnerable to infection with polio, most likely from Nigeria (particularly northern Nigeria), where the virus is still endemic. In our increasingly interconnected world, an uncontrolled outbreak in these countries could fuel polio’s return around the globe–which would be particularly tragic considering that there had been only 26 cases of polio (before the Somalia news) reported worldwide so far in 2013, compared with 53 at this point last year.

Polio belt

Scientific American

Influenza poses more risk for Guillain-Barre Syndrome than influenza vaccine

Monday, May 20th, 2013 (last updated)

You have a much greater risk of getting a neurological disorder after getting the flu than after getting inoculated for it, concludes a new Ontario study that pokes holes in one of the biggest arguments against the vaccine.

One case of the Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs for every one million flu shots compared to one case for every 60,000 cases of the flu, according to research published Wednesday in the journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

GBS is a rare disorder in which a person’s own immune system damages nerve cells, causing muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Most people fully recover, but some have permanent nerve damage. In very rare cases, people have died.

“What the study shows is the chance of getting GBS from the flu shot is smaller than the chance of getting GBS from influenza, so you should not use the fear of getting it as the reason not to get the flu shot,” said lead author Dr. Jeff Kwong, a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and Public Health Ontario.

The syndrome affects one or two people per 100,000.

The exact cause is unknown, but it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or stomach flu. On rare occasions, people can develop it after getting a vaccination.

Concerns about contracting GBS after the flu shot first surfaced in 1976 when the United States halted a swine-flu immunization program because of a small jump in cases — about one additional case for every 100,000 people vaccinated.

It’s for that reason that consent forms for the flu shot now note there is a small chance of getting GBS.

Concerns about GBS have posed a challenge to jurisdictions trying to achieve high coverage in large-scale immunization programs.

But this new evidence should help allay those fears.

“A lot of people worry about GBS but they don’t think of the benefits of the flu shot,” Kwong said.

“Overall, flu shots are generally safe and do more good than harm,” he said.

The study found that the risk of developing GBS within six weeks of getting the flu shot was 52 per cent higher than the usual risk. The chance of getting it within six weeks of having the flu was 16 times higher than the usual risk.


RSV vaccines: developing an effective vaccine

Sunday, May 19th, 2013 (last updated)

Dr. Peter Collins, Chief of RNA Virus Section, NIAID at NIH gives his presentation on ‘RSV vaccines: developing an effective vaccine’.

Vaccinenation & Terrapinn

Solar power harnessed in Haiti to preserve vaccines

Saturday, May 18th, 2013 (last updated)

UNICEF reported this month that new solar powered refrigerators in Haiti have helped keep vaccines from going bad.

In much of rural Haiti, where there is no reliable form of electricity, it has been difficult to keep vaccines refrigerated. The vaccines, which range from polio to other live saving medicines for children, are needed to keep young children safe.

The old refrigerators were powered by gas. While this avoided power outage issues, the gas had to be delivered, which could cause problems if the gas supply was depleted.

“The old refrigerators used gas, and sometimes the vaccines would go bad because we ran out of gas,” Ms. Beliard, a community health worker in a rural area of Haiti, said. “The solar refrigerator is very important, because it means the vaccines are always available. We always have vaccines available for children.”

UNICEF installed a solar-powered refrigerator at a nearby health center. It is just one of the 153 solar refrigerators that UNICEF plans to distribute to different parts of Haiti.

“The vaccines are very important because they protect my children against polio, measles and other diseases,” Ms. Veneuse, a mother in Haiti, said. “I always get my children vaccinated.”



Vaccine News Daily

Poster promoting the importance of Smallpox vaccination

Friday, May 17th, 2013 (last updated)

importance of Smallpox vaccination

Poster created prior to 1979 promoting the importance of Smallpox vaccination. In 1966, the CDC began the worldwide smallpox eradication campaign in Africa and by 1979 the world was declared smallpox-free.

Public Health Image Library (PHIL) (ID#: 2584)

Sid the Science Kid: “Getting a shot: you can do it!”

Thursday, May 16th, 2013 (last updated)

The Jim Henson Company’s Sid the Science Kid is hearing a lot of talk about how to stay healthy, which leads him to ask lots of questions about what can make a person sick and what he can do to keep from getting sick. In the special episode “Getting a shot: You Can Do It!,” Sid and his friends learn the basic science behind germs, viruses and vaccines.

New Media

New Lyme disease vaccine promising in clinical trial

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 (last updated)

Lyme disease, unknown before 1975, is now the scourge of summer time hikers and has spread across the northern hemisphere from humble origins in Connecticut. A bacterial infection carried by deer ticks and picked up in high grasses, the disease can cause severe inflammation in joints, heart problems, and nervous system disorders. Antibiotics are the usual course of treatment for the infection, but are not helpful unless administered soon after infection.


A vaccine that was developed by GlaxoSmithKline was effective in 76 percent of adults and 100 percent of children in providing immunity. LYMErix was approved in 1998 in the U.S., but because of the high cost and allegations that the vaccine caused, adoption of the vaccine was low. It was withdrawn from the market by 2002, even though highly publicized side effects were found not to be related to the vaccine.

Now, a new vaccine that protects against all major strains of the bacteria is showing promise in mid-stage clinical trials. Collaborative efforts among Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the pharmaceutical company Baxter are showing promise with a publication in The Lancet that said the new vaccine is safe, had no side effects, and produced a protective immune response in all 300 study participants.

In the study, the vaccination included three immunizations and one booster shot. Some of the vaccinations included adjuvant, a chemical used to boost the immune response to immunizations, which is common in vaccines. Patients all produced high antibody levels against the borreliosis bacteria.

“The results of the clinical trial conducted by Baxter are promising because the vaccine generated a potent human immune reaction, covered the complete range of Borrelia active in the entire Northern hemisphere, and produced no major side effects,” said Dr. Benjamin Luft, a co-author on the paper. “We hope that a larger-scale, Phase 3 trial will demonstrate not only a strong immune response but true efficacy in a large population that illustrates protection against Lyme disease.”

The researchers created chimeric, or hybrid, proteins that contained parts from different Borrelia strains in order to create a vaccine that protected from all types of Lyme disease. “After a series of experimentations and refinements, formulations consisting of these new OspA proteins were shown to protect against a broad spectrum of Lyme disease spirochetes,” said Dr. Luft, summarizing the research results. In 2011 more than 24,000 Americans were diagnosed with Lyme disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Medical Daily & The Lancet Infectious Diseases

The value of vaccines: stop polio now

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 (last updated)

Polio points & Bill & Melinda Gates foundation