Archive for June, 2013

The “Immunize Canada” colouring book for children

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 (last updated)

A valuable resource for early childhood educators, caregivers and parents to teach children everything about immunization.

Download/Print here:

The “Immunize Canada” colouring book for children Click here

Immunize Canada

Abuela Knows: HPV, the time is now.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013 (last updated)

Abuela Knows: HPV, the time is now.

“Abuela Knows” was inspired by the Focus Group finding that mothers are often reluctant to allow their daughters to get the HPV vaccination because they fear they will be criticized by their own mothers—the family’s abuela (grandmother)—oftentimes the central authority in Latino households. In response to this mindset, students created a character named Abuela, the all-knowing, kind and never-questioned family matriarch. Just as she gives sage advice on everything from fixing a car to mending a broken heart, Abuela is featured in a series of videos, posters and brochures, urging her daughters to allow her granddaughters to receive the HPV vaccine.

Designmatters & Jorge Garduño

Story of Suleman: a polio affected child in Karachi, Pakistan

Monday, June 17th, 2013 (last updated)

Suleman’s father Abdul Rehman says, “One day, Suleman fell ill and was unable to walk. We assumed that it was weakness, and didn’t pay much attention to it. We began to worry when his condition didn’t improve. After a few rounds of tests, Suleman was diagnosed with polio. Polio is an incurable disease. Suleman would have been saved from a lifetime of disability if he had been given polio vaccinations.

Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease. There is no cure, but there are effective vaccines. Be wise and make sure that no child misses out on being vaccinated. Please help us spread our message and share this video.

Polio Eradication Pakistan

Deadly choices: how the anti-vaccine movement threatens us all

Sunday, June 16th, 2013 (last updated)

Deadly choices: how the anti-vaccine movement threatens us all

There’s a silent, dangerous war going on out there. On one side are parents, bombarded with stories about the dangers of vaccines, now wary of immunizing their sons and daughters. On the other side are doctors, scared to send kids out of their offices vulnerable to illnesses like whooping cough and measles–the diseases of their grandparents.

How did anyone come to view vaccines with horror? The answer is rooted in one of the most powerful citizen activist movements in our nation’s history. In “Deadly Choices”, infectious disease expert Paul Offit relates the shocking story of anti-vaccine America–its origins, leaders, influences, and impact. Offering strategies to keep us from returning to an era when children routinely died from infections, “Deadly Choices” is a vigorous and definitive rebuttal of the powerful anti-vaccine movement.

Paul Offit & Medscape

A vaccine for Lyme disease

Saturday, June 15th, 2013 (last updated)

A vaccine for Lyme disease could be on the way, following a successful phase 1/2 clinical trial, researchers from the Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Brookhaven National Laboratory reported in the online journal The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

In the trial, the vaccine was well tolerated by 300 people, who received three primary immunizations and one booster shot. Participants demonstrated only mild adverse reactions to the vaccine. No vaccine-related serious health events occurred.

The main challenge to a successful Lyme disease vaccine, researchers said, is developing one that can defend against all targeted species of Borrelia, the group of bacteria that causes the infection. The vaccine in development has so far shown the ability to provide broad-based protection against multiple species of Borrelia.

Lyme disease sickened more than 33,000 Americans in 2011 alone, according to the most recent data available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That makes it the sixth-most common infection in the country, and the third-most common infection in the eastern U.S., behind only chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Besides Lyme disease, there are more than 60 other types of tick-borne infections known in the United States. Nationally, rates of all tick-borne infections are on the rise, according to CDC data.

To protect against Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections, Ben Beard, PhD, chief of the bacterial diseases branch at the CDC, said that individuals should wear insect repellent any time they’re outside, particularly in wooded or grassy areas, and carefully check for ticks after any outdoor activity. If you experience a fever or rash after an outdoor experience, call a doctor immediately, Beard said.

National Geographic & The Weather Channel

A day in a measles catch-up campaign

Friday, June 14th, 2013 (last updated)

Illustrator Sophie Blackall travelled with her daughter, Olive, to India to meet with families, and see how the country is improving children’s health. They illustrated some of their impressions, as only they can… Have a look and visit our website:

Measles and Rubella Initiative

Can Adults Catch Childhood Diseases? Turns out, not all childhood vaccines are created equal.

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 (last updated)

Can Adults Catch Childhood Diseases?  Turns out, not all childhood vaccines are created equal.

Most people assume that after getting vaccinated for a disease as a child, they will have lifelong immunity. So recent outbreaks of measles among children and adults in Brooklyn, N.Y., and in the United Kingdom have some people worried their protection has waned. Turns out, not all childhood vaccines are created equal. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health, explains the concerns.

Catch as Catch Can

Catching a disease provides one major benefit: immunity for life. Protection for diseases obtained from vaccinations—especially measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and polio—may not last forever, Dr. Fauci says. There is a low likelihood adults will be infected because these diseases occur so infrequently in the U.S. But as childhood vaccination rates have declined in some communities on concerns about possible adverse effects from the vaccines, this can affect adults, too. “When we see a mini-outbreak of measles, it may include some adults whose immunity is not optimal but who would never have gotten measles from these children had those children been vaccinated to begin with,” Dr. Fauci says.

Age Does Matter

Adults born before 1957 were likely exposed to epidemics of measles and are generally considered to be immune to the disease. Anyone born in that year or later may no longer carry antibodies even if they were vaccinated. Still, measles remains very rare and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend scheduled boosters for everyone. In general, health-care workers, college students and some people with chronic illnesses should get boosters. “The CDC very clearly states that adult immunization is determined by age, health and lifestyle. Even if you were born on or after 1957, measles hasn’t gotten to the point where all adults should be revaccinated against it,” he says.

A Pandemic in the Wings

The bigger threat is pertussis, or whooping cough. Outbreaks of this upper respiratory infection are on the rise: 41,000 cases were reported to the CDC across 49 states in 2012. Most of the 18 deaths were of infants, though “the disease can be deadly to anyone,” says Dr. Fauci.

Pertussis was nearly eradicated in the 1970s in the U.S. until a commonly used vaccine was phased out because it caused fevers. Research shows that its replacement, called acellular pertussis, offers weaker immunity than the original, Dr. Fauci says.

Pertussis vaccine conveniently comes with boosters for tetanus (immunity of which wanes after about 10 years) and diphtheria. The CDC recommends all adults get a one-time, follow-up DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) shot.

Shots for Later in Life

Another common childhood disease, chickenpox, makes adults susceptible to catching shingles. For healthy adults, the CDC recommends a single dose of the Zoster vaccine against shingles for those over 60. It also recommends immunizations against pneumococcus (a major cause of bacterial pneumonia and meningitis) for those over 65. If your immune system is compromised, you need to also get the hepatitis B vaccine. In 2010, about 38,000 new cases of hepB were reported, according to the CDC.

Nothing Is Forever

“All vaccine protection doesn’t last forever, since humans are so variable,” Dr. Fauci says. “But you shouldn’t be worried about every single childhood illness.” Get the DTaP one time, get your annual flu shot, he says, and be sure your doctor is following the CDC guidelines for your age, health and lifestyle: “Then consider yourself covered.”

The Wall Street Journal

Hope Sparked By New Vaccine For Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 (last updated)

alzheimer_vaccineBrain research has made unprecedented progress over the years, with Europe at the forefront of scientific advances. But more can be done. This comes from Alzheimer’s Disease International who issued their report on the Global Economic Impact of Dementia. They estimate that if dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy, ranking between Turkey and Indonesia.

The European MIMOVAX project has high hopes of making a significant breakthrough in this important area of medical research. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a progressive, degenerative and irreversible brain disorder that causes intellectual impairment and disorientation. With no effective treatment, the MIMOVAX team has set out to develop a vaccination which can ensure safe and effective treatment, and ultimately halt progression of this crippling disease.

MIMOVAX is a ‘Specific Targeted Research Project’ (STREP) which targets truncated peptides Aß40/42 – derived from the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) – through active immunisation. The team focused on the use of immune reactions to fight known and less well-known beta amyloid (BA) proteins, which are thought to cause the disease.

The initial three-year project (extended to another 15 months to fulfil clinical objectives) was led by the Austrian company AFFiRiS AG. The consortium comprised three other industrial companies, two university institutes and a clinic, with a total of 20 scientists. The project received funding of EUR 4.3 million, of which EUR 2.4 came from the European Commission.

During the course of MIMOVAX, several AD vaccine candidates have been identified, which demonstrate the ability to reduce amyloid plaque load and alleviate the pathologic hallmarks of AD in the brain of animal models. In addition, according to the research team, a vaccination using AD vaccine candidates, improved spatial memory and learning in transgenic animals, thereby showing the potential for altering disease progression in these models. These experiments led to the identification of the AD03 vaccine as a candidate for clinical testing.

Dr Markus Mandler, the scientific coordinator at AFFiRiS AG explains: ‘A clinical study using AD03 was conducted on 24 elderly patients with mild AD. Over the course of 12 months we studied the safety and tolerability of the vaccine. We then followed the patients up for a further 12 months to assess their behaviour. The results from these tests are currently being evaluated and we should see the final analysis in a few months.’

He adds: ‘Once we see the full results we will decide whether to embark on further clinical testing, eventually leading to studies and data which can be presented to regulatory authorities for review and approval.

Albany Tribune

Myth: “Egg-based Influenza Vaccine Production is Slow and Outdated”

Monday, June 10th, 2013 (last updated)


Egg-based vaccine production is on occasion characterized as outdated and old-fashioned. Originally developed in the 1950s, the technology has been used to produce seasonal influenza vaccines for more than 30 years. While long-standing, the process has evolved to address various challenges, including yield, automation, capacity, quality assurance and production speed. Improvements to egg supply variability have also been made, minimizing and often eliminating the periods of time that eggs were previously unavailable for use.

One area where this mistaken perception arises is in the face of pandemic preparedness. Inadequate vaccine supply is an industry-wide challenge but egg-based production comes under duress from the belief that livestock management is an erratic, un-evolved process. Vaccine manufacturer Sanofi Pasteur, however, recently developed new technologies to improve egg supply and increase availability in advance of vaccine production dates.  With the advent of restructured flock management, embryonated eggs, previously unavailable for certain periods of time, can now support vaccine production year round.

Newer manufacturing methods such as cell-based production are predicated on improving areas like speed-to-market, risk of contamination and vaccine potency. But cell-based vaccines undergo many of the same critical processes as the egg-based method such as vaccine isolation, extraction and purification. Furthermore, in cell-based technologies, the use of animal cells in media is disadvantageous because of concerns over bio-burden potential and batch variability – two factors which compromise viral yield.  Another shared concern is strain variability. Because of the influenza virus’ propensity to change composition, trivalent vaccines that consist of different influenza strains must be formulated annually. While cell-based production is designed for faster response, it is still subject to the physical constraints of strain availability.

As a pioneer of inoculating and harvesting machines, RAME-HART has continuously developed advancements in egg-based vaccine production technologies. Thirty years ago, egg-based production was completely manual and very labor intensive. However, over time, RAME-HART has automated multiple steps in the manufacturing process including harvesting and inoculation, reducing the frequency of human error, bio-burden and the risk of contamination. Egg-based influenza vaccine production has gone from a manual operation to an almost completely automated process where eggs are loaded, inspected, inoculated, de-capped, harvested and unloaded without virtually any human interference.

Advances to the egg-based process like recombinant vector technologies are being explored to develop faster response times to an impending influenza pandemic. This method manipulates an adenovirus capable of infecting embryonated eggs to produce recombinant proteins. These egg recombinant technologies are designed to increase harvesting yields, reduce the cost of production and abridge the time of full-scale influenza vaccine production from 28 weeks (the standard timetable) to 20 weeks.

Overall, egg-based flu vaccine manufacturing has continually evolved, stabilizing egg supply variability, increasing vaccine yield, reducing human error, minimizing the incidence of bio-burden and raising production capacity.


Actor Michael Douglas’ throat cancer throws spotlight on HPV, cause of some oral cancers

Sunday, June 9th, 2013 (last updated)

Doctors have known for some time that a sexually spread virus can cause some types of oral cancer. But actor Michael Douglas’ comments on his own throat cancer in a newspaper story last week threw a spotlight on a subject not often discussed.

And it raises a lot of questions:

What virus can cause oral cancer?

HPV, the human papillomavirus. It’s best known for causing cervical cancer and genital warts. It also can be spread by oral sex, and men are more susceptible than women. It is a growing cause of certain types of oral cancer – those in the upper throat, at the base of the tongue and in the tonsils.

Indeed, studies suggest that HPV can be blamed for 60 to 80 per cent of cancers of the upper throat.

What’s the risk of getting oral cancer from performing oral sex?

About 2.5 million Americans are estimated to have oral HPV infections. But only about 14,000 cases of that type of cancer are expected this year, suggesting the risk of developing this cancer is low.

The virus is hard to avoid. As many as 75 per cent of sexually active men and women will be infected with it at some point. Most people clear the infection on their own within two years. Some, however, have difficulty ridding themselves of HPV. And in some cases, the virus creeps down through tiny fissures in the base of the tongue or in the tonsils to lodge deep in the tissue.

Those deep-settling infections can become dangerous cancers that often aren’t diagnosed until they’re at a late stage, experts say.

What are the symptoms for upper throat cancer?

Symptoms can include a sore throat that doesn’t go away, pain or trouble swallowing, a lump in the back of the throat, ear pain and voice changes.

Men are at greater risk?

Apparently, yes. A small study in Baltimore found men accounted for about 85 per cent of recent HPV-related oral cancers, said Dr. Sara Pai, a Johns Hopkins University researcher.

Experts believe men have lower amounts of antibody protection against HPV, she added.

What should I do if my girlfriend or boyfriend has an HPV infection?

Abstain from oral sex, experts advise, though if you’ve had sex you likely were already infected. And use condoms during vaginal intercourse.

How do I know if my partner has an HPV infection?

Usually there aren’t symptoms, though there may be genital warts. Or a woman might learn from her gynecological exam that she has it. But there is no such testing for men.

If a woman had an infection but subsequent tests suggest it’s gone, is it safe to have oral sex with her again?

Probably. Bear in mind that if you are her partner, you’ve probably been exposed already.

The issue is not so much whether or not people are exposed to HPV. Rather, it’s that some people develop cancer from exposure and some do not, said Dr. Maura Gillison, an HPV expert at Ohio State University.

Is there a greater risk from a person who’s had many sex partners?

Yes, that’s the greatest risk factor. HPV is highly communicable, so it only takes sex with one partner to infect you. But the more partners, the greater the chance you’ve been exposed, Gillison said.

Isn’t there a vaccine against HPV that’s available to males?

Yes, but it’s recommended for boys before they first have sex. Experts say it generally doesn’t work after someone’s already been exposed to HPV. There is some work being done on a therapeutic vaccine against HPV, but such a treatment is believed to be many years away, at best.

Is the risk for oral cancer greater from tobacco or alcohol?

Tobacco especially has been fingered as the cause of most cancers in the head and neck, including in the voice box and at the front of the tongue. Alcohol is believed to be a contributor, too. But cancers of the upper throat are mainly tied to HPV.

Global News & Channel 4