Archive for December, 2013

It’s time for the development of an universal influenza vaccine: WHO announces first ever human case of H10N8

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 (last updated)

The World Health Organization recently announced that it was notified by the Chinese health authorities of the first ever confirmed human case of avian influenza A H10N8, resulting in death.

The victim was a 73-year-old female from the Jiangxi Province in China with underlying medical conditions and a compromised immune system. She was hospitalized on November 30 with a severe pneumonia and died on December 6.

The patient visited a live bird market four days before the onset of symptoms. While the specific source of infection remains unknown, the investigation is ongoing.

Wild birds and poultry are known carries of the avian influenza H10N8 virus. While this was the first human case of infection, no additional suspected cases or sustained human-to-human transmission have been observed.

h10n8 virus

The Chinese government is heavily investigating the case and has increased its surveillance of the disease and its detection, prevention and control methods. The WHO is keeping in close contact with the health authorities in China and will announce important updates as they occur.

To help prevent additional infection, the WHO released a number of preventative guidelines, including the avoidance of contact with sick or dead wild birds and poultry and refraining from touching surfaces that could have been contaminated with poultry blood and/or feces.

The WHO also recommends ensuring all meat is thoroughly cooked before consumption, washing hands thoroughly when coming into contact with wild birds or poultry and covering the mouth and nose when sneezing. These measures can help prevent both the contraction of the influenza virus and spread of the disease.

Vaccine News Daily

Adjuvants are key factors for the development of future vaccines

Sunday, December 29th, 2013 (last updated)

The development of effective vaccines against neglected diseases, especially those associated with poverty and social deprivation, is urgently needed. Modern vaccine technologies and a better understanding of the immune response have provided scientists with the tools for rational and safer design of subunit vaccines. Often, however, subunit vaccines do not elicit strong immune responses, highlighting the need to incorporate better adjuvants.

adjuvants Click here

Frontiers in Immunology

Dr. House and the truth about vaccinations

Saturday, December 28th, 2013 (last updated)

Dr. House

Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes (

Vaccine may reverse Type 1 diabetes

Friday, December 27th, 2013 (last updated)

Three million Americans are living with Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes. These patients need to inject themselves with insulin every day. Now, for the first time, there may be a vaccine that can help reverse the disease.


The benefits of vaccination

Thursday, December 26th, 2013 (last updated)

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) highlights the benefits flu vaccine can provide, estimating conservatively that influenza vaccination prevented 79,000 hospitalizations and 6.6 million illnesses last season. The report also underscores how severe flu can be; it includes an estimate that 381,000 Americans were hospitalized from the flu last season. Despite the benefits of vaccination and the potential severity of the flu, CDC also announced that fewer than half of Americans have gotten vaccinated so far this season. The agency hopes this information will encourage people who are still unvaccinated to get their vaccine before the 2013-2014 flu season takes off.

Benefits of vaccination


Jefferson University launches colon cancer vaccine trial

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013 (last updated)

More than 140,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with colorectal cancer every year. It is a leading cause of death from cancer in both men and women.

Currently, the first line of treatment is surgery, which removes the tumor and offers patients whose cancer is caught at an early stage a good opportunity for long-term survival. However, if the cancer does return – often in new parts of the body – the recurrence is more difficult to treat.

Clinician-researchers at Jefferson are testing a vaccine for patients with colorectal cancer. The goal is to treat patients with the vaccine, following surgery to remove the tumor, and boost the patient’s own immune response to target and destroy any remaining cancer cells in the body.

First, the researchers identified a protein expressed by the colon cancer that acts as an identification tag. Much like flu vaccines train the immune system to fight cells infected with flu virus, this experimental cancer vaccine would teach the immune system to recognize and destroy cancer cells expressing this marker that begin to grow in new locations throughout the body.

“In this trial, we hope to see patients develop a strong immune response to the target protein,” says immunologist Adam Snook, PhD, a research instructor in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Thomas Jefferson University and lead researcher of the vaccine.  ”A strong immune response would give us hope that the vaccine is working as we expect.”

The final test – whether the cancer returns or not – won’t be known for a number of years and additional clinical trials. If the vaccine does work as expected, one shot could both protect patients against the cancer cells that remain in their system after surgery and offer lifelong protection from a recurrence

Jefferson University Hospitals

I grew up unvaccinated, and caught many diseases. I vaccinate my kids

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013 (last updated)

I am the 70s child of a health nut. I wasn’t vaccinated. I was brought up on an incredibly healthy diet: no sugar til I was one, breastfed for over a year, organic homegrown vegetables, raw milk, no MSG, no additives, no aspartame. My mother used homeopathy, aromatherapy, osteopathy, we took daily supplements of vitamin C, echinacea, cod liver oil. I had an outdoor lifestyle; I grew up next to a farm, walked everywhere, did sports and danced twice a week, drank plenty of water. I wasn’t even allowed pop; even my fresh juice was watered down to protect my teeth, and I would’ve killed for white, shop-bought bread in my lunch box once in a while and biscuits instead of fruit like all the other kids. We only ate (organic local) meat maybe once or twice a week and my mother and father cooked everything from scratch – I have yet to taste a Findus crispy pancake and oven chips were reserved for those nights when mum and dad had friends over and we got a “treat.”


As healthy as my lifestyle seemed, I contracted measles, mumps, rubella, a type of viral meningitis, scarlatina, whooping cough, yearly tonsillitis, and chickenpox, some of which are vaccine preventable. In my twenties I got precancerous HPV and spent 6 months of my life wondering how I was going to tell my two children under the age of 7 that mummy might have cancer before it was safely removed.

So having the “natural immunity sterilised out of us” just doesn’t cut it for me. How could I, with my idyllic childhood and my amazing health food, get so freaking ill all the time? My mother was the biggest health freak around–she would put most of my current “crunchy” friends to shame. She didn’t drink, she didn’t smoke, she didn’t do drugs and we certainly weren’t allowed to watch whatever we wanted on telly or wear plastic shoes or any of that stuff. She LIVED alternative health. And you know what? I’m glad she gave us the great diet that we had, I’m glad that she cared about us in that way.

But it just didn’t stop me getting childhood illnesses.

My two vaccinated children, on the other hand, have rarely been ill, have had antibiotics maybe twice in their lives, if that (not like me who got so many illnesses which needed treatment with antibiotics that I developed a resistance to them, which led me to be hospitalized with penicillin-resistant quinsy at 21–you know that old fashioned disease that killed Queen Elizabeth I and which was almost wiped out through use of antibiotics).

My kids have had no childhood illnesses other than chickenpox, which they both contracted while still breastfeeding. They too grew up on a healthy diet, homegrown organics etc. Not to the same extent as I did, though, as I was not quite as strict as my mother, but they are both healthier than I have ever been.

Voices for Vaccines

Researchers discover new dangers of RSV infection

Monday, December 23rd, 2013 (last updated)

Researchers at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation released a study recently, announcing novel discoveries made regarding the dangers of respiratory syncytial virus infections in adults age 50 and older.

“RSV has long been known to cause serious respiratory illness in infants, but much less is known about the illnesses RSV causes in older adults,” Director of the Epidemiology Research Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation Dr. Edward Belongia said. “Knowing that adults’ susceptibility to RSV increases as they age is important for health care providers and public health officials to note as they treat and monitor respiratory illnesses this season.”

RSV is a viral infection that infects the lungs and breathing passages of its host. While it is common for children and infants to come down with an RSV infection, little was previously known about the dangers of RSV infections in adults.

The study found that RSV infections are responsible for approximately 10 percent of winter hospitalizations for pneumonia in adults 65 years old and older. While RSV infections are a threat to infants, children and elderly adult populations, the study did reveal that influenza infections can be more severe.

“Influenza gets a lot of attention this time of the year and for good reason – it’s a serious illness that affects thousands of people,” MCRF Epidemiologist and a lead author of the study Maria Sundaram said. “Although this study showed RSV may lead to fewer complications than flu, it still has the potential to cause serious respiratory illness, especially in older adults with weakened immune systems or other pre-existing conditions.”

MCRF researchers plan to continue studies to observe why RSV infections are more severe in older adults than other groups. There is not yet a vaccine available to prevent RSV infections.

Vaccine News Daily

Muslim ulema dispel misconception around polio vaccine

Sunday, December 22nd, 2013 (last updated)

There is nothing harmful in polio drops and it is the responsibility of the ulema to remove misconceptions about use of vaccines to protect children from the crippling disease. Shariah has made this clear that there is no harm in it rather the treatment is an obligation.

Maulana Samiul Haq, Mohtamam Darul Uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak

Muslim ulema dispel misconception around polio vaccine from PolioEradicationPk on Vimeo.

Polio Eradication Pakistan

Stay in the Game

Saturday, December 21st, 2013 (last updated)

The Stay in the Game™ TV public service announcement (PSA) from Families Fighting Flu features the unbelievable story of Madison Allen, a 15-year-old flu survivor who was given only a 1 percent chance to live after being diagnosed with the flu. Madison is an active teenager who loves soccer, basketball and hanging out with her friends. However, in 2011, Madison’s life took a turn that neither she nor her family could have ever imagined.

Families Fighting Flu