November 2006 Archives

Dynavax shares rocket on hepatitis B vaccine data

dynavaxSAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Dynavax Technologies Corp. shares soared as much as 44% Wednesday to reach their highest level ever after the company said its experimental hepatitis B vaccine protected all of the patients it tested in a late-stage clinical trial.

Shares of the Berkeley, Calif.-based drugmaker (DVAX) were changing hands for $9.96 in afternoon trading, up $2.56 and off an earlier high of $10.66.

Dynavax said that after three doses, its Heplisav vaccine protected 100% of a "difficult-to-immunize" population of adults aged 40 to 70 years compared with GlaxoSmithKline PLC's (GSK) Engerix-B vaccine, which was found to protect 73.1% of such people. In those ranging from 56 to 70 years of age, Heplisav's rate of protection was similarily 100% vs. a 56.1% rate for Engerix-B.

Rumors of Canada bird flu case false


bird flu TORONTO (Reuters) - Internet speculation over a potential human case of bird flu in the Canadian province of Quebec is untrue, health officials said on Wednesday.

"It's a false rumor," Dr. Patrick Dolce, head of infection control at the hospital in Rimouski, Quebec, told Reuters. "Everything is false; there is no patient, no nothing."

His remarks echoed those of Quebec Health Ministry spokeswoman Helene Gingras, who also said the rumors were "not true."

Bird flu: S Korea slaughters dogs, cats, pigs, mice

south koreaBEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) -- South Korean quarantine officials in Iksan City on Tuesday began the slaughter of pigs and dogs although international health experts have questioned the necessity of killing non-poultry species to prevent the spread of bird flu.

But the officials insist the decision to slaughter pigs and dogs was not unusual and that the step has been taken in other countries without public knowledge.

Park Kyung-hee, an official at Iksan city hall, said Wednesday 426 pigs and four dogs have been killed along with 127,200 chickens and 6.8 million eggs.

Federal Vaccination Plan Inadequate

vaccineA U.S. scientist is criticizing the effectiveness of a federal plan to vaccinate hospital healthcare workers against a threat of smallpox.

Temple University researchers who conducted the first metric analysis of the prophylactic health program say it fell short on several levels and raises questions about future preparedness.

In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked each state to vaccinate at least 50 to 100 healthcare workers per hospital -- a number the government considered large enough to respond to a possible smallpox outbreak.

Rich nations contribute $200 million for vaccine program

GAVINEW YORK - Some of the wealthy nations of the world are collectively donating $200 million to a project to fight diseases in poor countries.

The Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI), which has brought these nations together on a common platform, said Wednesday the fund will be used to help the poor countries around the world to receive vaccines that prevent diseases like rotavirus and pneumococcus in a timely manner.

The plan is to supply newly-licensed vaccines for preventable diseases to the developing nations avoiding the usual delay for these vaccines to reach these countries where these are required most.

Govt to fund Gardasil vaccine


gardasil The World Today (interview)
Reporter: Gillian Bradford

ELEANOR HALL: After weeks of toing and froing, the Federal Government has announced it will now fund the cervical cancer vaccine, Gardasil, from next year.

Health Minister Tony Abbott initially said the vaccine couldn't be available until at least 2008, but under pressure from the Coalition's own backbench, the Prime Minister intervened to force a faster process.

The vaccine will be targeted at 12 and 13-year-old school girls and the Health Minister Tony Abbott says the Government has extracted the best price from the drug manufacturer after weeks of negotiation.

acambis LONDON (AFX) - Biotechnology company Acambis PLC confirmed that it has requested a meeting with the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to discuss its rationale for excluding Acambis from the ongoing Modified Vaccinia Ankara (MVA) procurement process.

Acambis is developing an investigational smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000.

DHHS determined that Acambis' technical proposal was no longer in the competitive range for award, and to-date, DHHS has not provided a specific reason for the decision.

survey (AGI) - Rome, Nov 28 - 27pct of young people believe that there already is a vaccine against AIDS. 20pct are mistaken in how the HIV virus is spread. These figures were given by Prof. Fernando Aiuti, immunologist and Chairman of Anlaids, opening for the XX National Congress in Rome in the presence of Prof. Roberto Gallo, a world expert on the disease.

"There is no vaccine against AIDS, but there are some candidates which could become it, though it is not yet known which ones will work," he added. "Condoms should be placed in selling machines in high schools or nearby. Joints should not be allowed," added Prof. Aiuti, recalling data given by the Italian National Health Institute (ISS), which count one infection every two hours.

AVAX tests metastatic melanoma vaccine


avaxPHILADELPHIA, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- U.S. firm AVAX Technologies said Wednesday it is cleared to launch a phase 3 study of its metastatic melanoma vaccine, M-Vax.

The trial will enroll as many as 387 patients with stage IV melanoma at sites in the United States, Europe and Australia. Patients will be randomized in a 2-1 ratio to receive either M-Vax or placebo.

The study will measure best overall anti-tumor response rate and the percentage of patients surviving two years, AVAX said.

Bird Flu Vaccines Lose Their Strength

avian fluThe initial doses of bird flu vaccines that were stockpiled by US authorities are less effective now - they lose their strength over time. As the vaccines have a shorter 'shelf-life' than was first expected, it is possible that the US stockpile would now cover one million fewer people than previously thought.

In other words - as the vaccines have a shorter shelf-life than we had previously thought, many of the first ones that were bought may now not be so good.
(Shelf life = How long a drug can be kept/stored before it has to be thrown away. A bit like 'expiry date' on foods. If a drug has a two-year shelf life and was made on 1 January, 2007, it must be discarded by the end of 2008.)

New information regarding Tamiflu

tamifluOTTAWA - Health Canada is informing Canadians of international reports of hallucinations and abnormal behaviour, including self harm, in patients taking the antiviral drug Tamiflu. These reports include children and teenagers, primarily from Japan. While the connection with the drug in these cases has not yet been proven, high fever or other complications of influenza can affect mental state, which in turn can lead to abnormal behaviour. Health Canada has not received any such reports in Canada and is continuing to actively monitor adverse events reported for Tamiflu.

As of November 11, 2006, there have been 84 reports of adverse events occurring in Canadian patients using Tamiflu, including 10 which reported a fatal outcome. A causal relationship has not been confirmed in these cases. There have been seven Canadian reports of psychiatric adverse events, suspected by those reporting the events, due to Tamiflu, most involving elderly patients. There have been no Canadian reports of abnormal behaviour or deaths involving children.

cancer vaccineImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd., which was formerly known as Optical Molecular Imaging, Inc. ("ICT"), announced today that it has entered into an exclusive, worldwide license agreement with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center covering Cedars-Sinai's technology for cellular therapies, including dendritic cell-based vaccines for brain tumors and other cancers, as well as other neurodegenerative disorders. The technology is covered by patent applications that have been filed in the United States.

Dendritic cell-based vaccines may bolster the body's natural tendency to defend itself against various forms of cancer. ICT's first product candidate will be a vaccine for treating malignant brain tumors. The high rate of mortality of patients diagnosed with brain cancers and in particular with glioblastoma multiforme (the most lethal form) is driving the scientific community to develop improved treatments to increase the survival time and enhance the quality of life of patients. More than 17,000 cases of glioblastoma are diagnosed each year in the United States. There currently is no satisfactory treatment and two-year survival rates are only in the range of 26%.

asthma kidThe authors note that inactivated, trivalent, injectable influenza vaccine (injectable vaccine) is the only formulation approved for use in high-risk children, owing in part to concerns that live attenuated influenza vaccine (given nasally) might worsen asthma symptoms in asthmatics. This paper reports the results of an efficacy and safety trial of a reformulated live attenuated vaccine (live vaccine).

Subjects were European children aged 6-17 years with asthma enrolled during the 2002-2003 influenza season. The study excluded children with many other chronic diseases and children who were immune compromised. For 15 days after vaccination (1:1 randomization to live or injectable vaccine), parents recorded daily asthma symptom scores and peak expiratory flow measurements. In addition, the parents recorded nocturnal symptoms and asthma medication use. After the 15 days of parental log completion, investigators contacted subjects weekly to determine if they required revisit for symptoms. Any subject who developed fever or upper or lower respiratory illness was seen for office visit and nasal swab for influenza culture. The subjects were also monitored for side effects and other unscheduled medical visits. The study enrolled 2229 subjects, with 1114 receiving live vaccine.

New worry: Too much flu vaccine


vaccine shotThis is the first time someone admits that there's too much flu shots manufactured. If you choose to believe everything that media, CDC and administration tell you, then I let you read the article. However, if you believe that too much manufactured vaccine shots means only one thing - mass pressure from media, doctors, administration to make sure that all this vaccine is used (i.e. paid by administrations or the customers, which means that the pharma giants will have their profits secured), then you can skip the article. It's up to you.

Two years ago, a manufacturing glitch led to shortages of flu vaccine in the United States, prompting long lines - and occasionally angry customers - at the few flu-shot clinics that were able to go off as scheduled.

This year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there's potential for a problem of a different sort - too many doses of the vaccine.

"It is quite a turnaround from 2004," said Richard McGarvey, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. "And I think the concerns on the part of the CDC are legitimate."

South Korea confirms outbreak of H5N1 bird flu

bird fluSEOUL - South Korea said on Saturday a bird flu outbreak at a poultry farm was caused by the highly virulent H5N1 strain of the virus, in the country's first case for three years of the infection that can kill humans.

The Agriculture Ministry said earlier this week it suspected bird flu had killed 6,000 chickens at a farm in the southwest of the country that lies on a path for migratory birds.

"It is the H5N1 strain," a ministry official said by telephone on Saturday, after test results.

Taking a global shot

research in indiaWhile there is no doubt that biotechnology is unlocking a new vista for tackling various complex problems of world food security, human diseases, etc, it is the rapid progress being seen by India in order to emerge as a significant player in the global biotech arena that is drawing global attention. Early this month, it caught the attention of French biotech billionaire Alain Merieux —whose father Marcel Merieux was a former laboratory aide to Louis Pasteur—when his vaccine behemoth Merieux Alliance (2005 turnover: 1.128 billion Euros) acquired a majority stake in Hyderabad-based bio-pharmaceuti cals company Shantha Biotechnics. The Indian company specialises in the development and production of vaccines, therapeutic proteins and monoclonal antibodies.

In association with Shantha Biotechnics, the European company, which has a strong presence in preventive medicine, aims to develop a global strategy for managing the infectious diseases segment. Specifically, it will have access to the Indian company’s indigenous proprietary R&D and a branded product base in recombinants.

Vaccination - The Hidden Truth


vaccination - the hidden truthThis is the shocking but extremely informative video documentary “Vaccination - The Hidden Truth” (1998) where fifteen people, including Dr. Viera Scheibner (a PhD researcher), five medical doctors, other researchers, reveal what is really going on in relation to illness and vaccines. Ironically, the important facts come from the orthodox medicine’s own peer-reviewed research. With so much government and medical promotion of vaccination for prevention of disease, the video is clearly devoted to presenting the other side of the issue that parents and others are not being told.

The result is a damning account of the ineffectiveness of vaccines and their often harmful effects. It declares that parents are not being told the truth by the media, the Health Department and the medical establishment, with a medical doctor, Dr. Mark Donohoe, confessing that “It is a problem for me that I am part of a profession that is systematically lying to people?”.

Baxter signs Austrian flu vaccine contract

baxterBaxter has been contracted by the Austrian government to supply 16m doses of pre-pandemic influenza vaccine - enough to vaccinate the country's entire population.

Pandemic influenza occurs when a new virus emerges that is easily transmitted among humans and causes serious illness, which can result in a worldwide outbreak of disease, or pandemic.

Avian influenza, or bird flu, does not normally infect humans, but there have been several examples in the last few years of transmission to people, leading to fears of a strain with the potential to lead to a pandemic.

South Korea suspects bird flu after thousands of chickens die

bird fluSEOUL : South Korea Thursday reported a possible bird flu outbreak after 6,000 chickens on one farm died in three days - the first suspected cases since the country declared itself free of the disease last December.

The agriculture ministry ordered the culling of the remaining 6,000 birds on the farm in the southern city of Iksan, a major centre for the country's poultry industry.

It sent an emergency supply of Tamiflu for 50 people and influenza vaccines for another 300.

Kim Chang-Seob, the ministry's chief veterinary officer, said the government received word of the outbreak Wednesday, and from the large number of deaths it suspected the virus may be a virulent strain.

Vietnam lab says it has bird flu vaccine

chicken eggsHANOI - A Vietnamese laboratory said Thursday it managed to produce a bird flu vaccine for humans that has now to be validated by the Ministry of Health before a possible test.

Scientists at the Nha Trang Institute of Vaccines and Biological Products, in central Khanh Hoa province, had produced 5,000 doses of the vaccine against the deadly H5N1 virus, said its director, Dr Le Van Hiep.

"We produced the vaccine via a technology of transplant on chicken eggs. It was tested successfully on mice and roosters," he said.

Bird flu vaccine ban to get rethink

avian flu virusBANGKOK - Vaccination of fowl against bird flu has been tabled for consideration again as part of the government's bird flu control policies amid warnings by experts about the country's lack of readiness to handle such a programme.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thira Sutabutra said yesterday the ministry would reconsider the pros and cons of using the vaccine in fowl as one of the counter-measures against bird flu at a meeting next week to be joined by experts from both state and private agencies.

If vaccine use proves beneficial and effective, the meeting's conclusions will then be forwarded to the government for a change in policy, he said.

GSKTHE cervical cancer vaccine being held out as an alternative to Gardasil may offer much longer-lasting protection, according to its maker.

Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline, which is trying to stop the Government agreeing to a vaccination program using only Gardasil, says its treatment, Cervarix, has the strength to protect women vaccinated at school until they turn 55.

Flu Vaccine Withdrawn on Strong Allergy


Gennady Onishchenko didn’t suffer from allergic response to Grippol, but the response of the patients made him recall a million doses of vaccine (courtesy ITAR/TASS)Federal Service on Consumer Rights Supervision has withdrawn six series of Grippol flu vaccine. Roughly a million doses are being recalled from circulation on 68 cases of strong allergic response in nine regions of Russia. In two regions, the authorities independently stopped vaccination. The loss of vaccine producer, federal-run Microgen, is estimated at $2 million.

Chief of Federal Service on Consumer Rights Supervision (Rospotrebnadzor), Gennady Onishchenko, announced yesterday the withdrawal of six series of Grippol vaccine on strong allergic response to the preparation. Sixty eight people in nine regions of Russia suffered from it as of yesterday. All victims had laryngeal edema, palpitation and breathing troubles.

Experts call for better flu plans


stupid faceAnother news just hit all news agencies' websites. The only question that I have is how much did these experts get paid to voice their message that can lead to major fear and panic. How much did GSK and Roche pay? And why the normal influenza vaccines can be helpful against bird-flu virus?! What is the reason of this move? Do GSK and Roche need to flush their stock of vaccines because their expiration date is getting close, again?

Leading scientists say the UK government is failing to take advantage of scientific developments in the fight to prevent a flu pandemic.

A Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences report says more than one anti-viral drug should be stockpiled.

It warns the H5N1 virus can develop resistance to Tamiflu, and says the drug Relenza should also be stockpiled. 

Vietnam completes bird flu vaccination in 2006

bird fluHANOI, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam has vaccinated 163.4 million fowls in the second batch of bird flu vaccination, fundamentally finishing its two-phase vaccination plan for 2006, according to a local veterinary agency on Tuesday.

The second batch of vaccination, which is underway in 63 out of64 cities and provinces nationwide, is scheduled to be complete by late this month, said the Department of Animal Health under the country's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Vietnam, to prevent reoccurrence of bird flu outbreaks, is intensifying fights against fowl smuggling, and monitoring poultry transport and trade.

ALK-Abello launches pollen allergy vaccine


alk-abelloHORSHOLM, Denmark, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- ALK-Abello said Monday it launched its tablet-based vaccine against grass pollen allergy, Grazax, in Germany.

"The launch of Grazax is the culmination of years of research and development at ALK-Abello," said Jens Bager, ALK-Abello's chief executive officer. "With this convenient tablet for home treatment, many more patients throughout Europe can be offered a treatment that targets the cause of their allergy, cuts the symptoms and improves their quality of life."

The company said it plans to introduce the vaccine in other, unspecified European markets.

Common Misconceptions About the Flu


fluAnother article by Steven Woloshin, Lisa Schwartz and Gilbert Welch, a must read, as always.

Here we highlight a few common misconceptions that we hope will make you better informed this flu season.

36,000 Americans die of flu-related illnesses during a typical flu season

CLOSER LOOK: It is very hard to know how many people die from any given disease because there is often much uncertainty in determining the cause of death. This is particularly true for the flu. That's because it shares symptoms with so many other diseases, and because people most likely to die a flu-related death are also at high risk for many other causes of death. Read More: Research-Basics: Understanding How Big a Risk Is

How Well Does the Vaccine Work in the Elderly?


flu and the elderlyI am always happy to post articles by Steven Woloshin, Lisa Schwartz and Gilbert Welch.

Despite 64 published studies over the past 35 years, we really don't know how well the flu vaccine works to prevent serious illness and death in the elderly. How is this possible? The answer has to do with how the studies were done.

Fifty-nine of the 64 studies were observational; that is, studies where scientists simply count up outcomes (e.g., the number of flu-like illnesses among people who did or did not get the vaccine). Observational studies cannot prove cause and effect. And findings that are encouraging -- for example, fewer deaths observed among those vaccinated -- may not mean the vaccine works. Rather, such results may simply reflect that the people who get vaccinated are generally healthier than those who do not.

Research Basics: Understanding How Big a Risk Is


CDCWhile there are no interesting news on vaccine and vaccination I am posting articles by by Steven Woloshin, Lisa Schwartz and Gilbert Welch.

"On average, the flu kills 36,000 people each year in the U.S."

This statement, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site, uses a common strategy to highlight -- really exaggerate -- risk. The message begins with an attention-grabbing large number, but it provides no information to put the number into context.

To understand this number, readers first need to know "out of how many?": that is, the size of the population at risk. The number of people who could die of flu-related illness is the entire U.S. population. In 2002, the 36,000 flu-related deaths occurred among approximately 288 million people. (The U.S. population today is estimated at about 297 million, but this article and the table below use data from 2002 -- the most recent national death data available.)


New vaccine shows promise against deadly brain tumors


glioma Washington, Nov. 17 (ANI): A vaccine for treating a recurrent cancer of the central nervous system that occurs primarily in the brain, known as glioma, may activate a tumour-specific immune response in the body, reveals preliminary data from a clinical trial at UCSF Medical Centre.

Tests conducted on the first group of six patients at the UCSF Brain Tumour Research Centre show that vitespen, a vaccine made from the patient's own tumour, was associated with tumour-specific immune response in patients with recurrent, high-grade glioma.

Glioma is a type of primary tumour that arises from the glial cells, the connective tissue cells that surround and support nerve cells. The most common site of involvement of a glioma is the brain. Malignant glioma is currently a fatal disease.

Two Threatening Bird Flu Mutations

bird fluEither of two simple bird flu virus mutations could trigger a deadly pandemic, Japanese scientists warn.

Both mutations already have popped up in humans infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus.

They've been seen in bird flu viruses isolated from two people in Azerbaijan and from one person in Iraq, according to the Japanese scientists. Neither mutation has been seen among the more than 600 H5N1 viruses isolated from birds.

vaccine shotStavropol, Nov. 15 (Interfax) - Three schoolchildren were taken to the intensive care of the city hospital with the most serious allergic reaction - Quincke's edema – after vaccination against influenza.

Three boys aged 7, 10, and 11 were taken to hospital from three different schools. The patients were taken to hospital immediately after the vaccination. At the same time, doctors say "it is too early to state the schoolchildren had such a reaction on the vaccine yet". A hospital spokesperson also said that two of the injured were moved to the pediatric department after a course of treatment and gastric lavage. The 11-year-old schoolboy remains in the intensive care. A commission of Russian Consumer Rights' Protection and People's Health experts visited the hospital after the incident.

Children are being vaccinated with Grippol as part of a large-scale national project "Health Service" in Stavropol Region now. According to the presidential program, children going to kindergartens and primary schools, doctors, teachers and people older 60 are vaccinated free. Meanwhile, local media report there were cases when parents refused to have their children vaccinated with unknown substance to them.

source - NewsLab

10 bln euros for AIDS vaccine production?


vaccine and moneyThe production of an AIDS vaccine would cost 10 billion euro, virologist Vittorio Collizi said. A joint Bulgarian- Italian team is working on the new medicament.

Collizi is in Bulgaria to present research developments, Darik Radio reported. Together with Bulgarian Bogdan Petrounov, Collizi is working on a vaccine which at the same time develops immunity against HIV and tuberculosis.

The project was worth 10 billion euro, Collizi said. Funds were needed for the development and practical implementation of the vaccine, said he.

New vaccine to fight cancer


TNF-alpha proteinBritish researchers have developed a vaccine that stimulates the body’s immune system to fight off cancerous cells.

In a clinical trial of 67 colorectal cancer patients, University of Nottingham scientists found that when the vaccines were administered before and after tumour removal surgery, immune cell production increased in 70 per cent of the volunteers.
"This is the first vaccine shown to stimulate TNF-alpha – an immune-system protein that is very effective at killing cancer cells," said Lindy Durrant, senior author of the study and professor of cancer immunotherapy at the university.

dynavax technologiesA novel vaccine designed to treat ragweed allergy significantly improved nasal symptoms for at least 2 years, according to a study presented here at the 52nd annual scientific meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. In addition, patients given the vaccine showed similar trends in symptom relief, regardless of how severely allergic they were to ragweed at baseline.

"We're very excited about this," said Eduardo Martins, MD, vice-president for clinical development at Dynavax Technologies, the San Francisco-based company developing the Tolamba ragweed allergy vaccine. "There have been 14 research trials to date with different dosages, and although they've been small, trial after trial, we've had consistently good results like this for patients across the board."

This randomized placebo-controlled study — the largest to date on this ragweed vaccine — included 462 people aged 18 to 55 years with confirmed ragweed allergy. One group received 6 weekly injections of the vaccine in incremental doses; the other group received injected placebo. Patients were then followed for 2 allergy seasons and asked to electronically report their daily hayfever symptoms, medication use, and related factors.

Gardasil cheaper


gardasilDrug company CSL will today cut its asking price for cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil in a renewed bid to secure public subsidies.

CSL chief executive Brian McNamee has cut short a trip to the US to attend a meeting with Department of Health officials in the hope of reversing last week's rejection of the vaccine's listing on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme.

The vaccine, developed by Australian of the Year Ian Frazer, protects women against cervical cancer.

source - The Australian News

vaccine shot Fears over pandemic flu collided with growing concerns over the safety of childhood vaccinations Monday when a parents group challenged the Centers for Disease Control's recent recommendation that infants and pregnant women receive flu shots this year.

PutChildrenFirst.Org, a parent-led group working to increase awareness of the dangers of mercury in flu shots, held a teleconference Monday in opposition to the CDC's new flu shot campaign that says flu shots containing thimerosol, a preservative containing mercury, are safe.

Over the past few years, the debate over the link between childhood immunizations and autism has grown increasingly contentious. While there is no debate over the dangers of mercury exposure, the question has been whether the amount of mercury present in vaccinations poses a health risk.

Flu Drug Tamiflu May Cause Odd Behavior in Children

tamifluHealthDay News -- Responding to reports from overseas, U.S. heath officials are urging doctors and parents to watch for signs of bizarre behavior in children taking the flu drug Tamiflu.

Officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration don't know if the more than 100 new cases of strange behavior, including three deaths from falls, are tied to the drug, to the flu itself, or a combination of both, the Associated Press reported.

The FDA is mulling changes to the Tamiflu label that may recommend that all patients, especially children, be closely monitored while on the drug.

Flu Vaccine: Low Risk of Rare Disease

guillain-barre syndromeA new study shows there is a "very low" risk of a rare, serious disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome in people who get flu vaccines.

But the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, doesn't discourage getting the vaccine.

Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) is rare; flu is common. And flu vaccines are the single best way to prevent flu, according to the CDC.

"We suggest that the decision to recommend vaccination against influenza should primarily be guided by evidence of its benefit," write the researchers, who include Kumanan Wilson, MD, MSc, of Canada's Toronto General Hospital.

Campaign to immunise 60,000 children begins


God, bless these children... 

mass-vaccination in qatarQATAR - MORE than 60,000 children will be vaccinated over a five-day period in the first phase of the multi-antigen mass immunisation campaign launched yesterday by the National Health Authority’s (NHA) Communicable Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention section.

NHA chief executive officer Dr Michael Walsh inaugurated the campaign at the vaccination unit at Abu Hamour. Chairman of the Expert Committee on Immunisation, Dr Mohamed al-Janahi, CDC head Dr Syed Fazal Shah, and NHA director of communications Abdul Azeez al-Sulaiti were also present.

Walsh told a press conference at the NHA headquarters on Thursday that all children aged two months to five years would be administered two doses of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and a dose of pneumocococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) in the current round.

Vaccine 'tackles kidney cancer'

Oxford BiomedicaA vaccine which uses the body's immune system to attack an aggressive form of kidney cancer has completely eradicated one patient's tumour.

The TroVax vaccine, made by Oxford Biomedica, has been given to 150 patients so far in clinical trials.

Another two patients have seen their tumours shrink, and a further 15 have been stable for at least three months.

UK cancer experts said the data, presented at a conference in Prague, showed TroVax was effective.

US success raises fresh hope of a vaccination for cancer

lab miceMice vaccinated with stem cells have proved to be resistant to lung cancer.

The findings, announced yesterday at a conference in Prague, suggest the possibility of developing embryonic stem-cell vaccines that prevent cancers in humans.

John Eaton, of the University of Louisville, told the meeting that the vaccinations were 80 to 100 per cent effective in preventing cancer growth in mice after they had been given transplanted tumours. The vaccinations had also proved 60 to 90 per cent effective in mice exposed to the carcinogens that caused lung cancer.

EU: more importance to vaccination

animal diseasesMany EU countries feel that vaccination should be more important for preventing and fighting animal diseases.
This thought was clearly expressed at an EU conference on animal diseases, held this week. Both member states and organisations involved discussed about a new strategy for the years to come until 2013.
Ultimate goal of the conference is to create a coherent European policy on animal diseases.

VRAN - Vaccine Risk Awareness Network


VRANThis is a third website about vaccination risks and effectiveness.

A lot of work has been put into this website, and for sure it does look prettier and more professional than previous two - Vaccination Liberation and The Vaccination Hoax.

I welcome you to check the VRAN website out: 

VRAN website is designed to provide you with more information about risks and potential side-effects of vaccines, to get support if you or someone you know may have suffered adverse reactions from vaccines, and to foster a multi-disciplinary approach to child and family health.

VRAN - Vaccination Risk Awareness Network is a not-for-profit educational society. Formed in response to growing parental concern regarding the safety of current vaccination programs in Canada.

VRAN continues the work of the Committee Against Compulsory Vaccination, started by Ontario parents in 1982 in protest of the Immunization of School Pupils Act.

Unlike other internet-sites, VRAN does not collect any personal data on any visitor unless specifically disclosed by the visitor (i.e. in the membership-application).

PM vows to subsidise cervical cancer vaccine


PM John Howard (c) getty imagesGardasil got rejected a subsidy in Australia due to the high cost of the vaccine. However today the australian Prime Minister voiced his wish to change that decision. In other words, the australian taxpayers will ensure the profit of pharmaceutical corporation. Right?

Here is an interview transcript from The World Today:

ELEANOR HALL: The Prime Minister John Howard has now declared that a new vaccine for cervical cancer will be subsidised, despite the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommending against it.

Mr Howard says the Government will provide funding for the vaccine, it's just a question of when. The Prime Minister was responding to widespread outrage this morning from doctors and from some members of his own backbench, as Lynn Bell reports from Canberra.

Nasal flu vaccine effective in kids with asthma


nasal spray vaccine NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - In children with asthma and recurrent respiratory tract infections, nasal spray flu vaccine (sometimes called live attenuated influenza virus vaccine) is well tolerated and more effective than inactivated influenza virus vaccine given as a shot, according to the results of two studies.

In the first study, Dr. William C. Gruber, from Wyeth Research in Pearl River, New York, and colleagues assessed the outcomes of 2220 children with asthma, who were between 6 and 17 years old. They were randomized to receive the live attenuated nasal spray flu vaccine or the inactivated flu vaccine shot during the 2002-2003 influenza season.

The influenza rate in the nasal spray flu vaccine group was 4.1 percent, significantly lower than the 6.2 percent rate noted in the group that got the flu shot. Thus, the nasal spray had a greater relative efficacy of 34.7 percent. The occurrence of asthma flare-ups and other asthma-related episodes did not differ significantly between the two vaccine groups.

Inquiry into vaccination concerns

vaccineSCOTLAND - Patients at an Aberdeen GP practice may have been exposed to the risk of illness by vaccines possibly being stored at wrong temperatures.

Health chiefs are offering 813 patients at the Northfield Health Centre booster vaccines in case they are not properly protected from infection.

NHS Grampian apologised for the anxiety that would be caused to families as children may not be fully protected.

A helpline on 08000 282 836 is available from 0800 GMT to 2200 GMT.

The problem was discovered in September when a health visitor took a vaccine out of a box and thought it was not the normal temperature.

Drugs and fear: A new bird flu flurry


bird fluNEW YORK ( -- Scientists have discovered a new strain of bird flu that has infected humans in China, which could arouse fresh fears of a possible pandemic and spur further interest in experimental drugs and vaccines.

Dr. Robert Webster of St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, along with other scientists from the U.S. and China, announced "the emergence and pre-dominance of a previously uncharacterized" substrain of bird flu, appearing in Chinese poultry since late 2005.

The scientists, who published their findings on the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Web site, also reported that the substrain of H5N1, also known as bird flu, had "caused recent human infection in China." Researchers noted that some of these cases were residents of urban areas remote from poultry farms.

Skin-patch vaccines will take over?

Iomai patch vaccine Painless vaccines that could simply be stuck like a band-aid are being tested on several volunteers. Skin-patch vaccines are being tested for protection against the flu and travelers’ diarrhea.

Iomai Corp. has developed these vaccines and is conducting early trials with the funding from the National Institutes of Health.

According to the company, the vaccines will not just be painless; it may easily be used by anybody by himself or herself. It could be as simple as the manufactured vaccine being dispatched to people with instructions on how to stick it on to the skin.

Gardasil refused subsidy


gardasilAUSTRALIA - A world-first vaccine that prevents 70 per cent of cervical cancers has been knocked back from the national immunisation program, Labor said today.

The government's pharmaceutical advisory body today rejected an application from Australian manufacturer CSL to have the vaccine Gardasil available free to all females aged 12 to 26.

Australian-designed Gardasil halts the spread of sexually-transmitted human papilloma virus (HPV), which causes 70 per cent of cervical cancer.

SRI wins $57M fed avian-flu contract


SRIMENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 7 (UPI) -- SRI International said Tuesday it has been awarded a $56.9 million U.S. government contract to develop avian-flu drugs and antibodies.

The company said the contract -- awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health -- is "to provide preclinical services for the development of drugs and antibodies for anti-infective therapeutics."

Under the deal, SRI will provide five years of support for the development of treatments for avian flu, SARS, West Nile virus, hepatitis, and biodefense pathogens and toxins.

Foam can kill chickens in a bird flu outbreak


bird fluThe article below raises two questions:

  1. Who will actually introduce bird flu to US birds? CDC? Beef industry or Pharma giant?
  2. What does Greenpeace think about this?
  3. Why US citizens let their administration use fear of the bird-flu as an instrument of influence?

(that would be 3 questions, though) 

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government has approved the use of firefighting foam to kill chickens quickly if there is an outbreak of deadly bird flu in commercial poultry.

The Agriculture Department says water-based foam can be an alternative to carbon dioxide, which has traditionally been used to quickly kill large quantities of birds.

helping poor childrenInvestors around the world vied with each other on Tuesday to buy into a $1-billion US bond offering to fund vaccinations for children in some of the world's poorest countries.

The securities — the first of their kind — were so popular that there were twice as many bids as there were bonds.

Among those rushing to invest were rock stars such as Bono and Bob Geldof, religious leaders ranging from the Pope to the Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sachs of United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth.

Investors also included the Muslim Council of Britain, the Hindu Forum of Britain and the Network of Sikh Organisations.

Generex bird-flu vaccine ready for trials


bird-flu vaccineTORONTO, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Generex Biotechnology said Monday it would begin the first human trial of its avian flu vaccine in Lebanon.

The Canadian firm said it has entered into a deal with the Beirut-based Lebanese-Canadian Hospital to conduct a clinical trial of the synthetic vaccine developed by Generex subsidiary Antigen Express.

The egg-based avian-flu vaccine is based on simple peptide-synthesis technology and as such can be made quickly, easily and cheaply, Generex said.

Researchers Question Flu Vaccine Safety


flu vaccine(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Every year the government pushes people to get the annual flu shot. But should they?

Maybe not -- and especially not for young children, according to experts from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC). They point to recent studies revealing the medical evidence simply isn't there to suggest the flu shot is truly safe or effective for either children or adults, and it may be causing real harm in young kids.

The study comes from the Cochrane Collaboration, which gathers research conducted in specific areas and analyzes it for scientific reliability and validity. In this case, the investigators found most of the studies published on the flu shot were flawed in some manner. Of chief concern, the studies were generally observational in nature rather than randomized. In observational studies, researchers watch a group of people to see how they fare. In randomized studies, researchers compare carefully matched groups -- one of which received a treatment and one of which didn't -- to come up with their findings.

Pope to buy 'vaccination' bond

Pope Benedict (ANSA) - Vatican City, November 6 - Pope Benedict will on Tuesday become the holder of the first bond issued by the British government to help fund vaccination programmes for children in the Developing World .

Cardinal Renato Martino, one of Benedict's top aides, was scheduled to fly to London to attend the bond sale on behalf of the German pontiff .

"In this way, Benedict XVI wants to show his full support for this initiative," said the Italian prelate, who heads the Vatican's 'Justice and Peace' department .

Aussie company in cancer vaccine race


replikun biotechAn Australian company is in a global race to produce a vaccine for diseases such as HIV and cancer.

The privately-owned company Replikun Biotech Pty Ltd has used the kunjin virus, found in mosquitoes from the wet tropics region of north Queensland, to make an injectable vaccine after processing with gene technology.

Replikun Biotech says laboratory testing has yielded promising results and the company has now reached the stage where the vaccine could be tested on monkeys, and if that is successful, on humans.

Replikun Biotech chief executive Shane Storey said the class of vaccines under development activated parts of the immune system which conventional vaccines could not kick-start.

Serena Williams assists Ghana vaccination Campaign


Serena Williams with kids (c) Voice of AmericaHundreds of mothers with babies, and curious children and adults, turned out at this vaccination center, one of 95,000 across the country. Serena Williams winced, as she watched as health workers administered vaccines to children five years and younger.  "I hate shots," said Williams.

UNICEF Ghana's chief of health and nutrition, Mark Young, explained the process of administering polio vaccine. "Polio is just given in drops, two drops, is not by injection, an oral polio [vaccine]," he explained.

The two time Wimbledon champion was offered a bowl of water to wash her hands, after which she administered oral polio vaccine to babies.

CDC shifts focus on vaccination data


CDCWASHINGTON -- Federal health officials have decided to forgo gathering detailed data on whether children in 22 big cities are receiving recommended immunizations and instead will survey teenagers, who are the target of several new vaccines.

The decision is drawing protests from local health officials, who say the soon-to-be-lost information is essential to their efforts to make sure that infants and toddlers, many from poor families, are protected against childhood infections.

"Unfortunately, we are going backward here," said Jeffrey Duchin, chief of the communicable-disease section of Seattle's health department. "At a time when we need more information, we are getting less about what is happening in little kids."


VaxGen Inc.'s troubled $877.5 million federal contract to produce a new anthrax vaccine hit another snag Friday that delayed delivery of the shots a third time and jeopardized the struggling company's future.

The Food and Drug Administration is concerned the vaccine will lose its potency too fast to be effective and halted a pivotal human test of the experimental drug, the company said. In a conference call with analysts, VaxGen officials said the vaccine lost potency over time, but its scientists didn't believe the loss was significant.

Chief Executive Officer Lance Gordon said company officials hoped to meet with FDA officials soon to discuss the agency's refusal to allow the human test to begin.

Tis the season for the flu


flu seasonBy Darrel Crain, DC

 Don't you just love the changing of the seasons? Winter, then spring, then summer, then flu…wait a minute, what day does the flu season actually begin? I checked all the calendars in my house, but I could not find a single one that marked the starting day of flu season.

After looking in a few newspapers I concluded nobody really knows for sure. Various reports pegged the opening at the first of September, the first of October, and even the first of November, according to one Canadian newspaper. Two things they all agreed on, though. First, the flu bug will probably be terrible this year, and second, everyone should get a flu shot.

Most Americans, however, just aren't buying it. According to a recent poll, the flu is pretty far down the list of things we worry about. Most of us turn up our nose rather than roll up our sleeve.

Officials temporarily waive mercury-free flu vaccine

flu vaccineCalifornia officials agreed today to temporarily allow children under 3 to get flu shots containing a mercury-laced preservative, after doctors warned that shortages of the mercury-free version could threaten children's health.

"We feel it is important to offer this short-term alternative to parents and health care providers in order to ensure young children are protected from the potentially severe effects of the flu," Kim Belshe, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in a statement.

The exemption affects children under the age of 3 and will last six weeks, giving the manufacturer of the pediatric vaccine, Pennsylvania-based Sanofi Pasteur, time to ship about 500,000 more doses.

Although California has received only half the doses ordered, at least three local providers -- Kaiser Permanente, Stanford Hospital and the Santa Clara County health department -- said they have no shortage of either adult or pediatric vaccine.

Anti-vaccination author will speak in Waterloo

Leonard HorowitzWATERLOO - Controversial consumer health advocate Dr. Leonard Horowitz will stop by the Holiday Inn next week to discuss what he believes are religious and civil rights violations related to personal and public health.

Horowitz, a former dentist, has authored 16 books, including three national best-sellers, on topics ranging from emerging diseases to vaccination risks. He is also the founder of the Tetrahedron Publishing Group, a non-profit health education corporation.

"Public health and school officials nationwide are poisoning people, violating civil rights, religious freedoms, state statutes and federal laws, including your right to abstain from risky medical procedures," Horowitz said, adding that he believes vaccinations and tuberculosis skin tests are causing the bulk of newly emerging diseases.

Information On Bird Flu Cases Poorly Recorded


H5N1 virusThe highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been detected in at least 55 countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa. This often fatal disease is of pressing concern because it can be transmitted from birds to humans, although such transmissions have been rare so far.


Unfortunately, according to a Roundtable article in the November 2006 BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), critical information about incidence of the disease in wild birds--even the species of the infected bird--is often recorded inaccurately or not recorded at all. The deficiencies in data collection, the authors write, "can lead to unwarranted assumptions and conclusions that in turn affect public perceptions, practical control and management measures, and the disposition of resources."


A Shot of Fear


vaccine shotI almost missed this article. Thanks to, I noticed it today.

Our local television news played a story in which a pharmacist was called "a murderer" when his vaccine supply ran out. Ironically, the crisis mentality led some to engage in behaviors that probably increased their risk. Frail elderly people, some with oxygen tanks, stood in long lines in the cold, waiting for the vaccine. Others crowded clinics and doctors' offices, increasing their chance of exposure to flu and other infectious agents.
By choosing to highlight the annual number of flu deaths, the CDC employed an attention-grabbing tactic often used by public health and disease advocacy groups. It's a tactic readers should be inoculated against if they want a clear picture of the risks they face.

Read this brilliant article below. 

Norwood Immunology buys flu vaccine company Bestewil


Norwood ImmunologyLONDON (AFX) - Norwood Immunology Ltd said, following a revision of terms for the acquisition of Bestewil Holding Ltd, holding company of Virosome Biologicals Ltd, it has agreed to buy the company for around 48 mln shares and 3.5 mln eur in cash.

Earlier this month Norwood allowed an option to buy the Dutch flu vaccine company lapse, having paid 725,00 eur for the call. But the company said now the revised acquisition terms have been agreed it is to proceed with the purchase.

Based on the company's closing mid market share price of 20 pence on October 26, and a 0.67 eur/1 stg exchange rate this is equivalent to a total consideration of 11.9 mln stg.


Novavax to Provide Vaccine for CDC Study


Novavax MALVERN, Pa. — Drug developer Novavax Inc. on Tuesday said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agreed to test the company's bird flu vaccine against a live strain of the H5N1 virus that causes the disease.

Under the agreement, Novavax will provide the CDC with a year's supply of its virus-like particle, or VLP, H5N1 vaccine. Novavax also plans to begin human testing of the vaccine in the first half of 2007.

VLPs are structures that are identical to a virus but lack the genetic material required to replicate, allowing for the body to produce an immune response without risking an infection.

Novavax shares rose 47 cents, or 11.5 percent, to $4.57 in premarket electronic trading, after closing at $4.10 Monday on the Nasdaq.


GARDASIL added to CDC Vaccines for Children Contract


gardasilWHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Merck & Co., Inc. today announced that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added Mercks cervical cancer vaccine, GARDASIL® [Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus (Types 6, 11, 16, 18) Recombinant Vaccine] to the CDCs Vaccines for Children (VFC) contract for girls and women aged 9 to 18. GARDASIL was approved on June 8 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in girls and women ages 9 to 26 years. GARDASIL is the worlds first and only vaccine available for the prevention of HPV types 16- and 18-related cervical cancer, cervical pre-cancers (CIN 2/3 and AIS), vulvar pre-cancers (VIN 2/3) and vaginal pre-cancers (VaIN 2/3) and for the prevention of genital warts and low-grade cervical lesions (CIN 1) caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.

"The addition of GARDASIL to the VFC program is a very positive step towards protecting the future health of girls and young women in this country against cervical cancer caused by HPV types 16 and 18," said Mark Feinberg, M.D., Ph.D., vice president, Policy, Public Health and Medical Affairs in the Merck Vaccine Division. "Inclusion of GARDASIL in the VFC program, coupled with private insurance coverage and Merck's Vaccine Patient Assistance Program, represent important means to facilitate broad and equitable access to GARDASIL."