New Flu Vaccine May Not Have to be Given Every Year

Posted: December 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: | Comments Off on New Flu Vaccine May Not Have to be Given Every Year

Every flu season, doctors and pharmacists must stock up on the latest influenza vaccine to offer patients. Unlike other vaccines that provide decades worth of protection, the flu vaccine needs to be administered every year. But researchers are looking to change this.

Dr. Sarah Gilbert and her colleagues of Oxford University are working to build a T cell-based vaccine that can attack the part of the flu virus that changes little from year to year. The scientists engineered a virus that can both recognize the proteins from one kind of virus and infect cells but not replicate, the Associated Press reports. This means the infected cells are put on display, but people who receive the vaccine do not grow ill.

“In the history of vaccinology, it’s the only one we update year to year,” Gary J. Nabel, the director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said (as quoted by the AP). “That’s the goal: Two shots when you’re young, and then boosters later in life. That’s where we’d like to go.”

In a clinical trial of a vaccine that prepares T cells to mount a strong attack against flu viruses, scientists vaccinated 11 subjects and exposed them to the flu. At the same time, they exposed all 11 unvaccinated volunteers. Two vaccinated people became ill, along with 5 unvaccinated ones.

Other researchers are working on vaccines that generate antibodies effective against many flu viruses.

US Awards Contract for Anthrax Vaccine

Posted: December 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: | Comments Off on US Awards Contract for Anthrax Vaccine

The U.S. government doled out a contract worth £4 million ($6.4 million) to the U.K.’s Health Protection Agency to develop a next-generation anthrax vaccine. The project will be valued at £14 million ($22.6 million) if all milestones are met.

The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, provided the contract. HPA will use its expertise in anthrax vaccine antigens with NanoBio‘s adjuvant technology that enables a vaccine to be delivered in fewer doses than are needed currently and sprayed up the nose with an intra-nasal device.

NanoBio, based in Ann Arbor, MI, focuses on developing vaccines based on its technology, dubbed NanoStat. Work on the anthrax vaccine will take place at HPA’s facilities in Porton, Wiltshire in the U.K.

“We are delighted to achieve this award, which is recognition of our world-leading status in the field of anthrax vaccine research and development–we already manufacture anthrax vaccine for the U.K. and our expertise in this area is essential for the success of this program,” Dr. Roger Hinton, principal investigator and head of development and production at HPA Porton, said in a statement.

Anthrax is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Bacillus anthracis. Attempts have been made to weaponize anthrax.

CDC Releases Cholera Alert for the Dominican Republic

Posted: December 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Health Alerts | Tags: , , | Comments Off on CDC Releases Cholera Alert for the Dominican Republic

CDC / Cholera in the Dominican Republic, update

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Outbreak notice: November 28, 2012 

What is the Current Situation? 

An outbreak of cholera has been ongoing in the Dominican Republic since November 2010. According to the Dominican Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud Publica y Asistencia Social [MSP]), as of November 3, 2012, 6,622 suspected cholera cases and 47 suspected cholera-related deaths have been reported for 2012.

What is Cholera? 

Cholera is a bacterial disease that can cause diarrhea and dehydration. Cholera is most often spread through the ingestion of contaminated food or drinking water. Water may be contaminated by the feces of an infected person or by untreated sewage. Food is often contaminated by water containing cholera bacteria or by being handled by a person ill with cholera. 

How can Travelers Protect themselves?

Most travelers are not at high risk for getting cholera, but people who are traveling to the Dominican Republic should exercise caution to avoid getting sick.

CDC recommends that all travelers prepare a travel health kit when going abroad. If you are planning travel to the Dominican Republic, CDC advises packing the following supplies in your travel health kit to help prevent cholera and to treat it.

  • A prescription antibiotic to take in case of diarrhea
  • Water purification tablets
  • Oral rehydration salts

Dukoral vaccine is not available in USA but is available in Canada.

  • Drink and use safe water*
  • Wash your hands often with soap and safe water*
  • Use toilets; do not defecate in any body of water
  • Cook food well (especially seafood), keep it covered, eat it hot, and peel fruits and vegetables ( Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it.)
  • Clean up safely in the kitchen and in places where the family bathes and washes clothes

Before departing for the Dominican Republic, talk to your doctor about getting a prescription for an antibiotic. If you get sick with diarrhea while you are in the Dominican Republic, you can take the antibiotic, as prescribed. Also, remember to drink fluids and use oral rehydration salts (ORS) to prevent dehydration.

If you have severe watery diarrhea, seek medical care right away. 

Source: CDC / Cholera in Dominican Republic, update

Flu Vaccine Protects from More than Flu

Posted: December 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: | Comments Off on Flu Vaccine Protects from More than Flu

A new study shows the influenza vaccine protects against more than just the flu–it defends against heart attacks.

Dr. Jacob Udell, a cardiologist at Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto, found those who received a flu shot reduced their risk of heart attacks and other serious cardiovascular problems by nearly half during a one-year follow-up period, HealthDay reports. Udell and his team studied more than 3,200 patients from 1994 to 2008. Some people were free of heart disease while others had recently had heart attacks or had stable cardiovascular disease or other coronary problems. Those who received a flu vaccine showed a 50% reduction in heart attack, stroke or other major cardiovascular events.

So how does this work? According to Udell, experts aren’t quite sure. The vaccine may protect vulnerable patients already in poor health from falling more ill. And protection may also result from avoiding the inflammation that goes hand-in-hand with the flu. Either way, Udell said (as quoted by HealthDay), “it certainly lends support to a lot of clinical guidelines that recommend the flu vaccine to patients either with heart disease or after a heart attack.”

Another study showed promising results for patients with implantable cardiac defibrillators. During flu season, those individuals report they get more shocks and need more medical attention than at other times of the year. Cardiologists from Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto completed this study, finding that 11% of those who received the flu vaccine got at least one shock from their defibrillator during flu season. Compare that with the nearly 14% of those who did not receive the vaccine and got a shock from their defibrillator.

Less than 30% of U.S. adults aged 18 to 49 got vaccinated last flu season, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Sponsors the Eddie Herr Tournament

Posted: December 4th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Comments Off on Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Sponsors the Eddie Herr Tournament

Last week Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton took part in sponsoring the Eddie Herr International Junior Tennis Tournament, the premier junior tennis tournament in the world.  We got to talk to many young athletes who aspired to come to the United States.  We rubbed shoulders with some incredible athletic talent at the event.  Thanks to IMG for holding another successful Eddie Herr Tournament.  Please enjoy the photos:

We were lucky to enjoy beautiful weather all weekend!

Players, Coaches and Parents mingle on campus

That is a serious bracket

Anti-Cocaine Vaccine? Possible

Posted: November 29th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: | Comments Off on Anti-Cocaine Vaccine? Possible

An anti-cocaine vaccine combined with Immunovaccine‘s DepoVax showed promising results in an exploratory study. 

New Travel Agency Offers Trips to Alpine Destinations

Posted: November 28th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Sarasota-Bradenton Travel Professionals | Tags: | Comments Off on New Travel Agency Offers Trips to Alpine Destinations

Tom and Karen Niederer are a microcosm of the growing diversity of the Sarasota-Bradenton area.  Karen is originally from the UK and Tom is originally from Switzerland.  They lived in Austria for many years and now they live in Bradenton, FL.

Being experts on the Alpine countries of Europe – Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein and Austria – they decided to share the wonderful sites and experiences of this area with Americans.  They established a travel agency, Alpentouristik Travel, in 2009.  Their office is in Bradenton, on Lena Road, and they serve the entire Sarasota-Bradenton area.

Some of the tours they offer include a Three Countries Tour (Munich, Krimml Waterfalls, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Venice and more) a European Splendor Tour (Austria, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and a Historical Highlights Tour (Germany and Austria).  These tours are in May and June.  Of course, no Alpine travel agency would be complete without a ski tour!  Alpentouristik offers a trip to Saalbach-Hinterglemm, in the Austrian Alps, where visitors can find 124 miles of downhill slopes, 55 lifts, night skiing and lively nightlife in the village.  This trip is offered in March.

Alpentouristik Travel also offers tours through Central Europe and individually-tailored vacations in Austria.

Karen and Tom’s expertise comes from their 50 years of combined experience living and travelling through the Alpine countries of Europe.  When choosing a destination for your next trip, you definitely want to consult with these experts on Alpine travel.  They can be contacted via telephone at (941) 932-3144.

Please enjoy some photos of the sights of Central Europe.


Bird Flu Vaccine Being Tested on Humans

Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , | Comments Off on Bird Flu Vaccine Being Tested on Humans

A total of 666 healthy adults ages 18 to 49 were enrolled in the two trials to demonstrate the immunogenicity of Novavax’s VLP-based H5N1 vaccine candidate at varying dose levels, with and without an adjuvant.  Each person received intramuscular injections of vaccine or placebo at day 0 and day 21, and will be followed for 13 months.  Current data show safety and immune responses over the first 42 days.

“We have demonstrated that Novavax can produce antigens from avian influenza strains that are as, or more, immunogenic than any other described in published results to date,” Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, said in a press release. “Importantly, as we accelerate our development activities, these results give us tremendous flexibility for pursuing pandemic vaccine products, including vaccines directed at population segments that are sensitive to adjuvant use.”

The U.S.government maintains a stockpile of similar vaccines, Gregory Wade, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, said. He expects there would be an annual stock of Novavax’s. The time frame for licensing the drug is 2015, he told Bloomberg, and the need is based on whether a strain of the virus breaks out.

Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Posted: November 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Stronger Influenza Vaccines Needed

Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy claim current influenza vaccines offer less protection against the infectious disease than previously thought, and better ones are necessary.

A report titled “The Compelling Need for Game-Changing Influenza Vaccines” says the U.S.-licensed trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine does not differ widely from the one first developed in 1968. And a live-attenuated influenza vaccine licensed in 2003 is made using techniques from the 1930s, Fox reports.

So why hasn’t a new flu vaccine come along? The financial risks and inadequate incentives throw up roadblocks for most biotechs that might otherwise show interest. The entire process–from preclinical research through licensure–can take up to 15 years and cost more than $1 billion, the report says. A novel flu vaccine providing protection over the course of several years will need to cost more per dose than current vaccines for investors and manufacturers to realize the financial benefit of the endeavor.

And many believe the current flu vaccines offer enough protection. “A major barrier to the development of game-changing influenza vaccines is the perception that current vaccines are already highly effective in preventing influenza infection,” the report says.

Currently, 6 companies are licensed to produce and distribute flu vaccines in the U.S.: CSL, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s MedImmune, Novartis  and Sanofi Pasteur. This year, a total of 135 million doses of influenza vaccine will be on hand. Each year, between 3,000 and 49,000 Americans die from seasonal influenza.

American Vaccine Manufacturer Applies to Buy Russian Pharma

Posted: November 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on American Vaccine Manufacturer Applies to Buy Russian Pharma

Pharma giant Abbott Laboratories has filed an application to acquire Russia’s Petrovax Pharm, its flu vaccines partner. Such a deal would become one of the top three largest in the history of the Russian pharmaceutical market, experts say.

A team of Russian flu vaccine researchers founded Petrovax in 1996. Last year, the company’s sales hit $98 million, Izvestia reports, placing the company 12th among domestic pharma companies. Both companies declined to comment on the deal.

But Izvestia‘s sources say Abbott filed for approval to acquire 62.5% of Petrovax. This includes the 25% stake the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development acquired for $27 million in 2008, the 18.77% stake of co-founder and CEO Arkady Nekrasov, and fellow co-founder Natalya Puchkova’s 18.74%. Petrovax owns the rest of its shares. Analysts value the deal at up to $294 million.

The deal would make Abbott the only American company to own production facilities in Russia. DSM analyst Yulia Nechayeva believes that Abbott wants to become localized in the Russian market. DSM says the company annually sells $430 million worth of product in a market worth $30 billion, the paper reports, which doesn’t even qualify for the domestic top 10. Petrovax already manufactures Pfizer’s pneumococcal vaccine.