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Vaccine Manufacturers Begin Production of 2012-2013 Flu Vaccine

Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Vaccine Manufacturers Begin Production of 2012-2013 Flu Vaccine

The FDA green-lighted influenza vaccines from all 6 vaccine manufacturers licensed to produce and distribute in theU.S., making way for the 2012-2013 flu season.

The products from the big 6–CSL, GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), ID Biomedical, AstraZeneca’s ($AZN) MedImmune, Novartis ($NVS) and Sanofi Pasteur–will include strains for A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)-like virus, A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus and B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus. The H1N1 virus matches what manufacturers included during the last season, but the H3N2 and B viruses differ.

Sometimes the virus strains predicted to circulate and those that actually make the rounds don’t line up. But even if the vaccines and circulating strains aren’t identical, the vaccines can reduce the severity of the illness or help prevent influenza-related complications, according to an FDA release.

“The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated each year,” said Karen Midthun, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “It is especially important to get vaccinated this year because two of the three virus strains used in this season’s influenza vaccines differ from the strains included in last year’s vaccines.”

Seasonal influenza kills more than 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 more each year in the United States, according to National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Posted: September 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Breakthrough in the Search for a Malaria Vaccine

Researchers atAustralia’s Burnet Institute discovered a prime target in the immune system’s battle against malaria, marking a turning point in the search for a vaccine.

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with ...

Malaria distribution map. Most countries with a high distribution of malaria also have a high distribution of parasitic worm infections. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Studies show people immune to the disease develop antibodies that home in on a protein known as PfEMP1, produced by Plasmodium falciparum, the organism behind most cases of malaria, according to Medical Xpress. The findings prove valuable in determining for which malaria proteins–known as variant surface antigens–a vaccine should aim. The study also showed that when the immune system takes action against other proteins produced by malaria, it does not effectively protect the body, further underscoring the need for a vaccine to seek out the appropriate target.

“The new findings support the idea that a vaccine could be developed that stimulates the immune system so that it specifically mounts a strong response (or attack) against the PfEMP1 protein that malaria produces,” James Beeson, senior author of the study, tells Medical Xpress.

More than 40% of the world’s population live in areas where there is a risk of contracting the mosquito-borne illness, which will make developing a vaccine both profitable to the manufacturer and beneficial to world health. Nearly 1 million individuals die of malaria each year, according to the NIH.


$31 Million in Funding to Research HIV/AIDS Vaccine

Posted: August 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Passport Health Sarasota-Bradenton Announcements | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on $31 Million in Funding to Research HIV/AIDS Vaccine
HIV Particle

HIV Particle (Photo credit: AJC1)

North Carolina’s Duke University and California’s Scripps Research Institute received a combined $31 million in first-year funding to direct the new Centers for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology & Immunogen Discovery. The program fuels the long-time hunt for vaccines against intractable HIV.

Over 6 years, the initiative is expected to receive $186 million, which will go toward accelerating HIV vaccine development. Researchers will study immune responses that prevent or contain HIV infection and generate model vaccine components that can induce such responses, according to a National Institutes of Health release.

Duke received $19.9 million and Scripps received $11.1 million in funding for fiscal 2012. The groups have a tricky task ahead, as any worthy vaccine would have to provide a broad defense against multiple strains of HIV. Vaccines, of course, offer the promise of preventing infection in people at risk of HIV, which is now treated with anti-viral drugs.

“In recent years, considerable progress has been made in identifying antibodies that can prevent a broad range of HIV strains from infecting human cells,” Anthony Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said in a statement. “CHAVI-ID will attempt to understand how these antibodies and other immune responses work to protect against HIV infection, providing scientists with a rational foundation for designing what we hope will be an effective HIV vaccine.”

The United States sees an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections each year, and an estimated 34 million people live with HIV worldwide, according to the NIAID.


Vaccine for Dengue Fever? Possible

Posted: August 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Travel Vaccines Updates | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Vaccine for Dengue Fever? Possible
Dengue distribution in 2006. Red : Epidemic de...

Dengue distribution in 2006. Red : Epidemic dengue and Ae. aegypti Aqua : Just Ae. aegypti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Production of a dengue vaccine could cost mere pocket change, according to an economic analysis completed by the Dengue Vaccine Initiative, a consortium that works on access to dengue vaccines in impacted areas. Producing a tetravalent dengue vaccine may cost as little as 20 cents per dose, with an annual production level of 60 million doses packaged in 10-dose vials, according to News-Medical.

Of course, cost of production is only one component when it comes to pricing a vaccine. The final cost encompasses prior R&D, obtaining regulatory approval, marketing and distribution, start-up expenses and more. A dengue vaccine will likely cost much more initially, when demand may be low, according to the article.

The economic analysis used data on a vaccine developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and facilities of the Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“The cost of a vaccine is one of the most important factors affecting its adoption and uptake,” Richard Mahoney of the DVI told News-Medical. Mahoney co-authored the report, published in Vaccine. “Our goal with this study was to determine the baseline expenses for the vaccine’s production. We believe the results should help pave the way for the rapid introduction and distribution of a dengue vaccine once licensed,” he said.

Dengue fever is a virus-caused disease spread through mosquitoes and is caused by one of four different, but related, viruses.