HEALTH

FDA approves vaccine for 2009-2010 seasonal influenza

BY Allison Cerra

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that it has approved a vaccine for 2009-2010 seasonal influenza in the United States.

The seasonal influenza vaccine will not protect against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus that resulted in the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organization on June 11. The FDA continues to work with manufacturers, international partners and other government agencies to facilitate the availability of a safe and effective vaccine against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

Although this year’s seasonal vaccine is directed against other strains of influenza expected to be circulating and will not provide protection against the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, it is still important for those Americans for whom it is recommended to receive the seasonal influenza vaccine. No vaccine is 100% effective against preventing disease, but vaccination is the best protection against influenza and can prevent many illnesses and deaths, the FDA said.

The six vaccine brand names and manufacturers are: Afluria, CSL Limited; Fluarix, GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals; FluLaval, ID Biomedical Corporation; Fluvirin, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics Limited; Fluzone, Sanofi Pasteur Inc.; and FluMist, MedImmune Vaccines Inc.

“The approval of this year’s seasonal influenza vaccine is an example of the FDA’s important responsibility to assure timely availability of vaccine to help protect the health of the American public,” said FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. “A new seasonal influenza vaccine each year is a critical tool in protecting public health.”

Based on those forecasts and on the recommendations of the FDA’s Vaccine and Related Products Advisory Committee, the FDA determines the three strains that manufacturers should include in their vaccines for the U.S. population. The closer the match between the circulating strains and the strains in the vaccine, the better the protection against the disease.

According to the CDC, between 5% and 20% of the U.S. population develops influenza each year. More than 200,000 are hospitalized from its complications and about 36,000 people die. Older people, young children, and people with chronic medical conditions are at higher risk for influenza-related complications. Vaccination of these groups is critical.

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Two PureSport athlete spokespersons awarded at 2009 ESPY Awards

BY Michael Johnsen

AUSTIN, Texas Two PureSport athlete spokespersons — swimmer Michael Phelps and gymnast Nastia Liukin — were awarded the 2009 ESPY for Best Male and Best Female Athlete, respectively, the company announced Friday.

“There’s a reason [Phelps] and [Liukin] chose to train for the Beijing Olympics with PureSport and there’s a reason why they had the best athletic performances in the world last year,” stated Michael Humphrey, PureSport CEO. “PureSport is the most scientifically-sound and effective sports drink in the world and it helps athletes get more out of their performances.”“PureSport played an integral role in my success in Beijing,” Phelps said, who helped develop the drink in 2007 with John Ivy, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas at Austin. “PureSport’s recovery drink helped me race at peak levels day after day at the Olympics. It makes a huge difference in terms of reducing muscle tissue damage and soreness and promoting muscle repair.”

PureSport is formulated with a 2.67-to-1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, which is an ideal ratio for muscle performance, Humphrey said.

The 2009 ESPY Awards will air on ESPN on July 19.

PureSport is available nationwide at Sports Authority, Max Muscle, GNC and Vitamin Shoppe stores and online at www.puresport.us.

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WHO to stop disclosing global tables of confirmed H1N1 cases; will continue to document pandemic

BY Michael Johnsen

GENEVA The World Health Organization announced on Thursday it would no longer provide the global tables showing the numbers of confirmed cases for all countries. However, as part of continued efforts to document the global spread of the H1N1 pandemic, regular updates will be provided describing the situation in the newly affected countries.

“At this point, further spread of the pandemic, within affected countries and to new countries, is considered inevitable,” WHO stated. “The 2009 influenza pandemic has spread internationally with unprecedented speed. In past pandemics, influenza viruses have needed more than six months to spread as widely as the new H1N1 virus has spread in less than six weeks,” making it extremely difficult for countries to try and confirm novel H1N1 infections through laboratory testing.

The novel H1N1 pandemic has been characterized, to date, by the mildness of symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients, who usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms, WHO stated. But countries still need to be on guard for signals indicating a more virulent, or more deadly strain, such as spikes in rates of absenteeism from schools or workplaces or a surge in emergency department visits.

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