HEALTH

Vaccines with two strains of influenza may be more effective in children, research team says

BY Michael Johnsen

ST. LOUIS Vaccines likely would work better in protecting children from flu if they included both strains of influenza B instead of just one, a St. Louis University press report stated last week, citing research conducted through its Center for Vaccine Development.

"Adding a second influenza B virus strain to the seasonal influenza vaccine would take some of the guesswork out of strain selection and help improve the vaccine’s ability to prevent influenza," stated Robert Belshe, lead investigator and director of the center. "Since in five of the last 10 years, the influenza B component in the vaccine has been the incorrect one, this seems like an obvious advance to me."

Every spring, scientists predict which strain of influenza will be circulating in the community the following fall. Historically, they choose two different subtypes of influenza A and one of influenza B.

 

Research findings in the March issue of Vaccine highlight the importance of adding both lines of influenza B into the vaccine to better protect against the flu, Belshe noted.

 

 

The research team examined how well current vaccines protect against influenza B by looking at the immune response of ferrets that were given FluMist, a live attenuated influenza vaccine manufactured by MedImmune.

 

 

When ferrets were vaccinated against influenza, the ferrets that were exposed to a strain of influenza B virus that did not match what was in the vaccine didn’t have a strong antibody response. However they had a vigorous antibody response when given a vaccine that contained both strains of influenza B.

 

 

This showed that immunizing against one strain of influenza B does not appear to protect against the other strain and that a vaccine containing both influenza B strains is likely to offer greater protection from flu.

 

 

"These data highlight the need for vaccination strategies that provide enhanced protection against both lineages of influenza B," Belshe said.

 

 

The study was sponsored by MedImmune. Belshe has served as a consultant and as part of the speakers bureau for MedImmune and other study authors are MedImmune employees.

 

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Bausch & Lomb launches new PreserVision product

BY Michael Johnsen

MADISON, N.J. Bausch & Lomb on Friday announced the U.S. launch of PreserVision eye vitamin and mineral supplement AREDS 2 formula.

The new formula builds on the original, clinically proven age-related eye disease study formula, replacing beta-carotene with lutein (10 mg) and zeaxanthin (2 mg) and adding omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg) per daily dosage. The product will be on retail shelves in early May, 2010, the eye care company stated.

Scientific studies show that the inclusion of high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin in the diet supports eye health. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss and blindness in the United States for people older than the age of 50 years.

The AREDS2 study, which is currently ongoing and expected to complete in 2013, is sponsored by the National Eye Institute/National Institute of Health and is the second nationwide clinical study to determine whether a combination of vitamins and minerals can further slow the progression of vision loss from AMD. PreserVision AREDS 2 formula is one of many formulas that are being evaluated in this study.

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Senatorial caucus to discuss prescription-only status of PSE

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will hold a hearing on “The Status of Meth: Oregon’s Experience Making Pseudoephedrine Prescription Only” on April 12 at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

According to a report to be published that Monday in The Washington Daybook, scheduled participants include: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Caucus on International Narcotics Control; Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Charles Ganley, director of the Office of Nonprescription Drug Products in the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research; Keith Cain, sheriff of Davies County, Ky.; Oregon Attorney General John Kroger; Linda Suydam, president of the Consumer Healthcare Products Association; and Kent Shaw, assistant chief of the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also are members of the C.I.N.C.

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