The race to develop a H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine before the fall flu season ramped up Wednesday, after Australia launched the first human trials of the H1N1 vaccine and scientists from the U.S., China and Britain announced plans for human trials of an H1N1 vaccine in the coming weeks, AFP/France24.com reports.
Pneumonia & Flu
The Asian Strategic Alliance for Pneumococcal Disease Prevention (ASAP) is calling for the pneumonia vaccine to become an official part of India’s required list of immunizations, the Times of India reports.
The WHO on Friday said the “H1N1 swine-flu virus could infect up to two billion people over the next two years – about one of every three people in the world,” VOA News reports.
During a meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday, a “federal advisory committee issued sweeping guidelines â€¦ for a vaccination campaign against the pandemic swine flu strain, identifying more than half the U.S. population as targets for the first round of vaccinations,” CNN reports (Hellerman, 7/29).
Health officials are growing increasingly concerned over the impact the H1N1 (swine) flu is having on populations living in Latin America, a region “which accounts for around two-thirds of the 816 confirmed deaths so far from the disease,” the AFP/channelnewsasia.com reports.
“A U.S. plan to rely on swine flu vaccines without ingredients to stretch the supply [known as adjuvants] would reduce the number of available shots just when other countries need them most, the British journal Lancet said in an editorial,” Bloomberg writes.
“Authorities in eastern India will start culling chickens and destroying eggs to contain a new outbreak of H5 bird flu, the government said in a statement on Tuesday, as a mutant strain of the virus is spreading elsewhere in Asia,” Reuters reports (Williams, 9/20). “A mutant strain of avian influenza — for which there is no vaccine — appeared recently in China and Vietnam. But Indian authorities did not specify which strain of the H5N1 virus had been detected in the West Bengal region, which has been a hot spot for avian flu in the past,” the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. The blog provides a link to track the movement of bird flu on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s avian influenza pages and a link for additional information on the virus from the CDC (9/20).
The Geneva-based GAVI Alliance, a fund backed by governments, the World Bank, the WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that it will purchase more than $1 billion in vaccines against rotavirus, pneumococcal and other diseases through deals made with GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Inc. and Merck & Co. to immunize children in 37 of the poorest nations, Bloomberg reports. “Wealthy nations donated $4.3 billion to purchase the vaccines as part of a plan to immunize 250 million children by 2015,” the news service notes (Bennett, 9/27).
U.S. Clinical Trials Show Single Dose Of H1N1 Vaccine Protects Pregnant Women, Children Under 10 Need Two Doses
U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.
To mark the first World Pneumonia Day, Inter Press Service examines how vaccines and other strategies can be used to combat the disease, which kills more children under age 5 each year “than measles, malaria, and AIDS combined, according to the Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia.”