The endless hunt for the perfect flu vaccine

We ’ve seen off smallpox, polio and measles – so why does a truly reliable flu jab still elude us?By Jeremy BrownVaccines are one of the great success stories of modern medicine. Because of them we are no longer vulnerable to smallpox or polio or measles. The flu vaccine, however, is a different story.Its effectiveness varies from patient to patient, from population to population, and from year to year. It needs to be updated each season, and even in a good year is usually no more than 50% effective. We may rely on it to avoid catching the flu, but its story demonstrates how far we still are from a reliable vaccine.Vaccination, the process of infecting a healthy person with a microbe to prevent disease, dates back at least a thousand years. But the start of vaccination as we think of it today is generally credited to the work of Edward Jenner, a British physician born in 1749. Jenner was a keen observer with a deep interest in the natural world, and found time for both serious study and artistic play. He investigated everything from hydrogen balloons to the life cycle of the cuckoo, wrote poetry and played the violin, but smallpox – or rather, the eradication of it – is his legacy. Because of Jenner, this virus is not on our list of worries today.Continue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Flu Vaccines and immunisation Medical research Health Society Science Source Type: news

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It's too soon to know for sure how the tale of the novel coronavirus will play out,but at this point we have a pretty good idea. A stipulation in both of the scenarios at the linked essay is that yeah, it gets loose into the wild and eventually can show up anywhere in the world. I think that's pretty much definitely going to happen if it hasn't already.Scenario number 1, and most likely, in my view, it will just be one more virus that causes what amounts to a common cold and in a few people who are otherwise debilitated goes on to be complicated by pneumonia. In that case, for a year or two it will circulate as a novel vir...
Source: Stayin' Alive - Category: American Health Source Type: blogs
Abstract Several live vaccines may have beneficial non-specific effects (NSEs) reducing mortality more than can be explained by the prevention of the target infection, a phenomenon which has been linked to innate immune training. Most randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of oral polio vaccine (OPV) and measles vaccine (MV) have shown a large reduction in mortality that must have been at least partly nonspecific because it was much larger than the reduction explained by prevention of the target disease. Hence, stopping a live vaccine after disease-eradication could have negative health effects if the potential benef...
Source: Vaccine - Category: Allergy & Immunology Authors: Tags: Vaccine Source Type: research
It may be possible to eradicate malaria—one of history’s deadliest diseases—from the planet by 2050, according to a coalition of 41 leading scientists, economists and health-policy experts writing in the Lancet. “Malaria is one of the oldest and deadliest diseases of humankind,” says Sir Richard Feachem, one of the report’s authors and co-chair of the Lancet commission on malaria eradication. “If we, humankind, were to take on this challenge and eradicate malaria by 2050, it would be an achievement of historic proportions. There would be nothing quite like it.” Malaria, a mos...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Infectious Disease onetime Source Type: news
A set of  measles outbreaks in Washington state, New York City, and elsewhere, is making national headlines and frightening parents around the United States. Counter-intuitively, measles making the news is a sign of progress. Not long ago, measles was so common that it was simply not newsworthy. Suffer ing from the extremely infectious disease, which causes spotty rashes and a hacking cough, was widespread and often deadly.It was once the case that even royalty fell victim to diseases now easily preventable with routine shots given during childhood.  Measles killed the un-vaccin...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - Category: American Health Authors: Source Type: blogs
Family quarrels are usually private things—unless of course, the family is famous. A public spat among boldface names broke out on May 8, when three members of the Kennedy clan published a piece on Politico declaring that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.—son of Bobby Kennedy—has been “tragically wrong” in his years-long crusade against vaccines, a crusade that seems especially irresponsible now as the country suffers through its worst measles outbreak since 1994. Kennedy has become a hero of the anti-vax crowd with his persistent claims that vaccines contain deadly ingredients, particularly a mercury-ba...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized History onetime Source Type: news
(Natural News) The number of vaccinations mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has risen sharply in recent decades. These medical interventions are touted as full-proof solutions to many previously common “childhood” illnesses, including measles, mumps and chicken pox, as well as more serious diseases like polio and smallpox. As dependence on...
Source: NaturalNews.com - Category: Consumer Health News Source Type: news
This article follows the history of measles to explore immunization successes and challenges in this modern era, because measles was the first of the mild and moderate diseases to become the target of a federally supported eradication-through-vaccination campaign, one that relied heavily on the preemptive, required vaccination of children. Its story thus epitomizes the range of political, epidemiological, cultural, and communications challenges to mass immunization in the modern era of vaccination. PMID: 30763141 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Source: Public Health Reports - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Tags: Public Health Rep Source Type: research
A phenomenon which has always puzzled me is popular resistance to vaccination. It goes back to the very beginning, vaccination against smallpox, which was a terrible scourge that killed 30% of its victims and left the rest disfigured. When Edward Jenner proved in 1796 that inoculation with cowpox, which caused only mild disease, conferred immunity to smallpox, the world was given a priceless gift.Yet popular movements arose almost immediately to oppose vaccination, both in England and the U.S. Eventually smallpox vaccination became widely accepted, and smallpox was eradicated from the earth. Later, the terror of the polio ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - Category: American Health Source Type: blogs
Abstract BACKGROUND: China's immunization program is one of the oldest and largest in the world. Rates of vaccine-preventable diseases (VPD) are comparable to those in high-income countries. The program's evolution has been characterized by ambitious target setting and innovative strategies that have not been widely described. METHODS: We reviewed national and provincial health department archives; analyzed disease surveillance, vaccination coverage, and serosurvey data from 1950 through 2016; and, conducted in-depth interviews with senior Chinese experts involved early VPD control efforts. RESULTS: Wide...
Source: Vaccine - Category: Allergy & Immunology Authors: Tags: Vaccine Source Type: research
Many commentators have recentlywritten andsaid that members of the migrant caravan and Central American immigrants in general are diseased.   Former Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent David Ward claimed that the migrants are “coming in with diseases such as smallpox,” a disease that the World Health Organization (WHO) certified as beingeradicated in 1980.   One hopes Mr. Ward was more careful in enforcing American immigration law than in spreading rumors that migrants are carrying one of the deadliest diseases in human history nearly 40 years after it was eradicated from the human population.&n...
Source: Cato-at-liberty - Category: American Health Authors: Source Type: blogs
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