Tag Archives | Vaccines
An inoculation could make the ravages of drug dependency an ailment of the past. One imagines the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries putting up an epic battle a few years down the road when researchers turn their sights toward developing vaccines to eliminate cigarette and painkiller addiction. Reuters reports:
A group of Mexican scientists is working on a vaccine that could reduce addiction to one of the world’s most notorious narcotics: heroin. They have successfully tested the vaccine on mice and are preparing to test it on humans.
The vaccine, which has been patented in the United States, works by making the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure when they smoke or inject it.
PHOENIX — Doctors and medical experts are concerned about a new trend taking place on Facebook. Parents are trading live viruses through the mail in order to infect their children. The Facebook group is called "Find a Pox Party in Your Area." According to the group's page, it is geared toward "parents who want their children to obtain natural immunity for the chicken pox." On the page, parents post where they live and ask if anyone with a child who has the chicken pox would be willing to send saliva, infected lollipops or clothing through the mail. Parents also use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox. Medical experts say the most troubling part of this is parents are taking pathogens from complete strangers and deliberately infecting their children.
Whatever next – McDonald’s vaccine? Douglas Quenqua reports for the New York Times:
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Imagine a vaccine against smoking: People trying to quit would light up a cigarette and feel nothing. Or a vaccine against cocaine, one that would prevent addicts from enjoying the drug’s high.
Though neither is imminent, both are on the drawing board, as are vaccines to combat other addictions. While scientists have historically focused their vaccination efforts on diseases like polio, smallpox and diphtheria — with great success — they are now at work on shots that could one day release people from the grip of substance abuse.
“We view this as an alternative or better way for some people,” said Dr. Kim D. Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute who has made this his life’s work. “Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”
Well they would, wouldn’t they? From Medical News Today:
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After analyzing over 1,000 research papers, a report issued by the IOM (Institute of Medicine) found no evidence linking vaccines to autism or type 1 diabetes risk, and very few other health problems caused or clearly linked to vaccines. According to a committee of experts who reviewed the scientific studies, convincing evidence was found of 14 health outcomes associated with vaccines, including fainting, brain inflammation and seizures, however, their occurrences were found to be very rare.
Some less clear data linking certain vaccines to four other effects, including temporary joint pain and allergic reactions were also found. Regarding other suggested adverse effects, the experts said there was inadequate data.
The IOM says that this review will help the HHS administer the VICP (Vaccine Injury Compensation Program), which depends on science-based evidence when deciding on vaccine-related side effects. The HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) asked the IOM for a comprehensive review on eight vaccines covered by VICP.
A universal flu vaccine that protects against all strains may be within reach in the next five years, replacing annual shots developed for specifics flu viruses, the chief of the National Institutes of Health predicts. Francis Collins told USA TODAY's Editorial Board on Tuesday that he is "guardedly optimistic" about development of a long-term shot to replace the one "you'd have to renew every year." About 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu every year, and an estimated 3,000 to 49,000 die...
A case of good humanitarians. Via Reuters:
International donors led by Britain and Bill Gates pledged $4.3 billion on Monday to buy vaccines to protect children in poor countries against potential killers such as diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.
“But every 20 seconds, a child still dies of a vaccine-preventable disease. There’s more work to be done.”
The funding should allow more than 250 million of the world’s poorest children to be vaccinated by 2015, helping to prevent more than four million premature deaths, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) said.
“Today is an important moment in our collective commitment to protecting children in developing countries from disease,” said Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who attended the pledging conference in London.
[Continues at Reuters]
The Seattle Times reports upon a recent measles outbreak in Minneapolis traced local Somalis fearful of a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Andrew Wakefield himself has arrived on the scene. His 1998 study linking the MMR to a new syndrome dubbed “autistic enterocolitis” has since been retracted by the Lancet amid allegations of fraud, and his medical license has been revoked.
As CNN reports, Wakefield expected to earn as much as $43 million/year in revenue from “litigation driven testing” for autistic enterocolitis, a test for which he holds a potentially lucrative patent, and received more than $674,000 “from lawyers trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers.”
From the Seattle Times article:
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Health officials struggling to contain a measles outbreak that’s hit hard in Minneapolis’ large Somali community are running into resistance from parents who fear the vaccine could give their children autism.
Fourteen confirmed measles cases have been reported in Minnesota since February.