Last year's flu vaccine didn't provide as much coverage as scientists had hoped, and now researchers from Canada's British Columbia Centre for Disease Control think they have discovered the culprit.
After collaborating with the University of Michigan-spinout NanoBio over the past three years, Merck has signed off on a new licensing pact for the biotech's nanoemulsion adjuvant technology.
Strokes are associated with a well-known set of risk factors, yet these triggers only explain 60% of strokes. The causes of the rest--and reasons strokes peak in winter--are unclear, but a growing body of evidence suggests flu vaccines may help to prevent these cases.
Last summer the United Kingdom set primary care physicians the ambitious target of vaccinating 75% of high-risk patients against influenza. The short notice and scale of the goal--which represents a 50% increase in one winter--caused consternation among physicians who said it would take a miracle to achieve. Now it appears no miracle occurred and the U.K. will miss its target.
Infecting healthy volunteers with influenza in a controlled environment will allow researchers to track each step of the immune response, potentially revealing answers to some fundamental questions limiting the effectiveness of vaccines.
Strong demand for flu vaccines in Canada has left authorities scrambling for supplies this winter, but in general preventive vaccines have suffered less severe shortages than drugs in recent years. BIO argues this is evidence the current system for vaccines works and has asked the FDA to rethink its drug shortage plans.
Reports the H1N1 flu virus is circulating in North America have prompted a surge in demand for vaccines in Canada. While health authorities typically welcome increased uptake of flu vaccines, the spike in demand has left parts of the country with dwindling stocks.
Fever is a common side effect of many vaccinations; an estimated one-third of people receiving Pfizer's Prevnar 13 develop a mild case. Flu vaccines also cause cases, prompting researchers to investigate a question--does giving the shots simultaneously raise the risk of fever? The resulting study suggests the answer is yes.
Last year's flu season hit the U.S. early and hard. Just how hard has now become clear, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting there were 381,000 flu-associated hospitalizations. Without a vaccine, things would have been much worse though.
The full effect of the introduction of quadrivalent flu vaccines is unlikely to become clear for several years, but this week saw the release of data that convinced the FDA to approve GlaxoSmithKline's vaccine. And while the benefit of the extra strain is unclear, the data makes a case for immunizing with any flu vaccine.