• VaccinationSocial media trends can predict vaccine scares tipping points

    Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a new study. Researchers examined Google searches and geocoded tweets with the help of artificial intelligence and a mathematical model. The resulting data enabled them to analyze public perceptions on the value of getting vaccinated and determine when a population was getting close to a tipping point.

  • SuperbugsManaging antibiotics insufficient to reverse resistance

    Researchers have discovered that reducing the use of antibiotics will not be enough to reverse the growing prevalence of antibiotic resistance for some types of bacteria. Besides passing along the genes bestowing antibiotic resistance to their offspring, many bacteria can also swap genes amongst themselves through a process called conjugation. There has long been a debate, however, as to whether this process occurs fast enough to spread through a population that is not under attack by antibiotics.

  • Drug resistanceMassive increase in antimicrobials use in animals to lead to widespread drug resistance in humans

    The amount of antimicrobials given to animals destined for human consumption is expected to rise by a staggering 52 percent and reach 200,000 tons by 2030 unless policies are implemented to limit their use, according to new research. represent an alarming revision from already pessimistic estimates made in 2010, pushed up mostly by recent reports of high antimicrobial use in animals in China.

     

  • Flesh-eating bacteriaFlesh-eating parasites come closer, but a vaccine against them does, too

    Parasites that ulcerate the skin, can disfigure the face, and can fatally mutilate internal organs are creeping closer to the southern edges of the United States. No vaccine is yet available against Leishmania — the second-deadliest parasites in the world, topped only by malaria — but researchers have now come closer to changing that. A new experimental vaccine has immunized laboratory mice that were genetically altered to mimic the human immune system. The vaccine exploits a weakness in Leishmania’s tricky chemical camouflage, which normally hides it from the victim’s disease-fighting cells, to trigger a forceful immune response against the parasite.

  • Public healthUniversal public coverage of 117 essential medicines would improve access, save billions

    A list of 117 essential medicines — including antibiotics, insulin, heart medication, anti-depressants, oral contraceptives, and more — accounted for 44 percent of all prescriptions written in Canada in 2015, and up to 77 percent of all prescriptions when therapeutically similar medications were considered. Researchers calculated that publicly funding these 117 essential medicines could cover the cost of nearly half of all prescriptions in Canada, removing financial barriers for Canadians while saving $3 billion per year.

  • SuperbugsLooking for practices to thwart antimicrobial resistance

    The death last year of a woman in Reno, Nevada, from an infection resistant to every type of antibiotic available in the U.S. highlights how serious the threat of antimicrobial resistance has become. Scientists are addressing growing global concern about the spread of antimicrobial resistance in Africa, where the World Health Organization predicts that, by 2050, drug resistant tuberculosis and other bacteria could lead to the deaths of 4.15 million people each year. Their work identifying practices that lead to bacterial transmission could help save African lives and prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria to the United States and other parts of the globe.

  • EpidemicsGlobal partnership to prevent epidemics with new vaccines launched

    A global coalition to create new vaccines for emerging infectious diseases, designed to help give the world an insurance policy against epidemics, launches today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

    With an initial investment of $460 million from the governments of Germany, Japan, and Norway, plus the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, CEPI - the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations will seek to outsmart epidemics by developing safe and effective vaccines against known infectious disease threats that could be deployed rapidly to contain outbreaks, before they become global health emergencies.

  • Public healthOld antibiotics, new tools to combat bio agents

    More than 100 antibiotic compounds have been discovered since Alexander Fleming invented penicillin in 1928, but none within the past thirty years. Now a joint venture is exploring a new class of tetracycline that could combat biological threats to our warfighters.

  • Public healthInfluenza: The search for a universal vaccine

    By Ian Setliff and Amyn Murji

    No one wants to catch the flu, and the best line of defense is the seasonal influenza vaccine. But producing an effective annual flu shot relies on accurately predicting which flu strains are most likely to infect the population in any given season. It requires the coordination of multiple health centers around the globe as the virus travels from region to region. Once epidemiologists settle on target flu strains, vaccine production shifts into high gear; it takes approximately six months to generate the more than 150 million injectible doses necessary for the American population. With current technology, there may never be a “one and done” flu shot. And epidemiological surveillance will always be necessary. However, it is not inconceivable that we can move from a once-per-year model to a once-every-10-years approach, and we may be within just a few years of being there.

  • Pathogens$1.87 million for biothreat vaccine research

    CUBRC, Inc. two weeks ago announced that CUBRC’s Biological and Medical Sciences team, in collaboration with EpiVax, Inc., has received a four-year grant worth $1.87 million from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) within the Department of Defense (DoD). CUBRC, EpiVax, and scientists at the University of Florida will be investigating immune cells from patients that were previously infected with Burkholderia pseudomallei to understand how this bacterium evades the human immune system and use that information to engineer an effective vaccine.

  • AnthraxEmergent BioSolutions to supply up to $1 billion of anthrax vaccine to the Strategic National Stockpile

    Emergent BioSolutions signed follow-on contract with CDC valued at up to $911 million to supply to the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) approximately 29.4 million doses of BioThrax through September 2021. BARDA issued notice of intent to separately procure approximately $100 million of BioThrax for the SNS over twenty-four months from contract award, which is expected in 1H 2017. These actions, together with the recently awarded BARDA contract for NuThrax, reflect the U.S. government’s intention to transition the stockpile of anthrax vaccines from BioThrax to NuThrax.

  • Chem/bio weaponsShark antibodies for chemical, biological threat detection, treatment

    New research shows that shark antibodies offer new alternatives to chemical and biological threat detection and treatment tools. In an era of Department of Defense belt-tightening, the goal is to find more innovative, cost-effective approaches to protecting our warfighters.

  • Public healthUnvaccinated adults cost the U.S. economy more than $7 billion a year

    Vaccine-preventable diseases among adults cost the U.S. economy $8.95 billion in 2015, and unvaccinated individuals are responsible for 80 percent, or $7.1 billion, of the tab. The flu was the most costly disease with a vaccine available, accounting for nearly $5.8 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2015.

  • BioterrorismFunding for broad spectrum prophylaxis, treatment for bioterrorism threats

    The U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has received funding of up to $6.9 million from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) for a program entitled “Inhalational ciprofloxacin for improved protection against biowarfare agents.” The inhalational ciprofloxacin formulations used in this program are Aradigm’s proprietary investigational drugs Pulmaquin and Lipoquin.

  • Public healthTexas must reduce nonmedical exemptions to vaccinations

    In Texas, approximately 45,000 nonmedical exemptions were filed across all age groups during the 2015-16 school year, a record high in the last decade and a figure that is only increasing. Vaccines are one of most cost-effective public health measures, the authors of a new study write, and Texas should make the process of obtaining nonmedical exemptions more rigorous to avoid the public health risks and costs associated with preventable diseases.