• Advanced genetic screening to speed vaccine development

    Infectious diseases, both old and new, continue to exact a devastating toll, causing some thirteen million fatalities per year around the world; vaccines remain the best line of defense against deadly pathogens and now researchers are using clever functional screening methods to attempt to speed new vaccines into production that are both safer and more potent

  • H1N1 discovery paves way for universal flu vaccine

    Each year, seasonal influenza causes serious illnesses in three to five million people and 200,000 to 500,000 deaths; university of British Columbia researchers have found a potential way to develop universal flu vaccines and eliminate the need for seasonal flu vaccinations

  • Bacteria found in caves could offer key to new antibiotics

    Resistance to antibiotics among bacteria is a growing concern for human health; antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in one of the deepest, most isolated caves in the world could help scientists in the battle against superbugs

  • Inovio Pharmaceuticals gets DoD continuation grant for synthetic DNA vaccine delivery device

    The U.S. Department of Defense has given a Small Business Innovation Research grant to Inovio Pharmaceuticals to continue developing a  low-cost, non-invasive surface electroporation (EP) delivery device; the testing of the device in conjunction with Inovio’s  synthetic DNA vaccines against viruses with bioterrorism potential, including hanta, puumala, arenavirus and pandemic influenza

  • Universal vaccines would allow wide-scale flu prevention

    An emerging class of long-lasting flu vaccines could do more than just save people the trouble of an annual flu shot; a flu pandemic is difficult to predict and typically impossible to control through vaccination alone; universal vaccines, however, act on virus targets that are relatively constant across all types of flu, even pandemic flu

  • Antibiotic alternative to overcome drug-resisting infections

    About 700 million people have symptomatic group A Streptococcus (GAS)  infections around the world each year, and the infection can be fatal; researchers have found a potential alternative to conventional antibiotics that could fight infection with a reduced risk of antibiotic resistance

  • Half of U.S. jails not in national vaccination campaign

    A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than half of U.S. jails are not included in the national flu vaccine campaign, despite the fact that jail and prison inmates are at increased risk of catching infectious diseases

  • Government considers testing anthrax vaccine on children

    The U.S. government is considering testing its anthrax vaccine on children to determine if it has any potential side effects; so far the government’s anthrax vaccine has only been tested on adults and members of the National Biodefense Science Board argued that there had been no tests to determine the effectiveness of the vaccine on children; opponents of the suggestion have sharply criticized it on the grounds that it is unethical to test a vaccine on children especially if there is no immediate threat; proponents of testing the vaccine acknowledged the criticism, but maintained that it was critical to ensure the safety of the vaccine on children in the event that it had to be administered; the board is set to meet again on Friday to vote on its controversial recommendation

  • 11,000 California parents refuse basic vaccinations for their children

    Even with the massive whooping cough outbreak last year in California that sickened more than 9,100 people and killed ten babies, over 11,000 hesitant parents chose not to vaccinate their children against the infectious disease; with record numbers of children going unvaccinated, there have been an increasing number of outbreaks of highly infectious diseases like measles and whooping cough

  • HHS proposes new rule regarding toxins

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a proposed rule regarding the biennial review of the possession, use, and transfer of select agents and toxins, according to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

  • Anthrax vaccine contract worth up to $1.25 billion over five years

    Emergent BioSolutions has been awarded a contract to supply the U.S. government with FDA-licensed anthrax vaccine; the 5-year contract a has a total value of up to $1.25 billion; the first 8.5 million doses will be delivered before the end of the year

  • Report: anthrax antibiotic should be stockpiled locally

    A new report describes a plan for the United States to be better prepared in the event of a bioterrorist attack using anthrax; the report recommends that public health officials in high-risk areas should consider stockpile anthrax antibiotics in local locations to make it easier to dispense quickly to an area of need, rather than continuing to use the single national stockpile

  • Real-time disease monitoring can help improve diagnoses

    Discovering epidemics or knowing when one is brewing is particularly difficult at the local level as doctors lack a broader perspective of what is occurring; to help provide local doctors with better information that could help stem the spread of infectious diseases, public health officials are pushing for the creation of a real-time national disease monitoring system

  • Japanese attenuated smallpox vaccine shows promise in U.S. trial

    An attenuated smallpox vaccine that was developed in Japan in the 1970s compared well with a conventional smallpox vaccine in a phase 1-2 clinical trial in the United States

  • Mapping the spread of drug-resistant influenza

    The movie “Contagion” is not based on real events, but it is not science fiction, either: certain strains of influenza are becoming resistant to common treatments; a team of researchers map out how this phenomenon is happening globally