• How to talk to anti-vaxxers

    Despite an abundance of evidence showing that vaccines are perfectly safe and save lives, many people reject them, stoked by the frightening misinformation that spreads over social networks. Vaccine refusal is having a real-world impact. Two decades ago, measles was all but eradicated from the U.S. Now, cases are skyrocketing, with more than 1,700 infections since 2010. in the first six months of 2018, more than 41,000 Europeans contracted measles and 37 died.

  • A global wave of measles cases fed by conspiracies and misinformation has health officials worried

    The number of people infected with measles keeps rising in the Washington State and neighboring Oregon. Rick Noack writes that “complacency over vaccinations has been accompanied by outright rejection of the scientific evidence on measles vaccines that has saved over 21 million lives since 2000, according to the WHO. Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories on supposedly negative side effects of vaccinations, either against measles or in a broader context, have gained momentum in some communities, in the United States and other countries.” He notes that deliberately spreading misinformation on vaccines to suggest that citizens are being lied to by their leaders has become a go-to recipe of some populist politicians. Thus, after years of railing against vaccines and even proposing a law against them in 2015, Italy’s Kremlin-supported Five Star Movement is now part of the country’s government.

  • Congressional action urged to stimulate antibiotic development

    A coalition of drug makers, infectious disease experts, and public health advocates on Wednesday called on U.S. lawmakers to pass measures that could “jumpstart” the development of critically needed antibiotics. In a letter sent to lawmakers in the Senate and the House of Representatives, stakeholders from large and small pharmaceutical companies and organizations asked Congress to “swiftly enact a package of incentives that would sustainably reinvigorate the pipeline of antibiotics while ensuring patient access and appropriate stewardship.”

  • New approach to defeating superbugs

    Researchers have developed a new way to identify second-line antibiotics that may be effective in killing germs already resistant to a first-line antibiotic – potentially helping overcome antibiotic resistance. This new research – based on tackling antibiotic resistance via existing drugs (with a twist) — provides an approach clinicians could consult when deciding which antibiotic treatment courses will be most effective for patients.

  • Measles spreads in anti-vaccination community in Oregon

    An outbreak of measles spreads across a “hot spot” anti-vaccination community near Portland, Oregon. Twenty-three cases have been comfirmed, with twenty of those who contracted the highly contagious virus not vaccinated against measles because of their anti-vaccination beliefs.

  • Producing vaccines without the use of chemicals

    Producing vaccines is a tricky task – especially in the case of inactivated vaccines, in which pathogens must be killed without altering their structure. Until now, this task has generally involved the use of toxic chemicals. Now, however, an innovative new technology developed by Fraunhofer researchers – the first solution of its kind – will use electron beams to produce inactivated vaccines quickly, reproducibly and without the use of chemicals.

  • Flu vaccine supply gaps may intensify flu seasons, make pandemics deadlier

    More than 50 million people died in the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. Its 100th anniversary this flu season serves as a reminder to close flu vaccine supply gaps that may be costing hundred to thousands of lives now and could cost many more when the next “big one” strikes, researchers say.

  • New vaccines center to protect U.K. from pandemic threats

    The U.K.’s first dedicated Vaccines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (VMIC represents a major commercial opportunity and also a new front line in the nation’s defense against global pandemic threats. To be up and running by 2022, the VMIC addresses the U.K.’s structural gap in late-stage vaccine manufacturing process development. It will allow development and manufacture of vaccines for clinical trials and at moderate scale for emergency preparedness for epidemic threats to the U.K. population.

  • An information “echo chamber” impedes flu vaccination for children

    Parents who decline to get their child vaccinated against the flu may be exposed to a limited range of information, a new national poll suggests. And depending on which sources parents turn to the most, inaccurate information may influence their decision about flu vaccine for their child.

  • The counties where the anti-vaccine movement thrives in the U.S.

    As a pediatrician-scientist who develops new vaccines for neglected diseases, I followed the emergence of doubt over vaccine safety in the general public. Ultimately, in scientific circles, any debate ended when an overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrated there was no association between vaccines and autism. In Texas, however, the anti-vaccine movement is aggressive, well-organized and politically engaged. There are now at least 57,000 Texas schoolchildren being exempted from their vaccines for nonmedical reasons, about a 20-fold rise since 2003. I say “at least” because there is no data on the more than 300,000 homeschooled kids.

  • Vaccination myths must be debunked: Experts

    An analysis of anti-vaccine witness statements presented during the Texas Legislature’s 2017 session revealed recurring misconceptions that need to be challenged, according to an experts. The experts say that there are five recurring misconceptions about vaccines: that they are ineffective; herd immunity is a myth; vaccines “shed” and cause the spread of disease; the impacts of vaccine-preventable diseases are minor; and vaccine-exempt children are not spreading disease. “Each of these myths is inaccurate and unscientific,” the experts say.

  • New FDA plan focuses on antibiotic development, stewardship

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week announced a multipronged strategy to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR) that emphasizes new measures to spur development of antibiotics and alternative therapies, promote antibiotic stewardship in animal health, advance antibiotic resistance surveillance, and enhance regulatory science.

  • Bipartisan bill offers new “pull” incentives for priority antibiotics

    Last week lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill to encourage the development of new antibiotics, a move one expert called the most important antibiotic legislation in a generation. Currently, only a few large drug companies are involved in antibiotic research and development, because the cost of developing the drugs is so high and profit margins are so slim. Most new developments are modifications of existing drugs, and it’s been three decades since the last new class of antibiotics was discovered.

  • Bill to jump-start universal flu vaccine efforts

    As the nation grapples with a long and unrelenting flu season rivaling by some measures the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, a group of U.S. senators last week unveiled a proposal to invest $1 billion in research over the next 5 years to create a universal flu vaccine that would provide lifetime protection against a range of influenza strains. The announcement came just as U.S. researchers released an interim report card on the flu vaccine’s performance so far this season, which again showed disappointingly low effectiveness against H3N2, this season’s dominant strain.

  • Belief in conspiracy theories associated with vaccine skepticism

    People who believe Princess Diana was murdered or that John F. Kennedy’s assassination was an elaborate plot are more likely to think that vaccines are unsafe, despite scientific evidence to the contrary, according to new research. “People often develop attitudes through emotional and gut responses,” said the lead researcher. “Simply repeating evidence makes little difference to those who have antivaccination attitudes.”