A personal jab for the win!

No, we’re not talking about Twitter bullying, we’re talking about shots. Not cheap shots, or gun shots, but vaccine shots. Two studies published in Nature detail how DNA sequenced from melanoma tumors (the most deadly type of skin cancer) and an RNA-based vaccine were used to create personalized vaccines to treat cancer. Both showed promising Phase I results, with 4 of 6 patients in the first study showing no recurrence after 25 months, and 8 of 13 patients in the second study tumor-free after 23 months. The vaccines successfully stimulated an anti-tumor response from one’s own immune system. The downside? It took about four months between study admission and starting treatment, which may be too long for those with advanced stages of melanoma.

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Nobody likes a prick

We soon may have one less to worry about… the flu shot. A new patch with hundreds of hair-like follicles that inject the flu vaccine directly through your skin has passed safety tests in its first human trials. The patch could revolutionize how flu vaccines are distributed in the future because not only does it offer a painless alternative to shots, it can also be safely stored up to a year without refrigeration. So not only does this drug-device combo eliminate a 1st world owie, but its storage benefits could become a game changer in getting flu vaccines into the developing world. How did this headline make it past the editor? We’ll launch an internal investigation and report back.

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Who would’ve thought?

Earth-shattering news has been released from the US Center for Disease Control, declaring that unvaccinated children account for most pediatric flu deaths. Wuuuuut? Yeah, we never would have believed it either, but it’s true. According to a recent CDC study that looked at flu related deaths of nearly 300 children, only 26% ended up being vaccinated with a flu shot. In the same group of children, about half had an underlying high-risk medical condition, yet even among those only 31% were vaccinated. The study’s author concluded that the flu vaccine is linked to a reduced risk of flu-related deaths among children. Good thing we finally know why we have been getting shots for all those years.

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Yes, vaccine manufacturers, they’re judging you, too

But who doesn’t need a little constructive criticism? From the same Dutch company that gave us the Access to Medicine Index, comes a new benchmarking report for the vaccine manufacturers out there. The comprehensive analysis rates manufacturer performance on 3 criteria including Pricing, R&D, and Manufacturing/Supply. Wondering how you rank in the report? Sneak peek: GSK is killing it, Pfizer…not so much. Also included in the analysis is market outlook, priority diseases, and a look at access in underdeveloped global regions. A pretty informative read, not to mention free! (Not a product endorsement, we promise).

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3. Vaccine to multiple strains of malaria: “Fight me, bro”

A promising vaccine under development by Sanaria has some malaria strains running scared. The PfSPZ vaccine was shown to not only protect 64% of subjects from contracting the strain of malaria the treatment was developed from, the vaccine also protected 5 of the 6 subjects treated and exposed to a different strain. Sorry subject #6! Oh, and it does all this while affording eight months of protection at >90% efficacy, which no malaria vaccine to date has been able to do. It’s currently in Phase I, though it has been given fast track designation, so if it can survive the arduous clinical trials process it could be a very important tool in the fight to eradicate malaria.

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1. Mosquito mayhem no more

Mosquitoes are one of the few creatures in this world where we must ask “Was there a point to this?” While InsightCity can’t explain this insanely wrong turn in evolution, GSK, PATH, and the GAVI Vaccine Alliance are teaming up to combat the blood-sucking treachery. GSK and PATH recently committed to donate the first malaria vaccine candidate -RTS,S- towards a large-scale WHO pilot implementation program in sub-Saharan Africa, researching real-world impact of the game-changing medication. Gavi has announced a $27.5 million donation towards the operation. Sub-Saharan Africa is hit especially hard by the mosquito-transmitted illness resulting in thousands of deaths annually- especially in younger populations. If full funding can be secured by WHO, the program will begin in early 2018. Here are 33 mosquito facts. Because…why not?

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