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.
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).
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.
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?
Strange but true. Using a molecule structurally similar to opioids, researchers at The Scripps Research Institute successfully blunted the effects of oxycodone and hydrocodone in mice. Specifically, the drug binds to the opioid molecule and prevents it from ever making its way to the brain, limiting the user’s pain and euphoria responses to the drug. Such an intervention may be beneficial over other forms of treatment because it does not chemically alter the brain. The study also found that mice that received the vaccine took longer to overdose from high levels of opioid ingestion, which could mean more time for users who overdose from opioids to seek treatment.
Several companies, including large pharma, came running to the call for a Zika vaccine. Purely philanthropic, you may think. Perhaps. But also for a slice of what could be a billion dollar pie. That’s right, it’s nearly unheard of for a vaccine against mosquito-borne viruses to hit blockbuster status, but according to Joseph Kim, CEO of Inovio, (who is leading the pack in developing a Zika vaccine) the potential to exceed $1B per year is there. And that’s the estimate with just US travelers. To paraphrase FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And not capturing the first mover advantage on a Zika vaccine.”