Jones & Bartlett Learning Medicine Blog

    Controversial Avian Influenza (H5N1) Research Released

    Posted by admin on Jun 25, 2012 1:15:42 PM

    After months of deliberation, a controversial study from the Netherlands examining how the H5N1 virus - also known as avian influenza or bird flu, could be genetically altered and transmitted by mammals as an airborne pathogen was published last week. The paper was completed in 2011, but because of widespread concerns that bioterrorists could use this information to engineer a weapon, the findings were not published until now.

    Avian flu affects several types of birds, including farmed poultry (chickens, geese, turkeys and ducks). Bird flu can also be transmitted from livestock to wild birds and also to pet birds, and vice-versa. The virus spreads through infected birds, via their saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and feed.

    The first avian influenza virus to infect humans occurred in Hong Kong in 1997 and was linked to infected chickens.

    Human cases of H5N1 have since been reported in Asia, Africa, Europe, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Pacific, and the near East.  Since 2003, nearly 60% of the 606 cases of human infection of H5N1 reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) worldwide, have resulted in death.

    Read More

    Topics: flu, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), H5N1, influenza, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disea, National Institute of Health, Netherlands, pandemic, Science journal, vaccine, virus, Anthony Fauci, avian flu, avian influenza, bird flu, Bruce Alberts, Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Su, Global Health Blog, Infectious Disease, World Health Organization (WHO)

    Allergy Sufferers Rejoice! Vaccine to Eliminate Allergies Discovered

    Posted by admin on Jun 5, 2012 1:16:41 PM

    Scientists at the University of Eastern Finland led by Professor Juhu Rouvinen, in cooperation with Professors Kristiina Takkinen and Hans Söderlun from VTT, a technical research center in Finland, discovered unique IgE‐binding structures in allergens. They say these structures can be genetically modified so they do not bind IgE anymore, but they can still induce the production of the immunoglobulin G (IgG).  IgG protects you from allergic symptoms by actually prohibiting the formation of IgE-allergen complexes and could, in theory, prevent the degranulation and histamine release from white blood cells. The modified allergens are produced using modern molecular biology and biotechnology.

    Patients will hypothetically develop a natural immunity against each allergy they have been vaccinated for in the same manner immunity is created against infectious diseases with vaccinations.

    “Histamines are not the solution because they only inhibit or lesson the allergy so you still have the allergy.  We believe that curing allergies is about changing or modifying the genetic structure of the allergen molecules inside of your body, so we want to eliminate the cause of the allergy, instead of removing symptoms.” said Rouvinen.

    According to the National Institute of Health, An allergy is an exaggerated immune response or reaction to substances that are generally not harmful. The immune system normally protects the body against harmful substances, such as bacteria and viruses. It also reacts to foreign substances called allergens, which are generally harmless and in most people do not cause a problem.  But in a person with allergies, the immune response is oversensitive. When it recognizes an allergen, it releases chemicals such as histamines. which fight off the allergen. This causes allergy symptoms.

    In the United States, 65 million people have some type of allergy:

    • 56% percent are allergic to grasses and pollen
    • 39% are allergic to cat and dog dander
    • 10% have some type of food allergy

    Instances of seasonal allergies are on the up-swing, primarily for environmental reasons.

    "The seasons are getting longer—they're starting earlier and pollens are getting released earlier," says Dr. Stanley Fineman, president-elect of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and an allergist at the Atlanta Allergy and Asthma Clinic. "And not only is there warmer weather, there tends to be more CO2 in atmosphere."

    Read More

    Topics: Viruses, allergic, allergy, Dr. Stanley Fineman, General Medicine, Hans Söderlun, immune system, National Institute of Health (NIH), University of Eastern Finland, vaccine, allergen, bacteria, European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunolog, histamine, immunity, Kristiina Takkinen, Professor Juhu Rouvinen, vaccination

    August is National Immunization Awareness Month

    Posted by admin on Aug 17, 2011 11:28:43 AM

    With students getting ready to go back to school, and the upcoming flu season fast approaching, August marks the annual observance of National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM).

    The goal of NIAM is to increase awareness about immunizations, and to reach the thousands of people in the U.S.  and the hundreds of thousands around the world who go unprotected from vaccine-preventable diseases that claim the lives of countless people each year. It has been proven that the best defense against contracting common viruses and diseases is for both children and adults to be immunized. In addition, a healthier population reduces healthcare costs, and results in fewer missed work and school days.

    5 Key Reasons to Support Immunization Programs:

    1. Immunization Saves Lives
    Immunization saves more than 3 million lives worldwide each year, and it saves millions more from suffering illness and lifelong disability.

    Global distribution of the 1.4 million annual deaths caused by vaccine-preventable (WHO)
    Read More

    Topics: influenza, National Immunization Awareness Month, NIAM, vaccine, immunization, Infectious Disease, infectious disease

    Hepatitis C Vaccine on the Horizon

    Posted by admin on Mar 7, 2011 12:28:10 PM

    A new vaccine being developed by a team of researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark may reduce the number of positive hepatitis C tests in the future. They are reporting one of the first successful trials in inoculating animals against the disease.

    The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects at least 170 million people worldwide and about 4 million people in the United States. It is a big public health problem because most acute hepatitis C infections become chronic which can lead to further liver problems like cirrhosis and cancer.

    "The hepatitis C virus (HCV) has the same infection pathways as HIV," says Jan Pravsgaard Christensen, Associate Professor of Infection Immunology at the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen.

    "Approximately one newly infected patient in five has an immune system capable of defeating an acute HCV infection in the first six months. But most cases do not present any symptoms at all and the virus becomes a chronic infection of the liver."

    Read More

    Topics: research, Prescribing, vaccine, hepatitis, immunization, Infectious Disease

    Subscribe to Email Updates

    Recent Posts

    Posts by Topic

    see all