Merck staph vaccine enters phase II

September 21, 2008 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: General 

From Forbes:

VIENNA, Aug 28 (Reuters) – Austrian biotech firm Intercell <ICEL.VI> said on Thursday its partner Merck & Co <MRK.N> has started a Phase II clinical trial to evaluate a vaccine candidate against Staphylococcus aureus infections.

Merck is responsible for clinical development, manufacturing and marketing of the vaccine. Intercell is eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on future net sales

This is the second trial start following a separate Phase II trial launch in December 2007. Read more

Health Marketing, Risk Communication, and the Media

August 7, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: CDC Watch, General, Parents' Pages 

Remember the Great Influenza Vaccine Shortage a few years back?

Panic swept the nation after the FDA rejected many European flu shots because of possible contamination during manufacturing.  What was left was rationed according to age and risk factors, and the public could  be seen every night on the news waiting in long lines to get the remaining doses.

Now, setting aside for the moment the ongoing questions regarding the usefulness of flu shots in any age group, especially the elderly, one might come to wonder what has changed in recent years to bring about this new terror regarding influenza.

The answer, as outlandish and implausible as it might sound, is that this fear has been manufactured and marketed by the people in public health. Read more

A Stolen Life

August 3, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Book Reviews 

by Marge Grant
This book gave me information I had never encountered previously.

The story tells of Marge and Jim Grant who were extremely happy when they received their second son,  Scott, who was anxiously awaited by his brother Shawn, age 4 at the time.

As most parents, the Grants wanted the very best for both their children and that of course included excellent health care. They felt secure that their pediatrician, Dr. Weatherhogg met that need.

Their older son, Shawn, had received the then current CDC recommenced vaccines and so would their new son.

It was the year 1961 when Scott was taken to his four month well baby visit and Dr. Weatherhogg informed Marge that an even better vaccine than the DTP which was the vaccine that was given to Shawn, was now on the market. The new vaccine was from Parke, Davis & Company and was known as the Quadrigen – benevolently know as the “quad”. It contained the original combinated three vaccines: diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, plus the polio vaccine. Read more

Rotavirus: Death by Diarrhea?

February 4, 2008 by · 22 Comments
Filed under: Vaccine/Disease Analysis 

Rotavirus is reported to be the leading cause of diarrhea among children, causing upwards of 55,000 hospitalizations per year in the US. Symptoms consist of vomiting and diarrhea, usually lasting between 3-8 days. Subsequent bouts of rotavirus are usually milder.

When this vaccine made its debute in 1998, I’ll admit to some skepticism. I laughed and said,“Really? Now it’s death by diarrhea!” When the first Rotavirus vaccine (RotaShield) was recalled in 1999, for causing intussusception, I felt justified in my stance. Especially when I found out that intussusception caused by this vaccine is a “compensable injury” and is paid for out of the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. (1) (Intussusception is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the intestine gets blocked or twisted. One portion of the intestine telescopes into a nearby portion, causing the intestinal obstruction. The most common site is where the small intestine joins the large intestine.)

In 2006, a new rotavirus vaccine (RotaTeq) was approved by the FDA. My family doctor and most of those around me were all strongly recommending the new vaccine, so I turned my attention towards some research.
Read more

Sisyphus and the Conjugate Vaccines

January 31, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Vaccine/Disease Analysis 


As a punishment from the gods, Sisyphus was compelled to roll a huge rock up a steep hill, but before he reached the top of the hill, the rock always escaped him and he had to begin again. The maddening nature of the punishment was reserved for Sisyphus due to the mortal’s hubristic belief that his cleverness surpassed that of Zeus.


In September, the AP reported that Prevnar…

“A vaccine that has dramatically curbed pneumonia and other serious illnesses in children is having an unfortunate effect: promoting new superbugs that cause ear infections.”

I always wonder who actually writes these science stories you see in the media.

Yes, the emerging serotypes cause ear infections and other mild illnesses, but they also cause various deadly forms of invasive disease. It’s a phenomenon called “serotype replacement” (or “replacement disease” in other circumstances) and so far all of the conjugate vaccines (Hib, Prevnar, Menactra) have done this in some form or fashion. The vaccines work extremely well against vaccine-included serotypes of streptococcus pneumoniae, but they work so well that they also prevent asymptomatic carriage of these normally commensal organisms.

And that is a problem.

For example, from The Lancet:

“FINDINGS: We noted no reduction of AOM episodes in the pneumococcal vaccine group compared with controls (intention-to-treat analysis: rate ratio 1.25, 95% CI 0.99-1.57). Although nasopharyngeal carriage of pneumococci of serotypes included in the conjugate-vaccine was greatly reduced after pneumococcal vaccinations, immediate and complete replacement by non-vaccine pneumococcal serotypes took place.”
Read more

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