High Dose Vitamin D No Advantage In Preventing Pediatric Viral Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute

Dr. Maguire

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC
Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
Staff Pediatrician, Department of Pediatrics, St. Michael’s Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Vitamin D has been hypothesized as being protective of seasonal viral upper respiratory tract infections.  In this randomized clinical trial, high dose wintertime vitamin D supplementation (2000 IU/day) was compared with standard-dose vitamin D supplementation (400 IU/day) among 703 children.  The number of laboratory confirmed viral upper respiratory tract infections was not statistically different between groups.

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Higher HIV Viral Loads Linked to Increased Squamous Cell Cancers of Skin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maryam M. Asgari, MD, MPH Department of Dermatology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Population Medicine Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland

Dr. Asgari

Maryam M. Asgari, MD, MPH
Department of Dermatology
Massachusetts General Hospital,
Department of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente
Northern California, Oakland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Nonmelanoma skin cancer – defined as basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) – is a common malignant condition, affecting more than 2 million Americans every year. BCCs are more common than SCCs among individuals with healthy immune systems, while SCCs are more predominate than BCCs among people who are immunocompromised.

We examined how laboratory markers used to evaluate HIV disease progression may be associated with subsequent nonmelanoma skin cancer risk in white patients previously diagnosed with at least one such cancer from 1996 to 2008.  We measured CD4 count, viral load and subsequent nonmelanoma skin cancer. The study included 455 participants with HIV and 1,952 without HIV. All were members of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health care plan.

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Could Vaccine Against Meningococcus Help Protect Against Gonorrhea?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Helen Petousis-Harris. BSc, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Dept General Practice and Primary Health Care
Academic Head, Immunisation Research and Vaccinology
Immunisation Advisory Centre
School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
University of Auckland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Early thinking came from two quarters. One, the observation that the NZ OMV vaccine appeared broadly protective – beyond the clone it was based on and two, the observation of graphs depicting annual number of cases from both Cuba and NZ. There is nothing to suggest other types of meningococcal vaccine have had any effect on gonorrhoea so we are interested in the OMV vaccines. This led to the hypothesis that as these two Neisseria species are related the meningococcal OMV in the form of a vaccine may offer some kind of cross protection.

To explore this possibility we conducted a case-control study that compared the vaccination status of cases (gonorrhoea) and controls (Clamydia). We found that the cases with gonorrhoea were less likely to be vaccinated than the controls and after we controlled for confounders – ethnicity, SE deprivation, age we found a vaccine effectiveness of 31%.

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Dissolvable Microneedle Patches Can Be Vaccination Game Changer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Nadine G Rouphael MD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Emory University
Director of the VTEU and HIPC networks at the
Hope Clinic of the Emory Vaccine Center
Decatur GA 30030, USA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new technology and study? What are the main findings?

Response: Different groups including a group of researchers at Georgia Tech have been working on the microneedle technology for more than 20 years. The dissolvable microneedle patches are already used in several cosmetic products and drugs. However, vaccination with microneedle patches has been studied mostly in animals.

Our phase 1 trial published this week in The Lancet showed that vaccination with the microneedle patches was safe, with no related serious adverse events reported. Local skin reactions to the patches were mostly mild itching and faint redness that lasted two to three days. No new chronic medical illnesses or influenza-like illnesses were reported with either the patch or the injection groups. Antibody responses generated by the vaccine, as measured through analysis of blood samples, were similar in the groups vaccinated using patches and those receiving intramuscular injection, and these immune responses were still present after six months. When asked after immunization, more than 70 percent of patch recipients reported they would prefer patch vaccination over injection or intranasal vaccination for future vaccinations.

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Unorthodox Treatment of Presumed Chronic Lyme Disease Can Be Deadly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christina Nelson, MD MPH Medical epidemiologist, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases CDC

Dr. Nelson

Dr. Christina Nelson, MD MPH
Medical epidemiologist, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
CDC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Patients who are given a diagnosis of “chronic Lyme disease” have been offered a variety of treatments that have not been shown to be effective.  Many patients are treated with prolonged courses of antibiotics (for months or years), which have not been shown to provide substantial long-term benefit to patients.  Anecdotal reports about adverse outcomes associated with these treatments for chronic Lyme disease are common, but there have not been systematic efforts to collect data about the frequency of these events.

MedicalResearch.com: Why is the diagnosis of ‘Chronic Lyme Disease’ so common?

Response: The term “chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) has been used to describe people with different illnesses. While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, in many occasions it has been used to describe symptoms in people who have no evidence of a current or past infection with Lyme disease.  Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use.

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FDA Approves BAXDELA™ (Delafloxacin) For Skin Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sue Cammarata, MD Chief Medical Officer Melinta Therapeutics

Dr. Cammarata

Dr. Sue Cammarata, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Melinta Therapeutics

MedicalResearch.com:   Would you explain what is meant by MRSA?

Response: MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is  resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA is noted by the CDC as one of the top 18 drug-resistant bacteria threats to the United States.  (from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/biggest_threats.html  ) 

MedicalResearch.com:   Why is infection with MRSA so serious?

Response:  MRSA can cause skin infections, lung infection and other issues.

If left untreated, MRSA infections can become severe and cause sepsis – a life-threatening reaction to severe infection in the body – and even death.  MRSA can also cause major issues, such as bloodstream infectionspneumonia and surgical site infections in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. “Resistance to first-line drugs to treat infections caused by Staphlylococcus aureus—a common cause of severe infections in health facilities and the community—is widespread. People with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection.”  (quote from WHO website http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/  )   Continue reading

Animal Visitation Programs Can Raise Infection Risks In Health Care Facilities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN</strong> Research assistant professor Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Tufts University and Associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

Dr. Linder

Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN
Research assistant professor
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Tufts University and
Associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In our experience with our own therapy animal program, Tufts Paws for People, we have seen facilities and organizations put animals and people at risk by not following rigorous health and safety policies, and this certainly was confirmed by the results of our study. Lax health and safety policies typically aren’t intentional but occur as a result of enthusiasm for therapy animal programs without being aware of potential risks and what questions to ask. Also, it’s not just obvious problems that can occur, such as bites or allergies. It also can be an animal spreading infections due to diet or inadequate grooming, or unwanted stress on the animal.

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How Does HPV Virus Lead To Skin Cancer?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. med. Sigrun Smola
Institute of Virology, Saarland University
Homburg/Saar, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), the most common cancer in humans, is caused by UV-irradiation. The potential co-factor role of cutaneous genus beta-human papillomaviruses (beta-HPV) in skin carcinogenesis, particularly in immunosuppressed patients, has become a major field of interest. However, the underlying mechanisms were unclear.

The skin has natural mechanisms providing protection against UV-induced damage. One important factor suppressing UV-induced skin carcinogenesis is the transcription factor C/EBPα belonging to the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein family. C/EBPα can induce cellular differentiation and is regarded as a tumor suppressor in various tissues. When C/EBPα expression is blocked in these tissues, tumorigenesis is enhanced.

Another important factor is the microRNA-203. It has been shown to control “stemness” in normal skin by suppressing a factor called p63. In many tumors miR-203 expression is shut off releasing this “brake”.

In our study we demonstrate that cutaneous beta-HPV interferes with both protective factors providing an explanation how cutaneous beta-HPV enhances the susceptibility to UV-induced carcinogenesis. Moreover, we provide evidence that these viruses regulate miR-203 via C/EBPα.

We have investigated this mechanism in Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) patients that serve as a human model disease for studying the biology of genus beta-HPVs. They are highly susceptible to persistent genus beta-HPV infection, such as HPV8, and have an increased risk to develop non-melanoma skin cancer at sun-exposed sites.

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Efficacy of Recombinant Flu Vaccine in Adults 50 Years of Age or Older 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa M. Dunkle, M.D. Chief Medical Officer Protein Sciences Corporation 1000 Research Parkway Meriden, CT 

Dr. Dunkle

Lisa M. Dunkle, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Protein Sciences Corporation
1000 Research Parkway
Meriden, CT

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The first and only recombinant protein influenza vaccine (RIV, Flublok) was approved in 2013 as a trivalent formulation for use in adults 18 years of age and older. This approval was based on demonstration of clinical efficacy (full approval) in adults 18-49 years of age and accelerated approval was granted for adults 50 years of age and older. Two clinical trials were conducted in 2014-2015 with RIV4 (Flublok Quadrivalent), of which the trial reported in the current NEJM is one.

These studies supported full approval of Flublok in adults 50 years of age and older and approval of Flublok Quadrivalent in all adults 18 years of age and older. The second trial of immunogenicity of Flublok Quadrivalent in adults 18-49 years of age will be the subject of another publication in the near future.

The main findings of the current trial are well summarized in the Conclusion of the Abstract: “RIV4 provided better protection than standard-dose IIV4 against confirmed influenza-like illness in older adults.”

Additionally, the recombinant vaccine (RIV4, Flublok Quadrivalent) demonstrated significantly less injection site pain and tenderness following vaccination. Based on the characteristics of the study participants, one can conclude that RIV4 is safe and effective in most individuals with underlying chronic diseases

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The President’s Malaria Initiative Reduced All-Cause Childhood Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexsandra Jakubowski

Aleksandra Jakubowski MPH

Aleksandra Jakubowski, MPH PhD candidate
Department of Health Policy and Management
Gillings School of Global Public Health
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) provides approximately $600 million annually to fund implementation of key evidence-based malaria prevention and treatment interventions, including insecticide treated nets (ITNs), artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), and indoor residual spraying (IRS) to populations in 19 recipient countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Despite this considerable investment, no study to date has evaluated the impact of PMI on population health outcomes. Previous evaluations have noted improved health outcomes in PMI countries, but comparison groups are needed to establish whether these changes were beyond the declining trends in mortality observed in the rest of the region. Our study sought to generate objective evidence for policy makers about the role this US-funded malaria aid program may have played in curbing child mortality in SSA.

We used a quasi-experimental design known as difference-in-differences to compare trends in health outcomes in PMI-recipient vs. PMI non-recipient countries. We analyzed publicly-available data from 32 countries in SSA spanning a period that included about ten years before and after the introduction of the program.

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