Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 21.08.2015

Gary S. Marshall, M.D. Professor of Pediatrics Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Director, Pediatric Clinical Trials Unit University of Louisville School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gary S. Marshall, M.D. Professor of Pediatrics Chief, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Director, Pediatric Clinical Trials Unit University of Louisville School of Medicine     Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Marshall: The infant immunization schedule has become crowded. That’s great news, in a sense, because it means that our children have become better protected against more diseases. At the same time, this has led to well child visits during which many shots are recommended, and some parents want to limit the number of injections their children receive at one time. This leads to deferrals, poor timeliness and decreased coverage rates, all of which could impair protection. This study shows that a hexavalent vaccine—one that combines diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B vaccines in one syringe—is safe and just as immunogenic as the currently used component vaccines.  (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, NIH, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 15.08.2015

George K Siberry, MD, MPH, Medical Officer Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease (MPID) Branch Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MDMedicalResearch.com Interview with: George K Siberry, MD, MPH, Medical Officer Maternal and Pediatric Infectious Disease (MPID) Branch Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Siberry:  Vaccines may not work as reliably in children with HIV infection, especially when their HIV is not under effective treatment. Today, most children in the United States who were born with HIV infection are receiving effective HIV treatment and have reached school age or even young adulthood. However, many received their childhood vaccines before they got started on their HIV treatment (because modern HIV treatments weren’t available when they were very young or their HIV infection was diagnosed late). So we wanted to see if these older children still had immunity from the vaccines they received when they were much younger. Medical Research:  What are the main findings? Dr. Siberry: We looked specifically at whether older children with HIV since birth were protected against measles, mumps, and rubella, the three viral infections covered by the measles-mumps-rubella (or MMR) vaccine. We found that 1/3 up to almost 1/2 of these children were not protected against these viruses, even though nearly all of the children had received at least 2 MMR doses, as recommended. And even if their HIV was currently under excellent control.  When we analyzed factors that were linked to being protected, we found that one of the most important factors was whether you got your MMR vaccine doses after you got on good treatment for your HIV infection.  For instance, over 85% of children who had gotten at least 2 MMR vaccine doses after being on effective HIV treatment were protected against measles compared to less than half of those who didn’t get both of their MMR vaccine doses while on effective HIV treatment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Vaccine Studies, Wistar / 29.06.2015

Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 1910MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott E. Hensley, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 1910   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies documented that the the 2014-2015 H3N2 flu vaccine strain was antigenically distinct compared to most recent H3N2 flu strains.  Recent H3N2 strains possess several mutation and it was previously unknown which of these mutations contributed to the 2014-2015 vaccine mismatch.  We used a reverse-genetic engineering approach to identify specific viral mutations that contributed to the 2014-2015 vaccine mismatch. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 26.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Siv Klevar, DVM,PhD. Norwegian Veterinary Institute Department of Diagnostics Section of Immunology Oslo Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Klevar:  Border control veterinary officers reported a surge in the number of imported dogs after the pet travel regulations were relaxed in 2012. At the same time rescue groups, through social media advertisement, encouraged and facilitated the adoption of dogs from shelters in Eastern Europe. The removal of the requirement regarding individual serological testing for antibodies to rabies before importing pets into UK, Ireland, Sweden, Malta and Norway, made it much easier to import pets into these countries. Previously import required several months of preparation and additional costs whereas under the new regulations it could be done after a single vaccination and a 3 week wait. The Norwegian Food Authority initiated a project to look at exotic pathogens in these re-homed dogs. This study reports the rabies antibody levels detected in some of the rehomed stray dogs entering Norway during 2012. The Norwegian Veterinary Institute and National Veterinary Institute in Sweden carried out the study. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Klevar: Our results showed that a high proportion of stray dogs, compared to a control group of pet dogs from Sweden, didn’t have sufficient protection against rabies virus after vaccination. Although we do not know exactly why this was the case, the exceedingly low levels of antibodies detected in some of the stray animals would suggest that they were not properly vaccinated, even though all the paperwork showed they were fully compliant with Pet Travel Regulations. The main issue highlighted by this study is that the current regulations are not sufficient to prevent rabies introduction when importing rescue dogs from countries where the virus is present to countries free from the disease. The reason for this is that the current regulations do not require a check to see if the pet has been properly vaccinated (by testing the animal’s blood for antibodies). In addition to this, the 21 day waiting period after vaccination isn’t long enough for rabies to develop if the dog had been infected prior to vaccination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, OBGYNE, Vaccine Studies / 18.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ann Goding Sauer Epidemiologist, American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Among US women, a positive association between Pap test uptake and HPV vaccination has been shown, though potential variation of the association by race/ethnicity had not been explored previously. The prevalence of some HPV types varies across different racial/ethnic groups so it is important to explore the association between Pap test uptake and HPV vaccination in detail. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Response: Pap test uptake was significantly lower among those who had not initiated HPV vaccination (81.0%) compared to women who had initiated vaccination (90.5%) (adjusted prevalence ratio = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.90–0.96). This result was seen across most of the sociodemographic factors examined, though not statistically significant for non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, those with lower levels of education, or those with higher levels of income. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gastrointestinal Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 10.06.2015

Eyal Leshem, MD Division of Viral Diseases, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GeorgiaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eyal Leshem, MD Division of Viral Diseases, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Routine vaccination of US children to protect against rotavirus began in 2006. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of implementation of rotavirus vaccine on gastroenteritis and rotavirus hospitalizations of children younger than 5 years old. The main finding from this study is that hospitalizations for diarrhea in U.S. children younger than 5 years old decreased dramatically during 2008 to 2012 following implementation of routine rotavirus vaccination in 2006. Additionally, seasonal peaks of hospitalizations for rotavirus illness were considerably reduced after the vaccine was implemented compared to years prior to rotavirus vaccination. By 2012, rates of rotavirus hospitalization declined by approximately 90% across all settings and age groups. Factors such as increasing vaccine coverage as well as herd immunity resulting in less transmission of rotavirus may be responsible for this large decrease. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Vaccine Studies / 10.06.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Pedro Moro, MD, MPH Immunization Safety Office Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA 3033 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is a US national vaccine safety surveillance system, co-administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). VAERS accepts reports of adverse events (possible side effects) following vaccination. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS. The study team searched VAERS for US reports of death after any vaccination from 7/1/1997 to 12/31/2013. During that time period, VAERS received 2,149 death reports, with most (68.4%) occurring in children. Among children, the most common causes of death were: o   sudden infant death syndrome (44%) o   asphyxia, or lack of oxygen to the brain (6%) o   septicemia, or blood poisoning from a bacterial infection (5%) o   pneumonia (5%) Among adults, the most common causes of death were: o   diseases of the circulatory system (47%) o   diseases of the respiratory system (15%) o   infections and parasitic diseases (12%) o   tumors (4%) The main causes of death seen in VAERS reports were consistent with the most common causes of death in the US population. When studied separately, none of these causes of death have found to be related to vaccines. This finding is reassuring, and consistent with previous research on vaccine safety. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 13.05.2015

Maria Blomberg Virus, Lifestyle & Genes Danish Cancer Society Research Centre Copenhagen, DenmarkMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maria Blomberg Virus, Lifestyle & Genes Danish Cancer Society Research Centre Copenhagen, Denmark Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Two vaccines against human papillomavirus (HPV) were licensed almost one decade ago. Since then multiple countries have implemented HPV vaccination programs to help reduce genital warts (one of the kinds of warts most harmful to people), but many struggle with low coverage rates. An important barrier to vaccination is the cost of the vaccines and less developed countries also face considerable logistical challenges. Both vaccines were administered as three dose schedules, but in early 2014 the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts and the European Medicines Agency reviewed the evidence of reduced dose schedules of HPV vaccination, and subsequently recommended a two dose schedule for young girls. A reduction of the number of doses has obvious advantages; it would lower the costs, ease implementation of vaccination schedules and potentially increase coverage rates. Based on these recommendations, countries around the world have reduced the dosing schedule in their HPV vaccination programs for young girls to two doses. However, the current evidence is based primarily on immunological studies, and because the immune correlate of protection is not known, studies with disease endpoints are very important. Using the biologically relevant endpoint of genital warts, this study aimed to assess the clinical effectiveness of a two dose schedule of quadrivalent HPV vaccine compared with the standard three-dose regimen administered at month 0, 2 and 6. We found that with the standard vaccination schedule, completion of the three dose regimen is important to gain maximal protection. However, the effectiveness of two doses increased significantly with increasing time between the doses, and with an interval of approximately 6 months between dose one and two, no differences could be found between two and three doses. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Gender Differences, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 13.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Johannes Berkhof Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, Netherlands Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Vaccination against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) is offered free-of-charge to 12-year-old girls in the Netherlands. There is strong evidence that HPV also causes cancer in men: the virus is associated with cancers of the penis, anus, and oropharynx, and possibly with a small proportion of oral cancers. A number of these cancers will be prevented because vaccination of girls leads to a decrease of  HPV in the general population and thus provides indirect protection to heterosexual men. However, vaccine uptake among girls is only about 60 percent in the Netherlands. Moreover, men who have sex with men are at increased risk of HPV-related cancer and will not be protected by vaccination of girls. On the basis of data from several epidemiological studies and a dynamic model for virus transmission, we calculated that, if the vaccine uptake is low, about 200 girls need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of cervical cancer and 470 boys need to be vaccinated to prevent one case of cancer in men. An increase in vaccine uptake in girls will decrease the HPV infection risk in heterosexual men and if the uptake in girls is 60 percent, around 800 boys need to be vaccinated to prevent one additional case of cancer in men. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 11.05.2015

Manoj Duraisingh Ph.D. John LaPorte Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Immunology and Infectious DiseasesBoston, MassachusettsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manoj Duraisingh Ph.D. John LaPorte Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Duraisingh: The malaria parasite P. falciparum is one of the most important pathogens of humans, with enormous mortality resulting from blood-stage infections, when parasites replicate exponentially in red blood cells. Although anti-Plasmodial drugs are in clinical use, widespread and increasing parasite drug-resistance has contributed to an ongoing public health crisis, and we urgently need to find novel approaches to prevent and treat disease. Targeting host red blood cell molecules presents an unexploited alternative. However, the highly differentiated and enucleated red blood cell poses a significant technical hurdle for genetic experimentation, due to the lack of a nucleus. Here we have developed a novel, forward genetic screen to identify critical factors of malaria infection of red blood cells in an unbiased fashion. Our screen takes advantage of recent advances in human stem cell biology that enable the ex vivo culture of red blood cells from nucleated hematopoietic precursors which are amenable to in vitro genetics. We have now identified a surface molecule CD55 (alias Decay-Accelerating Factor, DAF) as an essential host factor required for the invasion of red blood cells by P. falciparum. We demonstrate that this protein is required by all P. falciparum strains tested (laboratory and field) for invasion. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CD55 acts at the initial stage of invasion when the P. falciparum parasite attaches to the surface of the red blood cell. Collectively, our findings indicate that CD55 is an ideal target for the development of new host-directed and vaccine therapeutics for malaria. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 07.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tejpratap S.P. Tiwari, MD Meningitis and Bacterial Vaccine Preventable Diseases Branch Division of Bacterial Diseases National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Division of Global HIV/AIDS, Center for Global Health Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tiwari: Infants younger than one year old in the United States are at highest risk for severe outcomes from pertussis and death. The first childhood pertussis vaccine dose is recommended at 2 months old, with additional doses in the first year of life at 4 and 6 months. Studies have established that pertussis vaccines can protect against pertussis disease, complications, and hospitalization in infants when 1 to 3 doses are administered by six months old. This study’s findings suggest that the first pertussis vaccine dose and appropriate antibiotic treatment protect infants against death, hospitalization, and pneumonia. Improved on-time infant vaccination (at 2, 4, and 6 months) could potentially prevent up to 1 out of every 4 infant pertussis deaths. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, HPV, University Texas, Vaccine Studies / 27.04.2015

Jacqueline Hirth, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor andMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacqueline Hirth, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor and Dr. Abbey B. Berenson MD, MMS, PhD Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health Obstetrics and Gynecology The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston TexasDr. Abbey B. Berenson MD, MMS, PhD Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Women's Health Obstetrics and Gynecology The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston Texas

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this sample of young women, vaccination was effective at reducing prevalence of vaccine-type HPV (6,11,16,18) compared to women who were unvaccinated. We also found a dose response, with young women who received at least 2 doses of the 3 dose vaccine series having a lower rate of vaccine-type HPV compared to those who only received one dose (8.6% compared to 16.9%, respectively). (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 25.04.2015

Mary J Hamel, M.D. Chief, Strategic and Applied Sciences Unit, And Deputy Branch Chief for Science, CDC Malaria Branch US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, MS A06 Atlanta GA 30333MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary J Hamel, M.D. Chief, Strategic and Applied Sciences Unit, And Deputy Branch Chief for Science, CDC Malaria Branch US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 1600 Clifton Rd, NE, MS A06 Atlanta GA 30333 Dr. Hamel was principal investigator at the Siaya site in western Kenya. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hamel: Major progress has been made in malaria control during the past decade with the scale up of proven interventions including insecticide treated nets (ITNs), indoor residual spraying, effective diagnosis and treatment for malaria, and intermittent preventive treatment of malaria in pregnancy. Nonetheless, malaria remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and a leading cause of pediatric death worldwide. An estimated 198 million cases of malaria and 580,000 deaths occurred in 2013 – most of these in African children. Now we face additional challenges in malaria control – the emergence of insecticide and drug resistance threatens some of our most effective interventions. New tools are needed to reach the goal of malaria elimination and eventual eradication. Vaccines are some of our most cost-effective interventions, and an effective malaria vaccine would be an important addition to our current malaria control tools. This week, the RTS,S Clinical Trials Partnership published the final vaccine efficacy and safety results from the RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine phase 3 trial in the Lancet (Efficacy and safety of RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine with or without a booster dose in infants and children in Africa: final results of a phase 3, individually randomised, controlled trial, http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(15)60721-8/abstract). This large randomized controlled double-blind phase 3 clinical trial was conducted in 11 sites in 7 African countries across a range of malaria transmission levels. In all, 15,460 children and young infants were enrolled in two age-categories, those first vaccinated at 5-17 months of age (referred to as children), and those first vaccinated at 6-12 weeks of age (referred to as young infants) who received the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine along with their routine childhood immunizations. Participants were randomized into 3 groups – the first group received three doses of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine followed 18 months later by a booster dose; the second group received three doses of the RTS,S/AS01 vaccine without a booster; and the third group received a comparator vaccine. All participants received an ITN. Children were followed for an average of 48 months and infants for an average of 38 months. We found that vaccine efficacy was modest. Vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria in children was 36% with a booster and 28% without, and vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was 32% with a booster and non-significant without.   Efficacy results in young infants were lower than those in children– vaccine efficacy against clinical malaria was 36% with a booster and 28% without, and vaccine efficacy against severe malaria was non-significant. However, impact, defined as the number of cases averted per 1000 participants vaccinated, was substantial in both age-categories, and highest where malaria burden was greatest. In children who received the booster, during 4 years follow-up, 1700 cases of clinical malaria were averted per 1000 children vaccinated. In young infants, during 3 years follow-up, nearly 1000 cases were averted per 1000 young infants vaccinated. The safety findings were comparable overall in the different study arms, but two safety findings are notable. Meningitis occurred more frequently among children (but not young infants) who received RTS,S/AS01 than among those who received the comparator vaccines. There was no relationship between when the vaccine was administered and when meningitis occurred, most cases occurred in only two study sites, and the finding may be due to chance. If RTS,S/AS01 is licensed, post-licensing studies will be done to establish the significance of this finding. Both children and young infants experienced more episodes of fever and associated febrile convulsions during the 7 days following vaccination; convulsions occurred in 2.2 - 2.5/1000 vaccine doses. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, NIH, Vaccine Studies / 22.04.2015

Daniel C. Beachler, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel C. Beachler, PhD Postdoctoral fellow Infections and Immunoepidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Beachler: HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection. Individuals can acquire HPV infections in the epithelium of their cervical, anal and oral sites, and occasionally these infections lead to cancer. There are three prophylactic HPV vaccines on the market that can protect against HPV at these sites among those not been previously exposed to HPV. This study examined the effect of HPV vaccination of 18-25 year old women at all three anatomic sites. The combined multi-site HPV vaccine efficacy has not been reported previously. It was unknown whether the vaccine may protect non-infected sites against HPV infection or re-infection in women exposed to HPV prior to vaccination. We observed that the HPV vaccine provides the strongest protection at all three sites among women unexposed to HPV before vaccination. Additionally, we observed some protection at the non-infected sites in women who were previously infected with HPV. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 14.04.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lillian Siu, MD, FRCPC Princess Margaret Cancer Centre University Health Network Toronto Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Siu: Our study is a collaboration between researchers at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Canadian Center for Applied Research in Cancer Control. The study involves a statistical model being applied to a hypothetical population of 192,940 Canadian boys who were 12 years old in 2012, to determine the cost effectiveness of HPV vaccination for the prevention of oropharyngeal cancer.  On the basis of this model, HPV vaccination for boys aged 12 years appears to be a cost-effective strategy for the prevention of oropharyngeal cancer in Canada. There are limitations to our study as it is based on statistical modelling with many assumptions. For instance, we could not easily address the impact of herd immunity which refers to the indirect protective effect offered by HPV vaccination in women. Based on our statistical model, despite its limitations, the vaccine can potentially save $8 to $28 million CAD for a theoretical group of 192,940 Canadian 12-year old boys in 2012 over their lifetime. As stated, this is based on a theoretical model and not a randomized study, the results are relevant especially that HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer is increasing in incidence and HPV is surpassing smoking as a risk factor for this cancer in many developed countries. Currently, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) of the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends HPV vaccination of females 9 through 26 years of age to prevent cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers, and for anogenital warts; and of males 9 through 26 years of age to prevent anal canal cancers and their precursors, and for anogenital warts. However, funding is also provided for HPV vaccination in young females and not in young males. (more…)
Author Interviews, FDA, Flu - Influenza, Geriatrics, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 03.04.2015

Dr Richard Forshee PhD Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Richard Forshee PhD Associate Director for Research in the Office of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research U.S. Food and Drug Administration Silver Spring, MD On behalf of the study authors Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Forshee: Influenza continues to be a major public health concern causing illness, hospitalization, and death. The elderly are at highest risk for seasonal influenza complications, including hospitalization and death. As people grow older their ability to raise a strong protective immune response can weaken.  The availability of a vaccine that uses a higher dose to induce a stronger immune response could reduce the serious impact of influenza in this age group.  The purpose of this study was to determine whether a high-dose inactivated influenza vaccine was more effective for prevention of probable influenza infections and influenza-related hospital admissions, compared to standard-dose inactivated influenza recipients. In December 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensed Fluzone High Dose, an injectable inactivated trivalent seasonal influenza vaccine for people ages 65 years and older. This high-dose vaccine contains four times more hemagglutinin—the active ingredient in influenza vaccines that cause the human body to produce antibodies against the influenza viruses—than the standard-dose vaccine. The FDA approved the high-dose vaccine using the accelerated approval regulatory pathway, which allows the agency to approve products for serious or life-threatening diseases based on reasonable evidence of a product’s effectiveness.  This pathway reduces the time it takes for needed medical products to become available to the public.  Studies conducted prior to licensure showed an enhanced immune response to the high-dose vaccine compared with the standard-dose vaccine in individuals 65 years of age and older indicating that the high-dose vaccine was reasonably likely to be more effective in preventing influenza disease. As part of the accelerated approval process, the manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, was required to conduct a randomized clinical study post-licensure to confirm that the high-dose vaccine decreased seasonal influenza disease after vaccination relative to standard dose vaccine. This confirmatory study demonstrated that the high–dose vaccine prevented 24% more cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza illness compared to standard-dose vaccines in people 65 years of age and older. However, the study was not large enough to determine efficacy of the vaccine against severe disease. A team of scientists from FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Acumen LLC ( an independent research organization) studied the relative effectiveness of the high-dose influenza vaccine in the U.S. population ages 65 years and older.  The observational study, which covered the 2012-2013 influenza season, found a significant reduction both in influenza-associated illness and in influenza-related hospitalizations among individuals who received the high-dose vaccine, compared to those receiving the standard dose. Additional background about this study: “Comparative effectiveness of high-dose versus standard-dose influenza vaccines in US residents aged 65 years and older from 2012 to 2013 using Medicare data: a retrospective cohort analysis” is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(14)71087-4 A commentary on the study titled “Novel observational study designs with new influenza vaccines” is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1473-3099(15)70020-4 (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 27.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Fiona McQuaid Clinical Research Fellow University of Oxford, United Kingdom Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Meningococcal B disease is a common cause of sepsis and meningitis with significant mortality and morbidity. A multicomponent vaccine against serogroup B meningococcus has been licensed for use in the Europe, Australia, Canada and recently the USA (though only in the 10-25 years age group) but questions remain about how long the bactericidal antibodies induced by infant vaccination persist and the likely breath of strain coverage. This was a follow on study looking at a group of children aged 5 years who had been vaccinated as infants and a different group who were vaccinated for the first time at 5 years of age. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: The percentage of children with protective antibody levels who had been immunized as infants fell in the 20 months since their last immunization but this varied by the strain of meingococcus B tested and by the different infant/toddler vaccination schedules. The children who were vaccinated for the first time at 5 years of age showed a good antibody response, but most reported pain and redness around the site of vaccination and 4-10% had a fever. (more…)
Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 07.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Su-Ying Wen, MD Chief of Department of Dermatology, Taipei City Hospital, Renai Branch, Taipei City, Taiwan Department of Dermatology, Taipei City Hospital, Renai Branch, Taipei City, Taiwan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Su-Ying Wen: Though herpes zoster is seen as a disease of the elderly, it can affect individuals in any age group including children. There are limited population-based data regarding pediatric herpes zoster. We reported a higher incidence rate of pediatric herpes zoster than in previous studies. The higher incidence observed in this population-based study might be because it was measured in a cohort of children who were all infected with varicella rather than as other reports including individuals free of varicella infection in the denominator. Children younger than 2 years at the diagnosis of varicella had a significantly higher risk and shorter duration of developing herpes zoster. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 05.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Brisson Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modeling and Health Economics of Infectious Disease Associate Professor, Université LavalMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Brisson Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Modeling and Health Economics of Infectious Disease Associate Professor, Université Laval Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Since 2007, 52 countries have implemented human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) programmes. Two HPV vaccines are currently available worldwide: the bivalent vaccine, which targets HPV types 16 and 18, causing 70-80% of cervical cancer, and the quadrivalent vaccine, which also targets HPV types 6 and 11, associated with 85-95% of anogenital wart cases. Large international randomised controlled clinical trials have shown both vaccines to be safe, well tolerated and highly efficacious against vaccine-type persistent infections and precancerous cervical lesions.  Furthermore, both vaccines have shown some level of cross-protection against 3 HPV types (HPV 31, 33 and 45) not included in the vaccine and associated with a supplementary 10-15% of cervical cancers worldwide. Now that 7 years have elapsed since the implementation of the first HPV vaccination program, we verified whether the promising results from clinical trials are materialising at the population level. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the population-level impact in countries that have introduced HPV vaccination programs. In countries with high female vaccination coverage (<50%), our main findings indicate:
  • sharp declines in HPV-related outcomes among females targeted for vaccination (e.g., HPV-16/18 infection and anogenital warts declined by more than 60% in females younger than 20 years), and
  • evidence of cross-protection with significant reductions in HPV-31/33/45 infection among females younger than 20 years
  • evidence of herd effects (indirect benefit of vaccination among unvaccinated individuals) with significant reductions in anogenital warts among males and older females.
In countries with low coverage (<50%), we report:
  • significant reductions in HPV-16/18 infection and anogenital warts among young females, with no indication of herd effects or cross-protection. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 28.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Frank Struyf MD PhD Director, Lead Clinical Development HPV vaccines at GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals GlaxoSmithKline Vaccines, Rixensart, Belgium MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Struyf: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women, with estimates from 2012 indicating that there are 528,000 new cases and 266,000 deaths each year worldwide, the majority of cases occurring in developing countries (reference: Globocan 2012 at http://globocan.iarc.fr/old/FactSheets/cancers/cervix-new.asp). Persistent infection with oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) is a necessary condition for the development of invasive cervical cancer. HPV type 16 (HPV-16) and HPV-18 are found in approximately 70% of cases. We conducted the Papilloma Trial Against Cancer in Young Adults (PATRICIA), a multinational clinical trial in 14 countries in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, North America, and Latin America and enrolled over 18,000 women. The trial showed that the HPV-16/18 AS04-adjuvanted vaccine not only prevented persistent infections and high-grade cervical lesions associated with HPV types 16 and/or 18 included in the vaccine, but also protected against some common related oncogenic HPV types not included in the vaccine. However, during the analysis of this trial, we also noticed that for some rare nonvaccine oncogenic HPV types, the vaccine efficacy against infections did not seem to match the efficacy against lesions associated with the same HPV type. To investigate this, we re-analyzed the samples from the trial using a different PCR method and found that the HPV PCR methodology used per protocol may have underestimated the efficacy for non-vaccine HPV types in cases of multiple infections. While these results do not replace the results generated according to the study protocol and included in the product label, they are reassuring, as they confirm the cross-protective efficacy of the HPV-16/18 vaccine against some HPV types related to those included in the vaccine. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Vaccine Studies / 28.02.2015

Elmar A. Joura, M.D Gynecologist University of ViennaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elmar A. Joura, M.D Gynecologist University of Vienna MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of this study? Dr. Joura: This study demonstrates that the new ninevalent HPV vaccine induces a good immunogenicity against HPV 6/11/16/18 and gives a 97% protection against disease caused by HPV 31/33/45/52/58. This has a potential of a 90% reduction of cervical cancer and other HPV related cancers and a similar protection against genital warts. The full benefit is seen in persons without current HPV infection, this reinforces early vaccination against HPV. The safety profile was favourable. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Vaccine Studies / 10.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tom Shimabukuro, MD, MPH, MBA Captain, U.S. Public Health Service Deputy Director Immunization Safety Office Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: CDC conducted a study looking at reports of adverse events (possible side effects) following measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccination in adults. Researchers reviewed the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database for U.S. reports of adults aged 19 years and older who received MMR vaccine from January 1, 2003 to July 31, 2013. During this period, VAERS received 3,175 U.S. reports after MMR vaccine in adults. The most common signs and symptoms for all reports were fever (19%), rash (17%), pain (13%), and joint pain (13%). The study included adults only, a population for which there is limited safety data for this vaccine. This study further supports the MMR vaccine’s safety.  Researchers did not find any new or unexpected safety concerns. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 04.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Matthew R Moore, MD National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USADr Matthew R Moore, MD National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Moore: Since introduction, pneumococcal conjugate vaccines have resulted in dramatic decreases in the number of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in both children and adults.  The 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) was introduced into the routine infant immunization program in the United States in 2000. It was recommended for infants using a 4-dose schedule: 2, 4, 6, and 12 through 15 months of age. Studies showed that PCV7 was highly effective in preventing invasive pneumococcal disease. In 2010, the 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) replaced PCV7 using the same 4-dose schedule. PCV13 is similar to PCV7, but includes protection against six additional serotypes of Streptococcus pneumoniae. There are more than 90 serotypes of pneumococcal bacteria. Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, is a major cause of illness and death globally. Pneumococcus can cause many types of illness that ranging from mild to life-threatening, including pneumonia, ear and sinus infections, meningitis, and bacteremia. Some of these infections are considered invasive because they invade parts of the body that are normally free from bacteria. Invasive pneumococcal disease, including meningitis and bacteremia, is often severe and can be deadly. MedicalResearch: What are the main findings? Dr. Moore: Invasive pneumococcal disease decreased substantially in the first 3 years after PCV13 was introduced into the U.S. infant immunization schedule. By June 2013, more than 30,000 cases of invasive pneumococcal disease and 3,000 deaths are estimated to have been prevented in the United States due to PCV13. Children under the age of five, which is the age group that actually received the vaccine, experienced the greatest and quickest benefit from PCV13.  For example, the overall number of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease decreased by 64% in this age group between 2010 and 2013. Significant decreases were seen as early as six months after the immunization recommendation was made. Adults, who were not targeted for vaccination, also experienced health benefits from PCV13 introduction. For example, the overall number of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease decreased by 32% for adults aged 18 to 49 years, while adults 65 and older experienced a more modest 12% decrease.  These reductions are further evidence that both PCV7 and PCV13 reduce the spread of pneumococcus, which is why vaccinating children leads to disease reductions in adults. For both children and adults, the greatest reductions were seen in the number of cases of invasive pneumococcal disease that were caused by serotypes that are covered by PCV13 but not PCV7 (serotypes 19A and 7F specifically). (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 04.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Margaret M. Cortese MD Division of Viral Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cortese: The introduction of rotavirus vaccine in the United States resulted in a dramatic reduction in hospitalizations and emergency department care for rotavirus disease among young children, as well as provided indirect protection to unvaccinated peers. However, what our study looked at was whether or not older children and adults may experience indirect protection from having children in the house who are vaccinated for rotavirus. We used 2008-2012 Marketscan claims data to compare gastroenteritis rates among households whose child had received rotavirus vaccine with households whose child did not receive vaccine. We found statistically significantly lower rates of hospitalization from rotavirus gastroenteritis or unspecified-gastroenteritis in vaccinated households among all persons 20-29 years and females 20-29 years during the 2008-2009 rotavirus season as well as males 30-39 years in the 2009-2010 season. Lower emergency department gastroenteritis rates occurred in vaccinated households among females 20-29 years during the 2009-2010 season and individuals 5-19 years during the 2010-2011 season. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dengue, Infections, NEJM, Vaccine Studies / 13.01.2015

Gustavo Dayan, MD Director, Clinical Development Sanofi Pasteur  Discovery Drive Swiftwater, PA 18370MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gustavo Dayan, MD Director, Clinical Development Sanofi Pasteur  Discovery Drive Swiftwater, PA 18370 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Dayan: This is the first dengue vaccine efficacy trial conducted in Latin America. The trial met its primary objective showing an efficacy of 60.8% against symptomatic VCD (virologically confirmed dengue) after a 3-dose vaccination schedule. Serotype-specific efficacy was also demonstrated against all four serotypes. Furthermore, the dengue vaccine candidate effectively reduced hospitalization due to dengue by 80.3% and severe dengue disease by 95.5% over the 25-month study period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Vaccine Studies / 10.01.2015

Dr. Robert S. DiPaola Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08901MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Robert S. DiPaola Director, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey New Brunswick, NJ 08901   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DiPaola: Despite significant recent improvements in the treatment of advanced castration-resistant prostate cancer, there remains a need for a standard therapy for those patients who have an early relapse with PSA progression after local therapy.  Immune therapy with poxvirus vaccines are optimal, because they can induce potent immune responses by mimicking natural infection, have great flexibility regarding antigen composition and are easily administered. ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group investigators conducted a Phase II clinical trial examining adult patients from member institutions with advanced prostate cancer (as evidenced by two rising prostate-specific antigen or PSA values and no visible metastasis) who had prior surgery or radiation. We explored two different experimental treatment options. In step one, patients were treated with PROSTVAC-V/TRICOM and PROSTVAC-F/TRICOM. PROSTVAC-V is derived from a vaccinia virus that was used for many years to vaccinate against smallpox. This virus is modified to produce a PSA protein that helps focus the body’s immune response to the PSA in the prostate tumor. In addition, it is modified to produce three other proteins that help increase an immune cell’s ability to destroy its target (TRICOM). PROSTVAC-F is made from the fowlpox virus, which is found in birds and not known to cause any human disease.  It contains the same genetic material as PROSTAC-V, but is given multiple times to further boost the body’s immune system. Patients in the study were given one cycle of PROSTVAC-V/TRICOM followed by PROSTVAC-F/TRICOM for subsequent cycles in combination with a drug known as GM-CSF. GM-CSF is a protein normally made by the body to increase the amount of certain white blood cells and make them more active. When in drug form, it is used to boost the body’s immune system to fight off disease.  After six months from first treatment, 25 of 40 eligible patients (63 percent) were found to have no disease progression and experienced minimal toxicity.  The rate of rise of PSA also decreased.  The second part of the study included the addition of hormone therapy (androgen ablation) to the PROSTVAC-VF/TRICOM combination. In the 27 patients eligible for this step, 20 patients (74 percent) experienced a significant response at seven months. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, JAMA, Vaccine Studies / 05.01.2015

Anders Hviid, M.Sc., Dr.Med.Sci. Senior Investigator, Statens Serum InstitutMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anders Hviid, M.Sc., Dr.Med.Sci. Senior Investigator, Statens Serum Institut Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: After the widespread introduction of HPV vaccination of adolescent girls, a number of safety concerns have emerged. In this case, demyelinating diseases, including multiple sclerosis, occurring after HPV vaccination has been reported in social media, news media and medical journals. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: In a study of almost 4 million Danish and Swedish women, we found no support for an increased risk of multiple sclerosis or other demyelinating diseases following HPV vaccination. (more…)
Author Interviews, Compliance, Flu - Influenza, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 31.12.2014

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health Columbia University - College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac) Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health New York, NY 10032MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health, Columbia University - College of Physicians & Surgeons and Mailman School of Public Health Medical Director, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac); Co-Director, Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Influenza can be a very serious disease and is more than just a bad cold.  Some children who are 6 months through 8 years need two doses of the influenza vaccine in a season depending on if and when they received previous influenza vaccine doses. We know that only about half of these families who want to vaccinate their children against the flu and get the first dose, come back to get the second dose. (more…)
Author Interviews, HPV, Lancet, Vaccine Studies / 28.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Huachun Zou PhD on behalf of all authors. Melbourne Sexual Health Centre, Alfred Health, Carlton, VIC, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anogenital human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and anal cancer are common among men who have sex with men (MSM) and preventable with the HPV vaccine. However, the optimal strategy for vaccinating MSM against HPV requires an accurate understanding of the age specific incidence of early HPV infection. In addition to understanding the optimal age at which to vaccinate young MSM, policy makers also need to know the vaccine coverage required in MSM. In this paper we aimed to provide estimates for the site specific incidence of HPV and to use this to estimate the probability of transmission per partner in a cohort of very young MSM aged 16 to 20 years. These data will assist governments in deciding what HPV vaccination strategy is likely to be the most effective in MSM. (more…)