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CIDRAP NEWS SCAN: Staying power of malaria vaccine; Smallpox prophylaxis drug; Rift Valley fever vaccine; Flu fact sheet impact

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  • CIDRAP NEWS SCAN: Staying power of malaria vaccine; Smallpox prophylaxis drug; Rift Valley fever vaccine; Flu fact sheet impact


    News Scan for Jul 10, 2019
    Staying power of malaria vaccine; Smallpox prophylaxis drug; Rift Valley fever vaccine; Flu fact sheet impact

    Filed Under:
    Rift Valley fever; Malaria; Smallpox; Bioterrorism; VHF; Influenza, General

    Study: Malaria vaccine effectiveness holds up longer than previously shown

    The efficacy of malaria vaccine RTS,S/AS01 in infants and children is sustained for up to 7 years after vaccination, according to an extension study published Jul 9 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases following a previous phase 3 study.
    The original study followed children in two age-groups at vaccination—6 to 12 weeks and 5 to 17 months—at 11 sites in Africa. The children were randomly assigned to 4-dose, 3-dose, or control groups. The vaccine was shown to be moderately effective over the 3- to 4-year follow-up period.
    In the extension study, children from three of the African sites were followed for 3 additional years. The incidence of severe malaria remained moderate, varying somewhat by site and drug regimen but, according to the authors, declining over the total 6- or 7-year follow-up after vaccination regardless of treatment assignment.
    Moreover, there was no significant change in vaccine efficacy against severe malaria over the additional 3 years of follow-up, nor was there any evidence of increased susceptibility in the vaccinated children compared with controls (i.e., rebound effect). No vaccine-related severe adverse events and no potential immune-mediated diseases (pIMDs) were reported.
    A letter in The Lancet, meanwhile, notes that although the the vaccine has shown only partial efficacy, in areas with high disease burden, it "could potentially result in substantial public health benefits and could help protect children when they are most vulnerable to malaria and its serious consequences."
    The world's first malaria vaccine program was launched in Malawi in April.
    Jul 9 Lancet Infect Dis abstract
    Jul 9 Lancet Infect Dis commentary introduction
    Jul 9 Lancet letter
    Apr 23 CIDRAP News article on vaccine program launch

    DoD awards contract for smallpox postexposure prophylaxis

    SIGA Technologies, maker of TPOXX (tecovirimat), a novel small-molecule drug approved last year by the US Food and Drug Administration for treating smallpox, has been awarded a multiyear contract of up to $19.5 million by the Department of Defense to do work potentially leading to the drug's approval for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) as well.
    Smallpox, while eradicated, remains a bioterrorism threat, because stockpiles of the virus still exist. According to the company's press release, "TPOXX for PEP could provide significant potential benefit in the event of a smallpox outbreak."
    Smallpox vaccine would be useful to contain disease spread in an outbreak or bioterror attack but is effective only if administered before or within 4 days after exposure. Smallpox symptoms do not typically appear until about 14 days after exposure, and diagnosis presently is not possible until symptoms appear.
    "Given the uncertainty of an individual's infection status in that two-week period, and the highly contagious nature of smallpox, the administration of vaccine in combination with TPOXX could potentially be an important strategy for reducing morbidity and mortality in a smallpox outbreak," says the release.
    Jul 8 SIGA press release
    Jul 13, 2018, CIDRAP News scan on TPOXX approval as smallpox therapy

    CEPI funds new Rift Valley fever vaccine candidate

    CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, has granted a consortium led by Wageningen Bioveterinary Research up to $12.5 million to support phase 1 trails of the group's single-dose vaccine candidate (RVFV-4s) against Rift Valley fever (RVF).
    "This emerging virus has shown its ability to expand its habitat and cause public health emergencies. We can and must develop a safe and effective human vaccine against this deadly virus to protect those people who are most at-risk and to improve global epidemic preparedness. We hope to achieve this goal through our partnership with Wageningen Bioveterinary Research," said Richard Hatchett, MD, the CEO of CEPI, in a press release today.
    RVF is mostly found in livestock throughout Africa and on the Arabian peninsula. RVF vaccines have already been used successfully to protect animals, but none have been tested in humans.
    Most humans contract the virus from the blood or organs of infected animals, but the possibility that human-to-human transmission could be established through the Aedes aegypti mosquito has led CEPI and the World Health Organization to designate RVF a priority pathogen.
    Though rare, RVF has as high as a 50% case-fatality rate in humans once it reaches the hemorrhagic stage, CEPI said.
    Jul 10 CEPI press release

    Study: Flu fact sheet leads to more pediatric influenza vaccinations

    A randomized control trial conducted in Manhattan pediatric offices shows that providing parents with a simple influenza fact sheet during regular office visits led to higher rates of seasonal flu vaccinations. The study was published today in Pediatrics.
    "We found that a low-cost handout that can be easily implemented in any pediatrics practice had a significant and meaningful impact on influenza vaccination in children," said Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, associate professor at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and senior author on the paper, in a press release.
    The intervention could be a way to combat rising rates of vaccine hesitancy among American parents, the authors said.
    The study was conducted at two pediatric clinics in New York City in 2016 and 2017, where 400 parent-child pairs were given regular care or provided handouts on influenza in the waiting room.
    "Parents who received an intervention (versus usual care) had greater odds of child influenza vaccine receipt by the end of the season (74.9% vs 65.4%; adjusted odds ratio 1.68; 95% confidence interval: 1.06–2.67)," the authors wrote.
    Jul 10 Pediatrics study
    Jul 10 Columbia University press release