Monday November 20, 2017

Measles haunts the unvaccinated: Number of infected reaches 114 in the U.S.

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Vaccination in the US

The U.S. is the only western country to have reported high number of cases of Measles

by Smita Anand

As it seems to be the beginning of a major measles outbreak, the toll of infected children is climbing up. Since a large part of the population in the U.S. shrugged off vaccination as a significant preventive measure against fatal diseases, the likelihood of an epidemic cannot be denied. So far, most of the cases of infections are linked with the unvaccinated children and as the percentage of overall vaccination decreases further the risks would be widespread.

Vaccination in the US

Immunization against many diseases is what the world needs and vaccination is one of the vital methodologies toward achieving this. The whole idea of getting vaccinated filled the people with some dread at first during the 1950s, which stabilized later over the time with positive results and drastic fall in fatal diseases observed globally. But as it seems the fear bounced back again haunting the people in the U.S. with random negative theories connected to vaccination.

A collision between politics and medicine has stirred the anti-vaccination movement in the recent years where personal belief has triumphed over science. People argue that they should be given a choice to be vaccinated or else they would stay away from it. As fingers were pointed without any scientific and logical basis, it raised many concerns and the trust in the vaccinations faded away substantially.

With recent reports of measles breakdown in Disneyland and more than 114 affected with the contagious disease, the skepticism over vaccination seems to be starting to wane off. The people who kept themselves away from vaccination, now feel a growing compulsion to go for it.

The anti-vaccination phase drew in a lot of mistrust and created a huge shield of misinformation delivered to people through means of irrational propaganda. During this phase people believed nothing but linking of vaccine to autism and other long-term behavioral diseases, turning a small worry into a bigger concern and cause due to some maleficent reports published in a medical journal based out the UK.

Though a lot of doubts are being raised towards these time-proven preventive medicines and their manufacturers, the question is how could be the other means to prevent diseases then? The answer has many varied theories and explanations but so far the vaccines seem to be the only effective measure.

The only country that now has measles outbreak in the Western Hemisphere is the U.S.; this is not a blunt statement but a truth as quoted by the National Geographic News.

The current public health crisis that the U.S. is going through is the result of its own ignorance and making vaccines look like a medication of mutation. The result: sick people with whooping cough and fever, and tensed family and health department. The dreaded, contagious Measles is back again to haunt.

Why wait for an outbreak and search for a remedy when it is already there to prevent it beforehand. The dilemma about vaccines is to overturn the previous negative ideologies. Waiting for epidemics like Measles and Whooping Cough to return and remind the people of the importance of vaccines would be a damaging and life-threatening risk.

Last, but not the least, the debates about vaccinations are not questions raised against science but delivered information. The pharmaceutical companies need to be transparent; the government needs to be transparent, and they both need to encourage the efforts of science to safeguard the people against deadly diseases sooner than later.

Image Credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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India Major Contributor for 16 Million Fatal Lung Infection in 2015: Indian Origin Researcher

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Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) i
Over 16 Million Fatal Lung Infection called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in 2015. VOA
  • RSV is a common and highly contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract
  • The study, reported in the journal Lancet, noted that there are more than 33 million cases of RSV infection in children under five each year worldwide
  • The findings highlight the pressing need for affordable treatments and vaccines as a priority to combat the virus

London, July 8, 2017: India, along with China, Nigeria, Pakistan and Indonesia, accounted for over 16 million or half of the global estimated cases of a fatal lung infection called Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in 2015, research led by an Indian-origin person have revealed.

RSV is a common and highly contagious virus that infects the respiratory tract, causing breathing difficulties and wheezing in most children before their second birthday.

The study, reported in the journal Lancet, noted that there are more than 33 million cases of RSV infection in children under five each year worldwide.

“We are at an opportune time to step up efforts to prevent RSV infection in young children. With more than 60 candidate vaccines in clinical development, it is likely that an RSV vaccine will be available in the next 5-7 years,” said lead researcher Harish Nair, Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

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While around three million are admitted to hospital each year with the virus, more than 115,000 children under five are dying each year from complications associated with the infection.

Almost half of those who die in hospital are younger than six months old and more than 99 per cent of deaths occur in developing countries. Half of the RSV deaths in these countries occur outside the hospital, the study reported.

ALSO READ: “Dual-Disease Burden”? India’s Great Healthcare Challenge and Opportunity 

The findings highlight the pressing need for affordable treatments and vaccines as a priority to combat the virus.

For most babies and young children, RSV causes nothing more than symptoms of a cold but in some cases, however, it can lead to severe lung complications such as pneumonia or bronchiolitis.

“Our findings will provide better evidence to inform global funding priorities to accelerate vaccine development. It will assist policy makers and experts prepare for early introduction of this vaccine in developing countries,” Nair added.

For the study, the team analysed data from 329 studies of RSV infections worldwide. (IANS)

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New HIV vaccine candidate may generate immune response: Study

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Washington: An experimental vaccine candidate may have the potential to stimulate the immune system to block HIV infection, according to new research.Symptoms_of_acute_HIV_infection

The findings may represent a leap forward in the effort to develop a vaccine against HIV, which has so far struggled to elicit antibodies that can effectively fight off different strains of the virus, according to three papers published on Thursday in the US journals Cell and Science.

“The results are pretty spectacular,” said Dennis Burton of the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), who led one of the studies, Xinhua reported.

Currently, many vaccines use a dead or inactive version of the disease-causing microbe itself to trigger antibody production, but immunisations with “native” HIV proteins are ineffective in triggering an effective immune response, due to HIV’s ability to evade detection from the immune system and mutate rapidly into new strains.

This challenge has led many researchers to believe that a successful AIDS vaccine will need to consist of a series of related but slightly different proteins called immunogens (substances that induce a specific immune response) to train the body to produce broadly neutralising antibodies, a special class of immune system molecules that can bind to and neutralise a wide range of globally occurring HIV variants.

In the new studies, the researchers tested one of these potential proteins, an immunogen called eOD-GT8 60mer, which would bind to and activate B cells needed to fight HIV.

vaccine.jpeg.size.xxlarge.letterboxUsing a technique called B cell sorting, the researchers showed that immunisation with eOD-GT8 60mer caused two different mouse models to produce antibody “precursors”, which have some of the traits necessary to recognise and block HIV infection.

This suggested that eOD-GT8 60mer could be a good candidate to serve as the first in a series of immunisations against HIV, the researchers said.

The US National Institutes of Health has funded the research. (IANS)