Scientists from the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) have discovered that an antigen common to most influenza viruses, and commonly referred to as matrix protein 2 (M2), when administered under the tongue could protect mice against experimental infection caused by various influenza viruses, including the highly pathogenic avian H5 virus and the pandemic H1 (" swine flu ") virus. Importantly, this experimental sublingual vaccine was found to induce immunity in the lungs whereas the same vaccine administered by injection failed to do so and conferred only limited protection against experimental infection. The study, spearheaded by IVI scientist Dr. Man-ki Song and Dr. Haryoung Poo from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB), was reported in the November 30th issue of the journal PLoS ONE (read the report).
A California hospital raised its employee influenza vaccination rate above 90 percent by shifting from a voluntary vaccination program to one mandating all healthcare workers either get vaccinated or wear a mask at work for the entire flu season (December through March). A five-year study of evolving flu vaccination programs at University of California Irvine Medical Center is published in the January 2012 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America. The results, the authors say, suggest voluntary programs are not enough to get meaningful increases in flu vaccination rates for healthcare workers. The systematic effort by University of California Irvine Healthcare to raise vaccination rates among its 6, 500 employees began in 2006.
Statins, traditionally known as cholesterol-lowering drugs, may reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza, according to a new study released online by The Journal of Infectious Diseases. It is the first published observational study to evaluate the relationship between statin use and mortality in hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza virus infection, according to Vanderbilt's William Schaffner, M.D., professor and chair of Preventive Medicine. "We may be able to combine statins with antiviral drugs to provide better treatment for patients seriously ill with influenza, " said Schaffner, who co-authored the study led by Meredith Vandermeer, MPH, of the Oregon Public Health Division. Researchers studied adults who were hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza from 2007-2008 to evaluate the association between patients who were prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths.
The two main ways to prevent and control influenza today are annual immunization and antiviral drugs. A team of investigators has found that statins, cholesterol-lowering drugs, may offer an additional treatment to complement these approaches and reduce mortality among patients hospitalized with influenza. The findings are published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases and are now available online. In an observational study led by Meredith L. Vandermeer, MPH, then with the Oregon Public Health Division in Portland, researchers used data for hospitalized adults during the 2007-2008 influenza season to evaluate the association between patients prescribed statins and influenza-related deaths. The data were drawn from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Infections Program, which conducts active surveillance for patients hospitalized with confirmed influenza in 59 counties in 10 states.
Life-threatening viruses such as HIV, SARS, hepatitis and influenza, could soon be combatted in an unusual manner as researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of plasma for inactivating and preventing the replication of adenoviruses. When exposed to plasma - the fourth state of matter in addition to solids, liquids and gases - for a period of just 240 seconds, it was found that only one in a million viruses could still replicate - practically all were inactivated. The study, published in IOP Publishing's Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, is one of the first to concentrate specifically on viruses and builds on research that has already shown the usefulness of plasma in eradicating bacteria from skin ( http://www.iop.org/news/09/november/page_42357.html ) and sterilising water ( http://www.