2013 has already seen some exciting developments in the world of vaccines. Here are 5 vaccine news stories of the first quarter of 2013 which I think were particularly big news.
Development of a synthetic foot-and-mouth vaccine
British researchers announced the development of a new method for engineering a synthetic foot-and-mouth vaccine which doesn't rely on using a live virus. The research breakthrough was made possible from the ability to visualise the FMD virus using high-intensity pinpoint light beams generated by the Diamond Light Synchrotron.
HPV uptake rates low
The completion rate for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine series was shown to have remained alarmingly low 7 years after its introduction in the US. More than 75% of nearly 2,000 women aged 18-26 in the US did not receive the HPV vaccine, 10% were incompletely vaccinated, and about two-thirds said they didn't want the vaccine. Alongside this, more than 2 in 5 parents in a survey believed the HPV vaccine was unnecessary.
The US flu season and the influenza vaccine
The 2012-2013 flu season in the United States seemed to be particularly bad for many regions across the country, and was widely touted as being one of the worst flu seasons in a decade. The news broke that the flu vaccine was "barely effective" for US senior citizens, with the CDC reporting the effectiveness of the flu vaccine to be just 9% in those aged 65 years and older. Future flu seasons could see less morbidity and mortality with the advent of quadrivalent influenza vaccines.
TB vaccine hopes dashed
It was the first major vaccine trial against TB in infants since 1921, when the Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine was introduced, but in February 2013 the latest and most advanced vaccine MVA85A failed to give the babies the required protection against TB. MVA85A was designed to boost the effect of the BCG vaccine, but the efficacy it added was statistically insignificant (See 3 recent vaccine trials with disappointing results). Read more.
Development of an injection-free vaccination technique
Scientists at King's College London demonstrated the ability to deliver a dried live vaccine to the skin without a traditional needle, and shown for the first time that this technique is powerful enough to enable specialised immune cells in the skin to kick-start the immunising properties of the vaccine. See the video.
What do you think? Are there any other major vaccine news stories which you would add?
You can join our discussion on LinkedIn or leave a comment below, I'd love to hear what you think.
If you're interested in hearing more about strategy and innovation in vaccines, you might like to consider attending the World Vaccine Congress and Expo 2013 on the 16-18 April 2013, Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center, Washington DC. You can download the brochure here.