Vaccine News

Vaccine news brought to you by Precision Vaccinations.

Apr 14, 2024 • 8:43 am CDT
GPEI polio case map April 2024

According to the latest weekly update by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Afghanistan reported its second wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case of 2024.

This polio patient is from Nuristan province in the eastern part of the country.

Five WPV1-positive environmental samples were reported: four in Nangarhar and one in Kandahar.

As of April 14, 2024, Afghanistan is one of the two countries in the Middle East where WPV1 is still endemic.

The total number of WPV1 cases reported in 2023 remains six.

During 2024, various countries deployed the type 2 novel oral polio (nOPV2) vaccine produced by Indonesia's Biofarma.

This oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been 'triple-locked' using genetic engineering to prevent it from becoming harmful and producing a gut reaction. As a result, nOPV2 is reported to be more genetically stable than approved OPVs, with a lower risk of reversion to neurovirulence and less likely to mutate and cause paralysis.

Over the past two years, about 1.1. billion nOPV2 vaccines have been administrated worldwide. The GPEI says international travelers should speak with a healthcare provider about their polio vaccine options, including booster doses.

The inactivated polio vaccine is offered in the United States at various clinics and pharmacies.

Apr 14, 2024 • 8:13 am CDT
US CDC Yellow Book 2024 African Meningitis Belt map

Nigeria has made history by becoming the first country to introduce a new vaccine called Men5CV, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended.

On April 12, 2024, the WHO confirmed Men5CV is effective against five strains of the meningococcus bacteria, and it is being used to protect people in Nigeria.

Nigeria is one of Africa's 26 meningitis hyper-endemic countries, situated in the area known as the African Meningitis Belt. Last year, there was a 50% jump in annual meningitis cases reported across Africa.

In Nigeria, a recent outbreak of Neisseria meningitidis (meningococcus) serogroup C outbreak led to 1,742 suspected meningitis cases, including 101 confirmed cases and 153 deaths in seven of 36 Nigerian states.

"Meningitis is an old and deadly foe, but this new vaccine holds the potential to change the trajectory of the disease, preventing future outbreaks and saving many lives," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press release.

"Nigeria's rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030."

Meningitis is a severe infection that leads to the inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding and protecting the brain and spinal cord. The WHO says there are multiple causes of meningitis, including viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic pathogens.

Bacterial meningitis is the most serious, can also result in septicemia, and can seriously disable or kill within 24 hours those that contract it. 

In a single shot, the new vaccine offers a powerful shield against the five major strains of the meningococcal bacteria (A, C, W, Y, and X).

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is funding the vaccine and emergency vaccination activities. The alliance supports lower-income countries with routine vaccination against meningitis and also funds the global meningitis vaccine stockpile.

Apr 14, 2024 • 7:52 am CDT
Walgreens Flu Index map April 6, 2024

Nationally, weekly flu hospital admissions have been decreasing since January 2024, but small outbreaks continued to be reported in April 2024.

On April 12, 2024, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported outpatient respiratory illness declined and is below baseline for the first time since late October 2023, while HHS regions 1, 5, and 7 remain above their region-specific baselines.

From a local perspective, the Walgreens Flu Index™ - Week Ending April 6, 2024, identified these ten Designated Market Areas with Flu Activity:

  1. Omaha, Neb.
  2. Lincoln & Hastings-Kearney, Neb.
  3. El Paso, Texas (Las Cruces, N.M.)
  4. Davenport, Iowa-Rock Island-Moline, Ill.
  5. Lansing, Mich.
  6. Oklahoma City, Okla.
  7. Columbus-Tupelo-West Point-Houston, Miss.
  8. Ft. Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.
  9. Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas
  10. Knoxville, Tenn.

The CDC's Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report also confirmed that five influenza-associated pediatric deaths occurring during the 2023-2024 season were reported to the CDC during Week 14, bringing the season total to 138 pediatric deaths.

Furthermore, the CDC recommends people speak with a healthcare provider about late-season flu shot options. Various egg, cell, and nasal-based influenza vaccines remain available at community pharmacies in the U.S.

Note: The Walgreens Flu Index displays information regarding flu activity compiled using retail prescription data for antiviral medications used to treat influenza.

Apr 12, 2024 • 12:02 pm CDT
by Gerd Altmann

It has become clear that Brazil is currently facing its largest dengue fever outbreak. While two dengue vaccines have been approved for use in the country, each one has its own set of issues.

As of April 12, 2024, vaccine producers are focused on protecting more Brazilians against the virus over the next year.

Sanofi Pasteur's Dengvaxia vaccine is meant for individuals aged 9-45 who already have dengue. It requires three doses and pre-administration testing.

On the other hand, Takeda's second-generation QDENGA® (TAK-003) two-dose vaccine is also approved for use, but it has already sold out its production for 2024. 

As of January 2024, the Ministry of Health forecasted that 5.2 million doses will be delivered in 2024. Unfortunately, that amount will leave millions of people unprotected this year.

Furthermore, an article published by The New England Journal of Medicine in January 2024 stated that the Butantan-DV single-dose vaccine candidate offers protection against all four dengue virus serotypes without regard to dengue baseline serostatus and across a wide age range.

In addition to the logistical and economic benefits, Butantan-DV rapid protection may be necessary if Brazil's dengue outbreak accelerates.

The development of this novel tetravalent dengue vaccine began at Butantan Institute in 2010, using a formulation created by researchers affiliated with the U.S. NIH.

Based on recent phase 3 clinical trial results, Butantan Institute plans to submit a report to ANVISA in 2024, applying for the vaccine's registration. 

"The cost of dengue in Brazil is absurd," virologist Maurício Lacerda Nogueira said in a press release in February 2024.

"The (Butantan-DV) vaccine is expected to reduce mortality and hospitalizations due to the disease, so the Brazilian government's investment of several hundred million reais in developing an indigenous vaccine will have a huge impact on public health."

Apr 12, 2024 • 8:05 am CDT
Costa Rica Health Alert April 2024

Costa Rica's Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social have begun investigating a potential outbreak of Bordetella pertussis (whooping cough) in the district of Tibas, located north of San Jose.

This is the same area in Costa Rica where the MOH has reported chikungunya, dengue, malaria, and Zika cases in 2024.

As of April 11, 2024, given the contagious nature of whooping cough and its severity in children and unvaccinated populations, the U.S. Embassy urges heightened awareness and vaccination verification for U.S. citizens in Costa Rica.

Before visiting Costa Rica in April 2024, the U.S. CDC advises international travelers to speak with a travel vaccine expert regarding their options one month ahead of departure.

In the Boston, Massachusetts, area, travel vaccination services are offered at Destination Health Travel Clinic.

Apr 11, 2024 • 2:47 pm CDT
PAHO dengue trend chart April 2024

According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Situation Report No. 12, the dengue fever outbreak in 2024 is setting unfortunate records. 

Twenty-two countries and territories in the Region of the Americas reported the circulation of dengue serotypes. Brazil, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Panama report the simultaneous circulation of all four dengue subtypes.

Between epidemiological weeks 1 and 11 of 2024, 3,665,589 suspected cases of dengue were reported in the Americas.

This figure represents an increase of 286% compared to the same period in 2023.

In the Southern Cone subregion. 410,296 new suspected dengue cases were reported last week, representing an increase of 342% compared to the same week in 2023.

While Brazil has reported the most dengue cases, Argentina presented a 67% increase in cases compared to the four previous epidemiological weeks.

The Caribbean is also reporting a significant increase in dengue cases this year.

As of April 11, 2024, there is good news regarding dengue protection. Both approved dengue vaccines are available in the Americas.

The second-generation dengue vaccine QDENGA® is available in Argentina, Brazil, and other countries, but not the United States.

Apr 11, 2024 • 1:03 pm CDT
by Nitish Patel

The latest report on measles cases in England shows a steady increase in numbers and a shift in geographical distribution.

According to the April 11, 2024 update from the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), 89 laboratory-confirmed cases have occurred in the past week, bringing the total number of confirmed cases since October 2023 to 1,023.

While the outbreak in the West Midlands initially caused the surge in measles cases, the latest data reveals that London now has the highest number of newly confirmed cases.

There have been 195 measles cases in the last month, 35% of which (69 cases) were reported in London and 32% (62 cases) in the West Midlands.

In a press release, Dr. Rob Verrecchia, UKHSA Health Protection Consultant, said, "We are continuing to see measles cases right across the country, with cases particularly high in London and the West Midlands."

"Measles is completely preventable with vaccination, but many thousands of children around the country are still not fully vaccinated and are at risk of serious illness or life-long complications."

England is not alone in the measles outbreak of 2024. 

The U.S. CDC has identified measles outbreaks in 49 countries over the past year.

Additionally, the CDC recommends international travelers be fully immunized against measles. In the U.S., measles vaccines are available in clinics and community pharmacies in 2024. 

Apr 11, 2024 • 9:38 am CDT
US CDC yellow fever case map April 2024

Recent reports indicate that the yellow fever (YF) virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, will continue to have a severe impact on human health in 2024.

According to the U.K.'s Travel Health Pro reporting on April 4, 2024, in South America, there have been seven confirmed cases of YF, out of which four have been fatal, including three in Colombia and two in Guyana and Peru, respectively.

In Brazil, six cases of yellow fever, including four deaths, have been confirmed this year in Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, and São Paulo.

While vaccination for YF is one of the most successful public health interventions to prevent the disease, most international travelers remain unprotected.

Public health leaders in the United Kingdom, the United States, and the World Health Organization recommend pre-trip yellow fever vaccination for all travelers aged nine months and above who are visiting areas with a risk of yellow fever unless the vaccine is not advised for medical reasons.

In 2017, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its yellow fever vaccine recommendations for travelers to Brazil because of a large outbreak in multiple states.

As of April 11, 2024, the YF-VAX® vaccine is offered at certified clinics and pharmacies in the U.S. Internationally, the Stamaril vaccine is offered in various countries.

These vaccine providers also offer travel-related vaccination services for diseases such as dengue, influenza, measles, and polio.

Apr 10, 2024 • 11:59 am CDT
by Nicholas_Demetriades

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued Disease Outbreak News (DON513) after confirming Timor-Leste's first fatal human case of rabies by its Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture, Fishery and Forestry.

As of late March 2024, 29 suspected rabies cases in humans exposed to dogs had been reported in Oecusse Municipality this year.

The public health response is ongoing and includes dog vaccination and ensuring the availability of rabies vaccines and human rabies immunoglobulin. 

As of April 10, 2024, the available information suggests a high risk of rabies at the national level, whereas the risk at regional and global levels is low, according to the WHO's assessment.

The WHO noted that Oecusse is an enclave of Timor-Leste located within Indonesia East Nusa Tenggara province (NTT), where six human rabies deaths have been recorded.

In 2023, a total of 30 human rabies deaths were reported from NTT province.

Rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease affecting the central nervous system. The WHO procured 1,000 doses of human rabies vaccines and distributed them to Timor-Leste hospitals and health clinics.

In the United States, various rabies vaccines have been approved. 

Furthermore, a rabies vaccine candidate (PIKA Rabies Vaccine) reported very positive results from a phase 3 clinical study.

 

Apr 10, 2024 • 8:54 am CDT
US CDC measles outbreaks 2024

As the world battles the resurgence of measles outbreaks, most vaccination campaigns are reactive.

According to an announcement by Ginkgo Bioworks, an AI-enabled measles forecasting model may soon empower proactive public health measures, such as immunization campaigns.

Announced today, Ginkgo's epidemiological modeling experts and Northeastern University researchers were awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a forecasting model to assess the risk of measles outbreaks and inform decision-making for timely interventions.

This innovative model will draw upon traditional and non-traditional data, including public health reports, travel patterns, economic activity, and other factors, and utilize AI approaches such as machine learning and deep learning to structure and analyze a multitude of data sources to produce actionable insights.

Matt McKnight, General Manager for Biosecurity at Ginkgo Bioworks, commented in a press release on April 10, 2024, "If we wait until large pockets of measles show up in hospital systems to launch public health responses, we are missing a critical window to act and slow the spread of this debilitating and highly contagious disease."

"Modern data and AI tools can shift the biosecurity and public health paradigm from reactive to proactive by helping global health leaders make more timely, effective decisions to prevent outbreaks from happening in the first place."

Measles is a highly contagious and often severe disease that most commonly affects children. While the widespread availability of measles vaccines has dramatically reduced the disease burden over the past several decades, cases are on the rise in the U.S. in 2024.

The majority of measles cases imported into the United States occur in unvaccinated residents who become infected during international travel, says the U.S. CDC.

For example, a substantive, ongoing measles outbreak has occurred in Chicago, Illinois, over the past two months.

Apr 10, 2024 • 8:26 am CDT
from Pixabay

A next-generation rabies vaccine candidate could soon replace current options. Despite being a vaccine-preventable disease, rabies persists in over 150 countries and territories.

YS Biopharma Co., Ltd. today announced positive interim results from the ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial of its PIKA Rabies Vaccine.

The study's interim results indicate that the PIKA Rabies Vaccine has successfully met the primary endpoints of the Trial and has the potential to achieve best-in-class accelerated protection and meet the goal of a one-week rabies vaccine regimen to replace the conventional three- or four-week regimens.

The PIKA Rabies Vaccine utilizes YS Biopharma's proprietary PIKA adjuvant technology and is designed to produce a more robust immune response in an accelerated timespan than existing rabies vaccines.

The PIKA Rabies Vaccine was granted U.S. FDA orphan drug designation for prevention of rabies virus infection, including post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies.

Dr. David Shao, CEO of YS Biopharma, stated in a press release on April 9, 2024, "We remain committed to working closely with drug regulatory agencies in various countries, including the Philippines, Pakistan, Singapore, China, and other jurisdictions regarding the product registration and marketing application."

"We eagerly anticipate the early approval of this innovative therapy for the benefit of patients worldwide."

According to the World Health Organization, two types of vaccines protect people against rabies: nerve tissue and cell culture vaccines.

In the United States, rabies vaccines have been U.S. FDA-approved.

Bats are one of the most commonly reported rabid animals in the U.S. and are the leading cause of rabies deaths in people, says the U.S. CDC.

About 5,000 animal rabies cases are reported annually. Human rabies cases in the U.S. are rare, with only 1 to 3 cases reported annually.

Rabid bats have been found in all 49 continental states. Only Hawaii is rabies-free.

Worldwide, infected dogs cause approximately 59,000 rabies deaths.

Apr 10, 2024 • 6:13 am CDT
US CDC 2024

Transgene and NEC Corporation today announced that new data will be presented on TG4050, an individualized neoantigen cancer vaccine, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting.

TG4050 is being evaluated in a randomized multicenter Phase I/II trial as a single agent in the adjuvant treatment of HPV-negative head and neck cancers. 

Key findings of the poster presentation obtained in the Phase I part of the trial (NCT04183166) include, but are not limited to, the following:

All 16 patients who received TG4050 are disease-free after a median 18.6-month follow-up. Out of the 16 patients in the control observation arm, three patients have relapsed. For this head and neck cancer patient population and with the current standard of care (chemoradiotherapy), approximately 40% of patients are expected to relapse within 24 months following surgery and adjuvant therapy. Also, the tumor immune contexture, expression of immune factors, mutational burden, and tumor infiltrates are associated with challenging prognoses.

Specific cellular immune responses were detected in the 16/17 patients who received TG4050 (16 patients from the treatment arm and one from the observation arm treated after relapse) using stringent testing conditions.

TG4050 induced persistent immune responses against multiple targets in several patients. T-cell responses were maintained beyond 211 days (7 months) after the initiation of the treatment. 

Dr Oliver Lantz, Head of the clinical immunology laboratory at Institut Curie, commented in the April 9, 2024, press release, "The immunological data generated by TG4050 demonstrate a robust and specific cellular immune response, even under stringent measurement criteria."

"The diversity, depth, and duration of these responses were most certainly a key factor in preventing relapse in the patients treated with TG4050."

According to statements, Transgene and NEC are preparing a randomized Phase II extension of this trial, slated to start in the second quarter of 2024.

The U.S. CDC says cancers of the head and neck include cancers that start in several places in the head and throat. Cancer is a disease in which cells of the body grow out of control.

About 70% of cancers in the oropharynx (which includes the tonsils, soft palate, and base of the tongue) are linked to human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted virus, says the CDC.

Apr 9, 2024 • 2:48 pm CDT
by Brian Odwar

During the recent pandemic in the United States, leading public health officials noted a shift in the attitudes of pregnant and recently pregnant women towards vaccination.

As per an Original Investigation published by The JAMA OPEN Network today, during the first waves of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak, 76% of pregnant women received the COVID-19 vaccination.

Study participants were about 31 years of age and enrolled in the U.S. CDC's Vaccine Safety Datalink and were asked about their vaccination status. 

Response rates were 43.5% for wave 1 (652 of 1500 individuals sampled) and 39.5% for wave 2 (575 of 1456).

Overall, 76.8% (95% confidence interval, 71.5%- 82.2%) reported having received one or more COVID-19 vaccinations.

Spanish-speaking Hispanic respondents had the highest weighted proportion of respondents with one or more vaccinations.

Additionally, these women were asked if they agreed with the statement that 'COVID-19 vaccines are safe.'

These researchers wrote on April 9, 2024, that there is decreasing confidence in COVID-19 vaccine safety in diverse pregnant and recently pregnant insured populations, which is a public health concern.

This study was supported by the U.S. CDC, contract number 200-2012-53581-0011, and no industry conflicts of interest were highlighted.

Apr 9, 2024 • 7:44 am CDT
US CDC RSV hospitalization trends 2024

Pfizer Inc. today reported encouraging top-line data regarding the safety and immunogenicity of its ABRYSVO® vaccine from an ongoing Phase 3 clinical trial.

The study (NCT05842967) has been evaluating the effectiveness of a single dose of the vaccine compared to a placebo in adults between the ages of 18 and 59 who are at risk of developing severe lower respiratory tract disease associated with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

On April 8, 2024, Pfizer confirmed the MONeT study achieved its co-primary immunogenicity endpoints and primary safety endpoint:

  • Participants demonstrated RSV-A and RSV-B subgroup neutralizing responses non-inferior to the response seen in the Phase 3 RENOIR study of ABRYSVO in more than 34,000 adults aged 60 or older where vaccine efficacy was previously demonstrated.
  • Participants also achieved at least a four-fold increase in serum neutralizing titers for RSV-A and RSV-B one month after receiving ABRYSVO compared to pre-vaccination.
  • During the trial, ABRYSVO was well-tolerated, and safety findings were consistent with those from previous investigations of ABRYSVO in other populations.

Pfizer stated it intends to submit these data to regulatory agencies and request expansion of the age group from the current indication to 18 years of age and older.

This is an essential study since no RSV vaccines were approved for adults in this age group during the 2023-2024 RSV season.

“These encouraging results provide evidence that ABRYSVO can help protect adults with increased risk against RSV-associated illness,” said Annaliesa Anderson, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Head, Vaccine Research and Development, Pfizer, in a press release.

“We are excited to address a significant unmet need, pending regulatory authority approval, as ABRYSVO has the potential to become the first and only RSV vaccine for adults 18 years and older.”

As of April 5, 2024, RSV vaccines have been approved in Canada, Europe, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The U.S. CDC estimates the percentage of adults 60+ vaccinated this season was 23.6%. And RSVVaxView reported that the overall RSV vaccination rate among pregnant women was about 18%.

Apr 8, 2024 • 3:53 pm CDT
ECDC polio case map Feb. 2024

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on April 8, 2024, during the 38th meeting of the IHR Emergency Committee for Polio, that the spread of the poliovirus remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The WHO committee also recommended extending the PHEIC for three more months, effective March 28, 2024, to reduce poliovirus outbreaks.

Previously, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published an interactive map in February 2024 highlighting countries that continue confirming polio or poliovirus cases in 2024.

The ECDC says poliomyelitis, or polio, is a vaccine-preventable systemic viral infection. Historically, it has been a major cause of mortality, acute paralysis, and lifelong disabilities.

However, large-scale immunization programs have eliminated polio from most areas worldwide.

All health agencies recommend that international travelers be fully vaccinated before visiting countries report polio outbreaks. 

Both inactivated and oral polio vaccines are available at clinics and pharmacies globally.

Furthermore, the U.S. CDC maintained its Global Polio Alert—Level 2, Travel Health Notice, regarding polio outbreaks and poliovirus detections in 31 countries.