Vaccine News

Vaccine news brought to you by Precision Vaccinations.

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.

Apr 8, 2024 • 6:00 am CDT
from Pixabay

Clover Biopharmaceuticals, Ltd. today announced positive preliminary immunogenicity and safety data in the initial young adult cohort from its Phase I trial evaluating SCB-1019, a bivalent RSV prefusion-stabilized F (PreF)-Trimer subunit vaccine candidate.

Clover's preliminary immunogenicity data across RSV-A and RSV-B neutralization appear to be in line or potentially favorable compared to other protein subunit RSV PreF vaccines.

These data support Clover's bivalent RSV-A/B approach, given that other monovalent RSV-A vaccines have previously observed lower immune responses and/or efficacy against RSV-B.

The results also confirm that Clover's PreF antigens in SCB-1019 are in the stabilized prefusion and trimeric form, further supported by exploratory immunogenicity results demonstrating significant increases in Site Ø neutralizing antibody-competitive titers.

Additionally, the SCB-1019 vaccination did not observe any notable safety or reactogenicity issues in this initial young adult cohort, enabling the planned enrollment of older adults to proceed in the Phase I clinical trial.

"We are encouraged by the progress and positive preliminary Phase I results for our bivalent RSV PreF vaccine candidate utilizing our validated Trimer-Tag platform, demonstrating broad and significant neutralizing antibody responses against both RSV-A and RSV-B," said Joshua Liang, Chief Executive Officer & Board Director of Clover, in a press release on April 8, 2024.

"As the first RSV PreF vaccine candidate developed in China to enter the clinical trial stage and now the first to generate clinical data, we look forward to the additional Phase I clinical data in our initial target older adult population in the second half of 2024 as planned."

As of April 2024, first-generation RSV vaccines have been approved in Canada, Europe, Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The U.S. CDC estimated the percentage of adults 60+ was 23.6% (22.8-24.5). 

Apr 8, 2024 • 5:43 am CDT
Cancer,gov 2024

 BioNTech SE today announced three-year follow-up data from a Phase 1 trial with the mRNA-based individualized neoantigen-specific immunotherapy ("iNeST") candidate autogene cevumeran (BNT122, RO7198457) in patients with resected pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma ("PDAC").

The data show that in 8 out of 16 patients, autogene cevumeran elicited an immune response up to three years post-administration measured by activated T cells.

The persistence of T cells was associated with a longer median recurrence-free survival in cancer vaccine responders.

"These new data are an early signal for the potential of our individualized mRNA cancer vaccine approach in this indication with an unmet medical need. The results indicate that our uridine mRNA-LPX technology can promote activation of cytotoxic T cells that may help to eliminate residual tumor foci at early stages of the disease to delay or prevent recurrence," said Prof. Özlem Türeci, M.D., Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer at BioNTech, in a press release on April 7, 2024.

"Our ongoing Phase 2 trial with Genentech aims to confirm these findings on the benefits for patients with PDAC compared with the current standard of care treatment in the post-surgical, adjuvant setting in a larger patient population."

"We remain committed to our vision of personalized cancer medicine and aim to help advance the standard of care for many patients."

The study results were featured in an oral presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2024. Data from the 1.5-year median follow-up were published in Nature in May 2023

Apr 6, 2024 • 5:44 pm CDT
US CDC travel Advisory April 5, 2024

A multi-month chikungunya virus outbreak continues impacting the residents of Timor-Leste (East Timor). As of late March 2024, 195 chikungunya cases have been reported in Timor-Leste.

The U.S. CDC reissued a Level 2 - Practice Enhanced Precautions Travel Health Advisory on April 5, 2024, to alert international travelers. Data sources indicate tourist arrivals in East Timor increased to 3,718 in the first quarter of 2022.

Additionally, neighboring countries, such as Thailand (139), Pakistan (26), and Malaysia (6), reported chikungunya cases in 2024.

The Chikungunya virus causes this mosquito-transmitted disease. Most people infected develop some symptoms, but related fatalities are rare.

However, people at risk for more severe disease include newborns infected around the time of birth, older adults, and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease.

According to the CDC, if you are a pregnant woman, reconsider traveling to Timor-Leste.

There is no specific treatment for chikungunya, but the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends the newly approved IXCHIQ® chikungunya vaccine for some travelers.

Jeri Beales, MSN RN with Destination Health Travel Clinic near Boston, MA, offered these comments, "With the CDC's new guidance for the IXCHIQ vaccine, all adults traveling to Timor-Leste should consider vaccination because infection with the virus has been linked to prolonged and severe fatigue and joint pain which can last months or years."

 

"The immunization experts at the CDC also recommend the IXCHIQ vaccine for some travelers going to countries that have reported cases in the previous five years."

 

"Travelers staying six months or longer are at the highest risk for infection, but vaccination can also be considered for those 65 years and older because they are more likely to have severe complications with an infection. If you plan to travel this summer, talk to your doctor or local travel health clinic to see if the IXCHIQ vaccine is recommended."

 

"Countries with outbreaks in the past five years span the globe, including regions of Central and South America, Africa, and Asia.  

Timor-Leste is also experiencing dengue outbreaks and a resurgence of the Zika virus in the Ermera municipality in 2024.

As of late February 2024, local media reported 27 Zika cases and 460 dengue cases.

Apr 6, 2024 • 11:14 am CDT
from Pixabay

For the past few years, the question has been whether nirmatrelvir–ritonavir (Paxlovid™) conferred measurable benefits to persons who had been vaccinated or who did not have risk factors for severe COVID-19.

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published results from a phase 2/3 clinical study sponsored by Pfizer Inc. that concluded that the time to sustained alleviation of all signs and symptoms of COVID-19 did not differ significantly between participants who received nirmatrelvir–ritonavir and those who received placebo.

The median time to sustained alleviation of all targeted signs and symptoms of COVID-19 was 12 days in the nirmatrelvir–ritonavir group and 13 days in the placebo group (P=0.60).

The median age of study participants was 42 years, with very few seniors involved.

On April 3, 2024, a related editorial written by Rajesh T. Gandhi, MD, and Martin Hirsch, MD, stated, 'Clearly, the benefit (from Paxlovid) observed among unvaccinated high-risk persons does not extend to those at lower risk for severe COVID-19.'

'This result supports guidelines recommending nirmatrelvir–ritonavir only for persons at high risk for disease progression.'

'The ongoing clinical burden of COVID-19 necessitates the availability of effective, easily accessible oral treatments that can shorten the time to resolution of symptoms and reduce the risk of severe COVID-19.'

Apr 6, 2024 • 10:31 am CDT
from Pixabay

According to recent media reports, global private equity firms are reportedly preparing bids of about $1 billion for Bharat Serums and Vaccines (BSV).

On April 6, 2024, Manufacturing Today India reported that US-based Advent International acquired BSV in 2019 and is looking to sell the company.

Mumbai-based BSV is best known for its specialized products in women’s health, critical care, IUI-IVF, hormones, antibodies, and fungal infections. In FY 2023, its revenues were Rs 1,435 crore. 

Apr 6, 2024 • 8:32 am CDT
US CDC historic polio case detection India map

Sanofi Healthcare India Pvt Ltd (SHIPL) has recently received approval from authorities to distribute the IMOVAX-Polio vaccine, aiming to avoid any polio vaccine supply constraints in India.

The Hindu confirmed on April 5, 2024, that the IMOVAX-Polio vaccine will replace the discontinued trivalent Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) ShanIP, which was launched in India in 2015.

Sanofi had previously announced that ShanIPV would discontinue in December 2023.

Access to polio vaccines is essential, as the U.S. CDC confirmed in 2024 that there have been outbreaks and poliovirus detections in 31 countries.

To help reduce the further spreading of polio, over one billion oral vaccine (nOPV2) doses have been administered in more than 35 countries. However, the nOPV2 vaccine is not available in the U.S. in 2024.

In the United States, IPV vaccines have been offered at clinics and pharmacies since 2000.

Furthermore, for certain people, the CDC recommends polio booster shots.

From a polio outbreak update, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative confirmed this week Afghanistan reported its first wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) case of 2024. Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the countries where WPV1 is endemic.

As of April 3, 2024, Pakistan had reported two WPV1 cases earlier this year.

Apr 5, 2024 • 3:45 pm CDT
US CDC measles case map April 4, 2024

The U.S. government confirmed today that the ongoing measles outbreak in the United States is rapidly increasing.

As of April 5, 2024, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 113 measles cases had been confirmed by 18 jurisdictions: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, New York State, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

Seven outbreaks (defined as three or more related cases) were reported in 2024, and 73% are outbreak-associated.

For example, in Illinois, Chicago has reported about 58 measles cases over the past weeks.

About 58% of measles cases require hospitalization.

For comparison, in 2023, 58 measles cases were reported by 20 jurisdictions, with four outbreaks.

Internationally, the CDC listed the top ten international measles outbreaks as of March 12, 2024, led by Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Yemen, and India.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom's multi-month measles outbreak is accelerating in April 2024.

And to alert international travelers, the U.S. CDC republished a Travel Health Notice in late March 2024, identifying measles outbreaks in 49 countries.

The CDC says measles is a vaccine-preventable disease.

Various measles vaccines are offered at clinics and pharmacies in the U.S.

Apr 5, 2024 • 3:16 pm CDT
by Tung Lam

According to an article written by Adam Tooze, in a world of polycrisis, in which intersecting problems compound each other and there are few easy wins, it is all the more important to recognise those policy choices that are truly obvious.

Funding vaccine development is one such investment. 

Published by The Financial Times on April 1, 2024, this opinion article says modest expenditures on public health have saved tens of millions of lives, reduced morbidity, and allowed children around the world to develop into adults capable of living healthy and productive lives. 

The complete, unedited article is posted at this link.

Apr 5, 2024 • 12:42 pm CDT
GPEI polio case map April 2, 2024

The reliable and timely detection of poliovirus cases is a critical component of polio eradication programs wrote the U.S. CDC.

Since 1988, the number of polio cases caused by wild poliovirus (WPV) has declined by 99.9%, and eradication of WPV serotypes 2 and 3 has been certified.

On April 4, 2024, a new Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report confirmed only WPV1 continues to circulate, and transmission remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

During 2022–2023, among 28 priority countries, 71.4% met national surveillance indicator targets, and the number of environmental surveillance sites increased.

However, the CDC says that maintaining high-quality surveillance is critical to increasing this rate and achieving the goal of global polio eradication.

To strengthen the fight against polio, health ministers from across the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region gathered in late March 2024 for the 10th meeting of the Regional Subcommittee on Polio Eradication and Outbreaks.

"One of my key priorities as your Regional Director is to strengthen our region's public health capacities so that you have all the tools not only to end the transmission of polio but also to ensure that polio can indeed never make a comeback," commented Dr. Hanan Balkhy in a media release.

Another component of polio eradication is vaccinations.

According to the CDC, two types of polio vaccines are in use in 2024.

While the inactivated (killed) polio vaccine is offered in clinics and pharmacies in the U.S., over 1 billion novel oral polio vaccinations have recently occurred.

The nOPV2 vaccine has been offered in more than 35 countries worldwide. 

The nOPV2 vaccine is being deployed under the WHO's pre-qualified Emergency Use Listing procedure, the first use for a polio vaccine.

Apr 4, 2024 • 3:41 pm CDT
UKHSA measles case trends April 4, 2024

Throughout the global measles outbreak in 2024, about 49 countries have reported cases. 

Unfortunately, the United Kingdom is rapidly becoming a leader.

On April 4, 2024, the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reported 269 measles cases in January 2024, 231 in February, and 224 (to date) in March 2024.

In total, there have been 934 measles cases since October 2023.

About 54% of these cases have been in the West Midlands and 21% in London.

Dr. Vanessa Saliba, UKHSA Consultant Epidemiologist, offered these insights in a press release, "We are continuing to see measles cases in all regions of England, with cases particularly high in the West Midlands and London, so it is vital that two doses of the MMR vaccine fully protect people."

"It only takes one case to get into a community with low vaccination rates for measles to spread rapidly, especially in schools and nurseries."

"We know that hundreds of thousands of children around the country, particularly in some inner-city areas, are still not fully vaccinated and are at risk of serious illness or life-long complications, but measles is completely preventable with vaccination."

Worldwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed the top ten international measles outbreaks as of March 12, 2024, led by Kazakhstan (21,740), followed by Azerbaijan, Yemen, and India. 

To alert international travelers, the CDC republished a global Watch-Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions, Travel Health Notice on March 22, 2024,  identifying measles outbreaks in numerous countries.

In the United States, Chicago, Illinois, continues leading the measles outbreak in 2024.

As of April 3, 2024, Illinois has reported 56 measles cases this year, including the Chicago Department of Public Health (53) measles cases.

In the U.S., measles vaccines are generally available at clinics and community pharmacies.

Apr 4, 2024 • 11:49 am CDT
Morris & Dickson website 2024

Morris & Dickson today announced it became the first U.S. commercial distributor of the JYNNEOS® vaccine. This second-generation vaccine is U.S. FDA-approved to prevent mpox and smallpox disease.

On April 3, 2024, Morris & Dickson confirmed receiving the first U.S. shipment of JYNNEOS vaccines.

This vaccine must be safely stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius. Morris & Dickson's state-of-the-art distribution techniques feature this storage and transport capability.

"We are proud to be a key partner in expanding access to this first-to-market vaccine," says Layne Martin, CEO of Head of Specialty at Morris & Dickson, in a press release

"JYNNEOS meets a critical public health need and helps ensure equitable access to healthcare, which in turn helps significantly prevent the spread of mpox to at-risk populations."

As of April 2024, U.S. healthcare providers in the U.S. can order JYNNEOS to make it available for at-risk individuals at local pharmacies and physician offices in addition to public health clinics.

In 2023, the U.S. CDC confirmed that the effectiveness of the JYNNEOS vaccine against mpox ranges from 36% to 75% after one dose and 66% to 89% for two doses. As of 2024, third-dose boosters have not been clinically approved.

Founded in 1841, Morris & Dickson is now approaching $6 billion in annual sales, making it the industry's largest independently owned full-line distributor. Independent pharmacies in the U.S. rely on Morris & Dickson for quick responses and straightforward business practices.

Since the global mpox outbreak began in early May 2022, more than 32,000 cases have been reported in the U.S., representing a third of all cases reported worldwide.

Bavarian Nordic's JYNNEOS (MVA-BN®, IMVAMUNE®) vaccine is available in various countries.

Apr 4, 2024 • 9:47 am CDT
WHO influenza vaccine administration timing map 2024

As influenza vaccine producers prepare for the 2024 - 2025 flu season, innovative vaccine candidates are progressing in clinical research, focused on enhancing efficacy and safety.

CureVac N.V. today announced interim data from an ongoing Phase 2 study, which is part of the combined Phase 1/2 study of its seasonal influenza vaccine candidate.

The purpose of this clinical trial (NCT05823974) is to find and confirm the dose and asses the reactogenicity, safety, and immune response of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) messenger RNA (mRNA)-based multivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (GSK4382276A) candidates administered in healthy younger and older adults.

Results from the planned interim analysis showed that the multivalent vaccine candidate using CureVac's proprietary second-generation mRNA backbone boosted antibody titers against all encoded flu strains and across all age groups and tested dose levels, including the lowest tested dose.

"The Phase 2 interim data show that CureVac's highly effective and flexible mRNA technology platform puts us on the right track to advance our joint seasonal influenza vaccine program," said Dr. Myriam Mendila, Chief Development Officer of CureVac, in a press release on April 4, 2024.

"Results regarding influenza A strains were strong. Immunogenicity for B strains was also in line with our expectations in view of other initial mRNA-based clinical flu development programs."

"We are confident that planned optimizations will improve performance against these historically challenging influenza strains."

The multivalent candidate was selected from a comprehensive Phase 1 part, which tested vaccine candidates with up to eight separate mRNA constructs per candidate.

It was designed for broad antigen coverage, encoding antigens that matched all World Health Organization (WHO) recommended flu strains.

The WHO says flu shot campaigns should be timed according to local conditions.

Countries are encouraged to analyze local surveillance information to assess their seasonality pattern at both national and subnational levels, as appropriate, to make evidence-based decisions on the timing of vaccination campaigns.

Apr 4, 2024 • 8:21 am CDT
WHO Lassa Fever outbreak - Nigeria - 2023

An advanced vaccine candidate for the Lassa fever virus (LASV) today announced the start of its second phase of clinical trials.

This is a significant development, as no approved vaccines for LASV are currently available.

The trial sponsor, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), a nonprofit scientific research organization, confirmed in a press release on April 4, 2024, that participants at HJF Medical Research International in Nigeria had been vaccinated in the first Phase 2 clinical trial of the vaccine candidate rVSV∆G-LASV-GPC.

The IAVI C105/PREVAIL15 study began on March 4, 2024, and is expected to enroll over 600 people in Nigeria, Ghana, and Liberia, with results expected in 2025.

As of March 2024, 27 states in Nigeria have reported at least one confirmed case of LASV.

The vaccine has been developing since 2018 and has been supported and funded by CEPI and the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.

According to IAVI, rVSV∆G-LASV-GPC uses the same recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus vector platform as ERVEBO®, the single-dose Zaire ebolavirus vaccine licensed in North America, Europe, and various African countries.

“Continued outbreaks of Lassa fever and the emergence of Ebola Sudan in Uganda both underscore the need to have vaccines for known disease threats available for evaluation and use during outbreak situations – the overarching goal of IAVI’s emerging infectious disease program,” stated Swati Gupta, DrPH, MPH, vice president and head of emerging infectious diseases and epidemiology, IAVI.

The virus causes acute viral hemorrhagic illness and results in approximately 5,000 deaths and 300,000 illnesses in West Africa each year.

Furthermore, LASV has been included in the World Health Organization's R&D Blueprint of priority pathogens for which accelerated research and development and countermeasures are urgently needed.

In addition to rVSV∆G-LASV-GPC, several other LASV vaccine candidates are conducting clinical research in 2024.

Apr 3, 2024 • 9:21 am CDT
by Keith Riess

As of April 2024, it remains unclear how long the immune response from mpox vaccination lasts and whether prior smallpox vaccination impacts it.

A recent study assessed the level of antibodies one year after vaccination with JYNNEOS® (MVA-BN®, IMVAMUNE®).

Announced at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases on March 30, 2024, this abstract indicates that people who had received smallpox vaccination during childhood and had pre-existing immunity showed high levels of antibodies generated by mpox vaccine, which remained high in almost all cases.

The authors suggested in a press release that the decrease in antibodies over time following MVA-BN vaccination may be attributable to its composition.

They stated, "The first and second-generation smallpox vaccines contained replication-competent vaccinia virus. MVA-BN is based on non-replicating virus, which may impact the strength and duration of the immune response, with the advantage of a low risk of side effects."

They add, "Regarding the potential necessity for a booster, it is premature to draw such conclusions. It is unclear how waning antibody levels relate to protection. Immunity also involves other elements, such as T-cell responses."

"Comprehensive clinical monitoring over time, which connects infection rates with antibody levels, is required to make informed decisions about booster vaccination protocols."

Bavarian Nordic A/S, the producer of JYNNEOS, the only FDA-approved mpox vaccine, recently announced that the mpox vaccine is commercially available in the U.S. at clinics and pharmacies.

The standard U.S. FDA regimen for JYNNEOS involves a subcutaneous administration with two injections of 0.5mL four weeks apart.

Note: The study is presented by Ph.D. student Dr. Marc Shamier, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, Netherlands, from a research team led by Dr. Rory de Vries. No industry conflicts of interest were disclosed.