Ron Seybold's Viral Times

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Archive for the ‘Vaccines’ Category

Israeli pharma promises immunity boost drug

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Cancers are caused by viruses. (So many diseases start with a virus.) A new drug might be able to treat people who already have a cancer, by employing the body’s natural immunity T-cells to attack cancer cells. No mention in this link about availability of the drug, but since it’s developed outside the US, approval can be much swifter. You’d still need traditional chemo/surgery for advanced cancers. But this is a novel way to get a pharma solution to ally with natural immunity. If you can afford the booster shots.

This is the kind of medicine that the PharmAlliance wants to create in Viral Times. There is the US government in the way of approving that drug, in my future of 2021. But for now, here’s the early report on ImMucin.

A traditional vaccine helps the body’s immune system fend off foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses, and is administered to people who have not yet had the ailment. Therapeutic vaccines, like the one Vaxil has developed, are given to sick people, and work more like a drug.

Vaxil’s lead product, ImMucin, activates the immune system by “training” T-cells –– the immune cells that protect the body by searching out and destroying cells that display a specific molecule (or marker) called MUC1. MUC1 is typically found only on cancer cells and not on healthy cells. The T-cells don’t attack any cells without MUC1, meaning there are no side effects unlike traditional cancer treatments. More than 90% of different cancers have MUC1 on their cells, which indicates the potential for this vaccine.

ImMucin is foreseen as a long-term strategy — a shot every few months, with no side effects — to stop the cancer from reoccurring after initial treatments, by ensuring that the patient’s own immune system keeps it under control.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

Posted in Public health, Vaccines, Virus protection

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A drug can kill viruses, in 10 years

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Todd Rider

26, and with 4 MIT degrees

Todd Rider, a scientist at defense-funded Lincoln Laboratories, has moved on from detecting viruses to destroying them. It will be 10 years, by some estimates, before a human version is ready to sell. But a viral pandemic might accelerate that process. Right now he’s testing it on mice. From BusinessWeek:

He describes in the recent journal article a new drug, still under development, which he has successfully used to destroy 15 viral strains, including dengue fever, a stomach virus, and a polio virus. To create it, Rider combined two proteins commonly found in the human body. One binds to viral double-stranded ribonucleic acid, a type of molecule found in all viruses. The other induces apoptosis, which is essentially programmed cell suicide. The drug acts like a homing missile that seeks out and kills cells infected by a virus. It appears to have few negative consequences and works against all diseases, even as they mutate. “Most viruses kill the host cells anyway. They are like aliens in a movie,” says Rider.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 9, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Posted in Vaccines, Virus behavior

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Enough of the vaccine, already

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Ah, the heady drama of last fall. H1N1 was a steady source of worry, creating the Worried Well and sparking a fevered drive to stock up on vaccine. In October CBS interviewed Dr. Troyen Brennan, the Chief Medical Officer of CVS, the drug store chain.

Asked if there will be enough H1N1 vaccine to go around, Brennan said, “We do believe there will be enough. The government’s been very careful in terms of the amount of H1N1 it’s ordered and that’s coming online right now.”

And so millions of Americans queued up for a Swine Flu shot, some at CVS, along with a seasonal flu shot. Boy, was there ever enough of the H1N1 vaccine. Too much for Europe, where some claim that Swine Flu was a fake epidemic. From NPR, “Governments all across Europe are canceling orders of swine flu vaccine as frantically as they were clamoring for it a few month ago.” Alas, we’re more determined to be protected in the US.

The government is thinking about how much more swine flu vaccine to order up and pay for. But Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall says any decision to scale back vaccine orders is “weeks away.” Let’s take stock. Last spring the US government signed contracts for $1.5 billion worth of vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus–251 million doses. So far, 55 percent of that amount has been shipped, and something like 60 million Americans have been vaccinated. That leaves 45 percent of the contracted-for vaccine yet to be delivered. That’s 115 million doses, worth about $675 million.

Okay, it’s under a billion dollars, so it won’t even show up in the US budget.

But the cost of stress-induced concern about health, missed work time to vaccinate, isolation of the populace that didn’t want to risk being in this epidemic: much greater. There’s a payoff for coverage as breathless and shallow as the CBS Early Show stuff, thank goodness. We’re being innoculated from the sudden panic of virus outbreaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ron Seybold

January 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

See Swine Flu safety info. See data illustrated.

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Journalist David McCandless, a London-based author, writer and designer, has a superior summary of everything which a Swine Flu vaccine can do, based on a wide variety of public sources. Best of all, it’s presented in illustrated format.

One major surprise to me is the amount of mercury (thimerosal) that’s inserted into flu shots. A can of tuna has about twice as much mercury as any thimerosal you will find in an injection. The nasal application of the H1N1 vaccine contains zero micrograms of mercury. But getting vaccinated with an inhaled formula isn’t recommended for anyone over 50. This is the same age group that has only a 4 percent chance of contracting this kind of influenza. The data so far also indicates that this flu is being contracted mostly by people under 25. He also concludes that the chances of dying of the current vaccine are more than 1 in a million.

McCandless’s Swine Flu data is at informationisbeautiful.net, along with dozens of other interesting presentations.

Written by Ron Seybold

December 3, 2009 at 7:36 pm

WHO reports: Swine vaccine now in 65 million bodies

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The World Health organization has surveyed 16 countries and believes that 65 million vaccinations for swine flu have taken place worldwide. Perceived risks of vaccination include Guillain-Barre syndrome, and the WHO report says “fewer than 10 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome have been reported” among people who received vaccines.

24 more countries are among those surveyed by the WHO, but the results in this majority of the world aren’t part of the report. Despite the safety reports, a new CNN poll asserts that the majority of Americans don’t want to receive an H1N1 vaccination.

According to the poll, 55 percent of adults don’t want to get the swine flu vaccine and don’t plan to get a shot. Another one in five say they want to get inoculated but haven’t taken any steps to do so; 14 percent want a shot and have tried to get it but have been unsuccessful. Just 7 percent have been inoculated for H1N1.

A “small number” of deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization, but given its optimism for the vaccine, the WHO believes its investigations can’t find a link between vaccine and death. “The results of completed investigations reported to WHO have ruled out a direct link to pandemic vaccine as the cause of death.”

But the CNN poll lists concern over side effects as the top reason more than half of the US residents surveyed don’t want a vaccine. The poll director calculates that 28 percent of the adult population don’t plan to get inoculated due to the risk of dangerous side effects.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Viruses shape shift, says National Institute of Health

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There’s nothing like discovering that a sub-microscopic organism is smarter than pharmaceutical science. TV news reported this week that the H1N1 virus is probably already evading the Swine Flu Vaccine (SFV) which the government has rushed to anxious, uninfected people in the US.

The SFV never had a chance of stopping the flu. Scientists are talking about antigenic drift, now that people are interested in how viruses evolve. The drift takes place as a virus moves through hosts (that’s you and me), changing its proteins to evade antibodies that could kill it. At least that’s what scientists think happens. They’re not sure.

“No one is sure exactly how the antigenic drift of flu viruses happens in people,” says Dr. Jonathan Yewdell. He wrote a paper with two other experts that was published in Science, but at the moment the only hard evidence comes from testing mice with a virus from 1934. The National Institute of Health reports on the leading theory at its Web site.

According to the prevailing theory, drift occurs as the virus is passed from person to person and is exposed to differing antibody attacks at each stop. With varying success, antibodies recognize one or more of the four antigenic regions in hemagglutinin, the major outer coat protein of the flu virus. Antibodies in person A, for example, may mount an attack in which antibodies focus on a single antigenic region. Mutant viruses that arise in person A can escape antibodies by replacing one critical amino acid in this antigen region. These mutant viruses survive, multiply and are passed to person B, where the process is repeated.

These escape artists have been drifting for thousands of years. Pharmaceutical research creates a flu vaccine every year before the drift occurs. If enough people catch and then transmit a flu, the virus is well on its way to changing its shape — so only your natural immunity can hope to neutralize an organism that makes you ill once you breathe it in.

Written by Ron Seybold

October 30, 2009 at 6:08 pm

Virus vaccine up the nose until age 50

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The CDC is answering questions about use of the nasal-spray vaccine for H1N1, the sensational virus of the season. CDC says that the nasal spray is designed for people under age 50.

But don’t be getting too ardent about inhaling this vaccine and the regular, seasonal flu mist. CDC says “the seasonal nasal spray vaccine and the 2009 H1N1 nasal spray vaccine should not be given at the same time.”

Plenty of details on inhaled virus vaccines — built with live viruses — at the CDC Web site.

Written by Ron Seybold

October 11, 2009 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Vaccines