NEWS SCAN: Drug-resistant flu, pandemic surveillance, more Salmonella cases, novel immunization method

Mar 3, 2009

Multidrug strategy may thwart resistant flu viruses
Influenza viruses, given time, are likely to develop resistance to any single antiviral drug, writes Anne Moscona, MD, in a perspective article published online yesterday by the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). But as new influenza agents are developed, it may become possible to thwart resistance by using a multiple-drug strategy to target various stages of the viral life cycle, she asserts.
[NEJM article]

WHO releases report of meeting on pandemic surveillance
The World Health Organization (WHO) today released a 33-page report of a technical consultation on surveillance for pandemic influenza, held in December 2007. The 97 experts attending the meeting looked at what information would be needed during a pandemic, whether existing surveillance systems could generate it, and how to analyze and disseminate key information. The group's findings will be used to develop global guidelines for surveillance, the WHO said.

Salmonella cases tied to peanut products reach 677
The number of illnesses in the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products from Peanut Corp. of America has risen to 677, 11 more than reported a week ago, according to today's update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The latest known illness onset date is Feb 8. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the number of products recalled because of the outbreak was 2,850 as of yesterday.
[CDC investigation update]
[FDA list of recalled products]

Scientists say chemistry-driven vaccines could confer 'instant' immunity
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in California described a new, two-stage immunization method that in theory could be used to induce "instant immunity" to a wide range of pathogens or tumors. They injected mice with chemicals that generated certain antibodies, and later implanted cancerous tumors in the mice. Next they injected the mice with "adapter" molecules, which linked up with the antibodies to trigger an "instant, chemically programmed" immune attack on the tumors. They write that this "chemistry-driven" approach to vaccinology could pave the way for vaccines against diseases that so far have resisted vaccine development, such as AIDS.
[Full text in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

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