NEWS SCAN: Anthrax vaccine contract, Salmonella in eggs, H5N1 shots in Taiwan, Staph skin infections

Sep 1, 2010

Federal contract supports more work on adjuvanted anthrax vaccine
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. today announced it has won a federal contract worth up to $28.7 million for further development of its "third generation" anthrax vaccine, consisting of the existing product, BioThrax (anthrax vaccine adsorbed), combined with a novel adjuvant called CPG 7909. BioThrax is the only US-licensed anthrax vaccine and is used by the US military. The company said the contract from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) includes a 2-year base award valued at $9.1 million, plus milestone-based options that, if exercised, would increase the total value to $28.7 million. The base contract provides for manufacturing and stability studies of vaccine for phase 2 clinical trials, process characterization and assay validation, and clinical trial preparation. The milestone-based options cover further stability testing and a clinical study of the vaccine's safety and immunogenicity. The phase 2 study is expected to begin early in 2012, with preliminary data due later in the year. The new contract is a sequel to a $29.7 million deal that was awarded by NIAID and the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in September 2008.
Sep 1 Emergent BioSolutions press release
Sep 26, 2008, CIDRAP News story on original contract

Report says California program effective against Salmonella in eggs
Many large egg producers in California have essentially eliminated Salmonella on their farms by following a state-sanctioned quality assurance program that includes vaccinating hens and testing barns regularly, according to a Los Angeles Times report today. But only nine other states have adopted similar government-sponsored prevention programs, in part because they make eggs more expensive, putting producers at a competitive disadvantage, the story says. It adds that producers in states like Iowa—the site of farms that have recalled more than 500 million eggs because of a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak—have lower production costs than California producers participating in the safety program. The report notes that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) egg safety rules that took effect for large farms in July do not require Salmonella vaccination for chickens, because FDA officials concluded there was too little evidence that Salmonella vaccines are effective.
Sep 1 LA Times story

Taiwan offers H5N1 vaccine to public
The Taiwan Centers for Disease Control is offering H5N1 avian influenza vaccine to the public this month, using 190,000 doses that are due to expire in November, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA). Chou Jih-Haw, the agency's deputy director, recommended vaccination for medical personnel involved in disease control, animal quarantine officers, security screeners at airports and seaports, coast guard officers, and people who visit countries battling avian flu. He said the vaccine will be free, but recipients will need to pay registration and medical examination fees at designated vaccination sites.
Sep 1 CNA story

Treatment for S aureus skin infections called promising
Scientists report getting good results in animal testing of a new method to reduce damage from skin and soft-tissue infections caused by the leading strain of community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus infections in the United States, called USA 300. The scientists, from the NIAID and University of Chicago, explored the effects of the bacterial toxin alpha-hemolysin (Hla) on S aureus skin infections in lab mice. When they removed the toxin from the bacteria or neutralized it by immunizing the mice with a nonlethal version or with anti-Hla antibodies, skin abscesses were smaller and the mice recovered faster, with little or no skin destruction, according to an NIAID news release. NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, MD, said the study "highlights the potential for antitoxin treatment to become an effective alternative to traditional antibiotics, which we know have limitations because of drug resistance." The study was published by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Aug 31 NIAID release
J Infect Dis study abstract

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