NEWS SCAN: Smallpox vaccine trial, cholera update

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Feb 2, 2011

Weakened smallpox vaccine shown safe, effective in those with eczema
Bavarian Nordic of Denmark announced yesterday that its non-replicating smallpox vaccine Imvamune was safe and effective in people with a skin disorder that places them at increased risk of severe side effects from traditional replicating smallpox vaccines. The conventional smallpox vaccine that makes up most of the US stockpile uses live vaccinia virus, which is related to the smallpox virus and can cause rare but potentially life-threatening side effects. In the phase 2 clinical trial of Imvamune, 350 people who had mild to moderate eczema (atopic dermatitis) and 282 healthy subjects had strong vaccinia-specific immune responses and good tolerance profiles after vaccination, according to a company press release. "The data from this trial strongly suggest that Imvamune is suitable for individuals with atopic dermatitis," said Bavarian Nordic President and CEO Anders Hedegaard. "With these results, the government can and should take the next step of expanding the population it protects with this vaccine." The release did not specify how immune response was measured or the number and type of adverse events. The US government has stockpiled 20 million doses of Imvamune for people with immune deficiencies, such as those with HIV.
Feb 1 Bavarian Nordic press release

Cholera reported in Canada, possible case cited in US deportee
A Canadian woman was treated for cholera at a Montreal hospital after spending time in Haiti, while a Haitian man who was deported from the United States died of a cholera-like illness in a jail in his home country, according to news reports today. Lucie Dufresne, a spokeswoman for the University of Montreal Hospital Centre, said a cholera patient was admitted on New Year's Day and received antibiotics and rehydration therapy during her 2-day stay, according to a Canadian Press (CP) report. The case is the only one in Quebec since the start of the Haitian epidemic, Dufresne said. Meanwhile, the Associated Press (AP) reported that a Haitian who was among the first US detainees to be deported to Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake died after suffering cholera-like symptoms. Wildrick Guerrier, 34, was deported to Haiti on Jan 20 with 26 others, all but one of whom had been convicted of a crime in the United States, the story said. Immigration advocates said Guerrier was healthy before he was confined in a cell with 17 other men, according to the story. He was released to his aunt's care Jan 27 but died on Jan 29. Michelle Karshan of Alternative Chance, a group that works with criminal deportees to Haiti, said at least one other deportee is now suffering from cholera-like symptoms in Haiti, according to the report.
Feb 2 CP story

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