FLU NEWS SCAN: H5N1 education, adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine trial, rapid flu test, pharmacy pneumococcal vaccines

Aug 23, 2011

Vietnamese H5N1 education program raises awareness
An educational intervention in rural Vietnam raised awareness of H5N1 avian flu and the need to seek early treatment, according to a study published yesterday. Japanese and Vietnamese researchers recruited villagers from two agricultural communes in Ninh Binh province, which has experienced several H5N1 outbreaks in birds, as well as a human H5N1 death in 2008. The team conducted knowledge, attitude, and practice (KAP) surveys before the intervention, in December 2009, and after, in March 2010. The educational intervention consisted of four series of lectures, performances, songs, and a quiz game on two separate days. Residents of one of the communes did not receive the instruction and served as the control group. The number of subjects in the pre-education intervention and control groups were 417 and 418, respectively. For the post-education KAP survey, however, numbers had dropped to 264 and 288, respectively. After the education sessions, 90.2% of participants said they would seek early access to healthcare after developing a fever and having contact with poultry, compared with 68.3% in the control group, a statistically significant difference. The researchers noted that the intervention was not a complete success, however, as some protective behaviors—such as washing hands after slaughtering poultry—actually declined slightly in both groups in the second KAP survey.
Aug 22 PLoS One study

Crucell's adjuvanted H5N1 vaccine shows promise in phase 1 trial
A phase 1 study of Crucell's virosomal H5N1 avian influenza vaccine found that the adjvanted versions were safe and boosted antibody response, even at the lowest dose tested, according to a study yesterday by EU researchers. Sixty healthy adult volunteers were randomly assigned to one of four vaccine groups, one receiving vaccine alone containing 30 micrograms (mcg) of antigen or one containing the Matrix M adjuvant along with 1.5, 7.5, or 30 mcg of antigen. Study subjects received two doses 21 days apart. Crucell's Matrix M adjuvant is a third-generation immune stimulating complex. All four vaccine formulations were well tolerated, though injection-site pain was more common in the adjuvanted group. Also, all four of the formulations met EU regulatory requirements for antibody responses. The research group concluded that Matrix M is a promising adjuvant that can enhance antibody response, even at the lowest dose tested.
Aug 22 Vaccine abstract

FDA clears IQuum's rapid flu test for market
IQuum, Inc, announced today that it has received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its rapid test for influenza A and B. The Liat Influenza A/B Assay is a molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction test that can produce results in 20 minutes, according to IQuum. In a press release, the company said, "The Liat Influenza A/B Assay is currently the only test that has equivalent or better sensitivity and specificity as current lab-based nucleic acid tests, while substantially matching the time-to-result and ease-of-use of rapid immunoassays." It said the device has an "operator hands-on time" of less than a minute. The FDA approved the test under an Emergency Use Authorization during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
Aug 23 Iquum news release

Pharmacists have success pairing flu and pneumococcal vaccine
A study of people who received flu vaccines at pharmacies found that pharmacists were successful at identifying at-risk patients and targeting them for pneumococcal vaccination. The study, by a research group from Walgreen's Co., appeared yesterday in Vaccine. The group analyzed claims from a pharmacy chain of patients receiving the flu vaccine between Aug 1 and Nov 14, 2010, who were also eligible for pneumococcal vaccination. They also used a database of commercial and Medicare patients to gauge what the level would be in a traditional clinic setting. They found that the level of at-risk patients vaccinated by pharmacists (4.88%) was higher than the benchmark rate of 2.9% for the traditional care setting. When they looked at pharmacy vaccination patterns they found that the highest rate (6.6%) was in people ages 60 to 70. They concluded that concurrent immunization of flu and pneumococcal vaccines by pharmacists may improve pneumococcal vaccine coverage.
Aug 22 Vaccine abstract

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