NEWS SCAN: Anthrax scare in Pakistan, adenovirus vaccination in military, TB vaccine support

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Feb 1, 2012

Bacillus anthracis sent to Pakistan's prime minister
Pakistani officials are investigating a parcel containing Bacillus anthracis, the cause of anthrax, that was mailed to the prime minister's residence, Agence France-Press (AFP) said today. "The parcel containing anthrax powder was sent last month, about 20 days ago. After the laboratory test confirmed that the parcel contained anthrax we registered a case against unknown people," said Hakim Khan a police officer at the secretariat station. In what the AFP called the apparent first case of B anthracis sent to a Pakistani government office, the parcel was mailed from the Jamshoro district in Sindh province in the south, the capital of which is Karachi, Pakistan's largest city. "We have sent a police team to investigate it and to find the culprits there," Khan said.
Feb 1 AFP report

Revival of adenovirus vaccination in US military pays off
The revival of adenovirus vaccinations for US military recruits has contributed to a sharply lower rate of respiratory infections in recruits at Naval Station Great Lakes near Chicago, according to a Chicago Tribune report today. Military recruits had received the vaccine for 25 years, but that ended in 1999 after the manufacturer stopped making it, citing a low economic return. The high cost of caring for sick recruits persuaded the Pentagon to spend $100 million to restore the program for boot camps last fall, the story said. Adenoviruses, which cause cold-like symptoms such as sore throat and coughing and sometimes lead to pneumonia, spread in people in tight quarters like military barracks. Officials with the Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago said fever-related respiratory infections among recruits at the base have averaged 23 per week since the immunization program was re-launched last October, versus 93 per week in 2010. The two-pill vaccination costs $111 per dose, but Lovell officials said it's more cost-effective to pay that than to have recruits miss time during basic training. The vaccine used in the military covers adenovirus types 4 and 7 and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in March 2011, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is not available to the public.
Feb 1 Tribune story
CDC information about adenovirus prevention and treatment

NIAID joins partnership for testing TB vaccine
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is collaborating with two private-sector organizations on a phase 2 clinical trial of a tuberculosis (TB) vaccine, according to Aeras, a nonprofit group that develops TB vaccines. The NIAID is lending its HIV/AIDS clinical trials network for the phase 2 study of a vaccine developed jointly by Aeras and the Dutch biopharmaceutical company Crucell, Aeras officials said in a press release. The clinical trial began in October 2010 and has enrolled infants at three sites in Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique. The first NIAID-supported site to join the trial is the Perinatal HIV Research Unit in Soweto, South Africa. "Our novel collaboration with NIAID comes as multiple TB vaccine candidates are poised to enter efficacy trials requiring thousands of participants and significant investment, as well as complex infrastructure and sophisticated expertise,” Jim Connolly, president and CEO of Aeras, said in the press release.
Jan 31 Aeras press release

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