News Scan for Jan 07, 2016

Ebola vaccine phase 2 trial
Flu vaccine effectiveness Down Under
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Army begins phase 2 trial of Johnson & Johnson's prime-boost Ebola vaccine

Johnson & Johnson's prime-boost Ebola vaccine regimen is entering phase 2 clinical trials in both healthy and HIV-infected people, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) announced yesterday in a press release.

This trial involves two vaccine candidates, a priming dose of Ad26.ZEBOV from Crucell Holland B.V., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and a booster dose of MVA-BN-Filo from Bavarian Nordic. Phase 2 trials assess vaccine safety and immune response.

The study will include 75 adults up to age 70 who will receive the vaccines at the WRAIR Clinical Trials Center in Silver Spring, Md. Early next year, WRAIR-affiliated sites in Africa will also begin evaluating the regimen, as well as a vaccination schedule that flips the order of the two vaccines.

Some of the volunteers are HIV-positive because they represent people who might benefit from a preventive Ebola vaccine in Africa. "It's an important consideration given that both of these viruses can be present in the same communities," said Col. Nelson Michael, MD, PhD, director, of the US Military HIV Research Program.
Jan 6 WRAIR press release


Modest flu vaccine effectiveness found in early New Zealand data

Preliminary data in New Zealand found 36% flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) in preventing primary care visits for influenza-like illness (ILI) and 50% against hospitalizations for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), according to a report today in Eurosurveillance.

The study included 1,197 outpatients with ILI and 754 hospitalized patients with SARI from Apr 27 to Sep 26, the Southern Hemisphere's flu season, in Auckland. Among those with ILI, 573 tested positive for influenza by polymerase chain reaction (93 of whom were vaccinated), compared with 180 of the SARI patients, of whom 47 had received flu vaccination.

Using a case test-negative design, the researchers found a 36% VE in the ILI patients and a 50% VE in the SARI patients. VE against hospitalized H3N2 was 53%, which was higher than previous season, the authors reported.

They concluded, "We are encouraged by our interim observation of positive VE point estimates for influenza A (H3N2) virus-associated ILI (22%; 95% CI [confidence interval]: −23 to 51) and SARI (53%; 95% CI: 6–76), which may indicate that VE improved with the change in [H3N2] vaccine strain."
Jan 7 Eurosurveillance study

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