News Scan for Jun 20, 2017

New Syrian polio cases
Inhaled anthrax vaccine
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Fifteen more polio cases reported in Syria

Syria has confirmed 15 additional cases of polio, including 1 case in a child who may have contracted the disease in Raqqa, a city held by the terrorist group ISIS, Reuters reported today.

Two cases were announced in Syria earlier this month, the first since 2014, so the total has now reachaed 17 cases, with symptom onset ranging from Mar 3 to May 23. All 17 cases involve paralysis.

World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic, said in a press conference today, "We are very worried, because obviously if there is already one case of polio of a kid that is paralyzed it's already an outbreak. We know for example that for one kid that is paralyzed there are almost 200 asymptomatic, so it means that virus circulating, so it is very serious."

Health workers have been unable to reach several ISIS-held areas of Syria, Reuters said. But the WHO said officials plan to vaccinate 320,000 children under the age of 5 years in Deir al-Zor and 90,000 in Mayadin.
Jun 20 Reuters story


New funds advance inhaled anthrax vaccine to next research stage

NanoBio Corporation yesterday announced that a new intranasal anthrax vaccine it is developing with Porton Biopharma Ltd (PBL) is entering a preclinical toxicology study with the support of a $5.6 million contract extension from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

In a press release, the company, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., said the vaccine combines its novel intranasal nanoemulsion (NE) adjuvant with recombinant protective antigen (rPA) for anthrax from PBL. After the toxicology study is completed, the vaccine will advance to a phase 1 clinical trial.

The work is part of PBL's existing contract with NIAID, worth up to $24 million over 8 years. Under the contract, NanoBio, PBL, and Public Health England are partnering to produce a next-generation anthrax vaccine that can provide immunity with fewer doses and through intranasal delivery.

Anthrax is caused by infection with Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that's easily inhaled. Though naturally occurring in soil, B anthracis has been used as a biological weapon and is considered a category A pathogen. The current injectable vaccine has been linked to adverse effects and requires three initial doses, a pair of booster doses, then annual doses to maintain prolonged protection.
Jun 19 NanoBio press release

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