Click to Translate to English Click to Translate to French  Click to Translate to Spanish  Click to Translate to German  Click to Translate to Italian  Click to Translate to Japanese  Click to Translate to Chinese Simplified  Click to Translate to Korean  Click to Translate to Arabic  Click to Translate to Russian  Click to Translate to Portuguese


Forum Home Forum Home > General Discussion > Latest News
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - This Year's Flu Vaccine Already Compromised.
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

This Year's Flu Vaccine Already Compromised.

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
jdljr1 View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: June 05 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1621
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdljr1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: This Year's Flu Vaccine Already Compromised.
    Posted: September 22 2015 at 2:25pm
    Indications from down under in New Zealand are that the new flu vaccine CDC is touting may only be 50% effective by the time Northern hemisphere season arrives.  Which in my view is still better than nothing, I will get mine.  Note some illnesses are not flu but flu-like, no effect upon parainfluenzas, etc.

.stuff.co.nz/nwwwational/health/72296385/flujabs-less-effective-this-year-as-latest-strain-proves-too-tricky-for-vaccines

Roughly half of all flu-jabs administered to Kiwis during the 2015 winter season did nothing to protect them from illness.
ANDY JACKSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Roughly half of all flu-jabs administered to Kiwis during the 2015 winter season did nothing to protect them from illness.

Flu-jabs were less effective at keeping Kiwis healthy this year, with experts blaming a particularly tricky strain.

It comes after a nasty winter for flu sufferers, with hundreds hospitalised and several reported deaths.

Some experts say the effectiveness of flu-jabs against "flu-like illness" was potentially as low as 10 per cent in some parts of the country, given so many other winter viruses have been floating around.

However, doctors still urged everyone to get vaccinated, with any protection considered better than none.

Did you get the flu despite getting immunised? Contact news@dompost.co.nz

On average, flu vaccines usually work up to 60 per cent of the time.

Last year the dominant strain in this country was H1N1, labelled "swine flu", which mutated more slowly making it less likely to sneak past the vaccine.

But this year the H3N2 influenza strain proved dominant, and it was estimated that the flu vaccine were only effective about half the time.

Dr Tim Blackmore, an infection specialist at Wellington Hospital, said it was a rough year for winter illness, with vaccines appearing less effective, particularly among the elderly.

"There's been quite a lot of vaccine breakthrough this year."

Wellington saw a "much bigger than normal" number of hospital admissions for flu. An outbreak also raged through an older persons and rehabilitation unit in Hutt Valley for two weeks, infecting at least 13 patients and 20 staff.

In the community, several schools, early childhood centres and rest homes in the Wellington region were also hit by flu. In some schools as much as half the students were off sick.

But Blackmore said many of these winter illnesses were not the influenza virus, even though the symptoms were similar, meaning the effectiveness of vaccines against "flu-like illness" could be as low as 10 or 20 per cent.

However, even with those low figures, vaccines remained a safe and easy way to improve your chances of avoiding a potentially fatal illness, he said.

"You can argue over how well it works ... but I'd say have your jab and don't worry about it."

The flu season got off to a late start this year but a horror winter in the Northern Hemisphere, where H3N2 ripped through the population, led to a last minute rush to improve the vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere.

Virologist Dr Sue Huang from the Institute Of Environmental Science And Research (ESR) said vaccines for new strains take about six months to develop.

But in that time, H3N2 mutated into thousands of new variations, some of which changed so much they no longer responded to vaccine.

"We are chasing the virus' tail every year," she said. "Flu vaccines are not wonderful but they still keep a significant number of people out of hospital."

New Zealand had fared better than the Northern Hemisphere but the vaccine was still only partially effective.

"It's a little better, but could be better still," Huang said.

About 1.2 million Kiwis had a flu jab this winter. The season was far worse than last year and roughly similar to 2012.

The season peaked in mid August with infection rates dropping sharply since.

 - Stuff

Comments


Login to post a comment:
John L
Back to Top
jdljr1 View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: June 05 2006
Location: United States
Status: Offline
Points: 1621
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jdljr1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 06 2015 at 1:51pm

More confirmation that until we complete switching away from obsolete chicken-egg based 1940's flu vaccine technology, flu vaccines are either well behind or, like last year, completely behind the curve. The government should be working to gradually mandate all flu vaccines be modernised to cellular or DNA based vaccines, before this happens with a real pandemic virus and results in the loss of millions of lives!  
Cell based vaccines reduce manufacturing time by two months, DNA much more than that, both are better than another fiasco!

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/flu-vaccine-h3n2-strain-perry-kendall-1.3257969

H3N2 flu strain may have outfoxed vaccine makers again
Vaccine may offer only 30-50% protection but is still predicted to be more effective than last year's

By Lisa Johnson, CBC News Posted: Oct 06, 2015 5:00 AM PT Last Updated: Oct 06, 2015 12:30 PM PT


The flu shot appears to be only 30 to 50 per cent effective against the dominant influenza strain this fall, says B.C.'s provincial health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall. (Valentin Flauraud/Reuters)

H3N2 flu strain may have outfoxed vaccine makers again 6:00

Flu shot no match for H3N2 strain reported across Canada
The seasonal flu vaccine is likely a poor match for the strain of the virus circulating in B.C., offering just 30 to 50 per cent protection — though officials still urge people to get the shot.

So far, it appears H3N2 is the predominant influenza strain making people sick in the province — with three outbreaks at long-term-care homes this fall.

The seasonal flu vaccine is designed to protect against the H3N2 strain — along with H1N1 and influenza B — but it appears it will offer only 30 to 50 per cent protection, said Dr. Perry Kendall. In a good year, the protection offered by the seasonal flu vaccine can be 60 per cent or higher.

"It's less than we like," said Kendall, but it is "significantly better protection" than last year, when the flu shot offered nearly zero protection.

That hasn't changed the official advice that anyone over six months old, as well as those at high risk of serious illness, including children, pregnant women and the elderly, should get the shot.

"If I could reduce your chances of having a really nasty illness by 50 per cent, would you take it?" said Kendall.

'Notorious' strain for evading immune system

The mismatch isn't for lack of trying by scientists around the world. But influenza is a difficult virus.

Each year, the World Health Organization makes forecasts which strains are likely to be predominant in the Northern Hemisphere during flu season — in time for drug companies to manufacture the vaccine.

By the time flu season arrives, the fast-mutating, gene-swapping virus may have outfoxed those efforts.

"It's important to emphasize that influenza viruses, particularly H3N2, are really notorious for changing their antigenic makeup ... to try to evade the immune system," said Kendall.

"Until we find a new way of making a vaccine which is consistently effective against all the range of mutations that the H3N2 can come up with, then we're stuck with the vaccine we have."

So far, the strains of flu tested by the National Microbiology Laboratory  in Winnipeg between Sept.1 2014 and Aug. 27, 2015 indicate a better match on the H1N1 and influenza B strains, but they were not appearing as frequently as H3N2 over that period.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled H3N2 flu strain may have outfoxed vaccine makers again with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

With files from Kiran Dhillon



John L
Back to Top
Medclinician View Drop Down
Senior Advisor Group
Senior Advisor Group
Avatar
Member Since December, 2005

Joined: July 08 2009
Status: Offline
Points: 22192
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Medclinician Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: October 10 2015 at 9:01am
Originally posted by jdljr1 jdljr1 wrote:

    Indications from down under in New Zealand are that the new flu vaccine CDC is touting may only be 50% effective by the time Northern hemisphere season arrives.  Which in my view is still better than nothing, I will get mine.  Note some illnesses are not flu but flu-like, no effect upon parainfluenzas, etc.

.stuff.co.nz/nwwwational/health/72296385/flujabs-less-effective-this-year-as-latest-strain-proves-too-tricky-for-vaccines

Certainly would agree with you on this one. I am closely tracking the trivalent and quad and we may yet again be way off target as the virus mutates.

The track record for the flu vaccine has been abysmal with last season on 20% effective. Eventually I may get the vaccine if I ever get over whatever I got in 2009 from my son Skye- which was Swine Flu and also H5N1 a year before that which nearly wiped my wife and I out at the time as we were in isolation in West Virginia.  They did ID the H5 part.  If no one has noticed, the new viruses are getting a lot more skillful at mutating and a few weeks ago I was reporting a 30% positive for flu in samples in Australia when their season should be over.

Vaccine wise - there are 70,000,000 doses out there and a big push for everyone to get them. Time will tell.

Medclinician
"not if but when" the original Medclinician
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down