Sharon - posted on 09/02/2009 ( 9 moms have responded )
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
In the Health section's special report on swine flu last week, we posed some common questions to Andrew Pekosz, an associate professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. As readers submit further questions, he will continue to offer answers.
-- Rachel Saslow
I got a swine flu vaccine in 1976. Am I protected from this strain?
No, you are not. The 1976 and 2009 H1N1 viruses are different, and the immune responses from the 1976 vaccine lasted only about a year.
What is the typical incubation period of swine flu?
This is difficult to estimate, but it appears that it takes one to three days for symptoms to develop after exposure to the virus. Remember that the most important thing is what you do after you feel the first symptoms: Stay home and limit your contact with people, practice good cough and sneeze hygiene (cough or sneeze into disposable tissues or your sleeve) and wash your hands and the surfaces you come in contact with frequently.
When will the vaccine be available?
As of now, it looks as though vaccination for high-risk groups will begin in mid- to late October. Once the high-risk groups have been immunized, vaccination of the general population will begin, most likely in November or early December. Announcements regarding when and where to get the vaccine will be made on a regular basis this fall, so pay close attention to your news sources for updated information.
Will the seasonal flu vaccine help protect me from H1N1?
The seasonal flu vaccine will not provide any significant protection against H1N1. However, we do expect to see some cases of seasonal influenza this year, and many of the high-risk populations for H1N1 vaccination (pregnant women, children, people with underlying medical conditions) as well as people over the age of 65 should get the seasonal vaccine in addition to the H1N1 vaccine.
My child has a severe egg allergy. Can he get the H1N1 vaccine?
All the influenza vaccines that will be administered this year consist of virus components generated from eggs, so if you have an egg allergy, you should not get either the seasonal flu vaccine or the H1N1 vaccine.
I'm 66 and in good health.
Do I need the vaccine, and
when should I get it?
As always, consult with your physician about specific medical advice. I would suggest you should get the seasonal flu vaccine, which is available now, since you are in one of the risk groups for getting severe disease from seasonal flu. Also, get the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available to your age group, which will not be at the beginning of the vaccination campaign but probably in November or December.
Novavax reports good results from swine flu vaccine
Novavax Inc. reported positive results from a mid-stage clinical trial of its vaccine technology for three flu strains, including the H1N1 strain more commonly known as the swine flu -- news that sent the Rockville biotech’s shares up to a new year-long high.
The company, which produces flu vaccines by using virus-like particles rather than the traditional approach of growing an entire live virus strain in an egg, said its method held up safely and effectively in a three-month clinical trial involving 221 volunteers ranging from 18 to 49 years old.
Novavax (NASDAQ: NVAX) said volunteers who experienced high immunity responses to its VLP vaccine ranged from 81 percent to 86 percent of its group for one seasonal strain called H3N2, from 57 percent to 66 percent for the H1N1 strain and from 62 percent to 67 percent for a third seasonal flu strain. Those results met Food and Drug Administration standards for such treatments, the company said.
Novavax, which has already been attracting attention for its technology as a possible answer for the swine flu, boosts those prospects with these results. Though its product is still likely years from potential federal approval, in part causing the company to look at international deals like with recent partner, Madrid-based Rovi Pharmaceuticals Laboratories, to jointly develop and produce the product. “We are working tirelessly with partners and governments worldwide to potentially provide H1N1 vaccine to regions without an indigenous supply,” said President and CEO Rahul Singhvi.
In particular, Novavax said its technology measured better in guarding against the H3N2 strain, which it said didn’t grow well in eggs, when compared to Fluzone, an established egg-based vaccine sold by mega-vaccine maker Sanofi Pasteur SA. But the local company didn’t give further details, saying it measured that comparison separately on a 20-person group, too small to make any conclusions. Instead, Novavax said it’s starting a head-to-head study on elderly volunteers this winter to compare its VLP technology with egg-based alternatives.
Novavax said it plans to take its seasonal flu vaccine candidate into the third and final stages of study next year.
The company’s shares leapt as much as 29 percent in trading Tuesday to a new 52-week high of $7.79 before settling by noon to $6.73, up 69 cents and 11 percent from Monday’s closing price.
Target Groups of vaccines
keeping a few simple facts in mind should cut down on the confusion and help get the vaccine to everyone who needs it, experts said.
People, especially those considered at high risk -- such as pregnant women, young children and people with preexisting health conditions, such as diabetes -- may need three shots, not just one, to fully protect themselves this year.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention won't know until the early fall how many doses of swine flu vaccine will be most effective but, CDC spokesman Joe Quimby said, "It's believed that two doses will be required."
Meanwhile, the priority groups are slightly different for each vaccine.
For the seasonal flu vaccine, target groups include children aged 6 months to 19 years, pregnant women, adults 50 and over, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, anyone with a chronic medical condition, health-care workers and people in close proximity to high-risk individuals.
For the swine flu vaccine, federal officials have added young adults aged 19 to 24, who have been disproportionately affected by the swine flu, and have lowered older adults down the list (unless they have an underlying medical condition) because they've shown more resistance to the infection. In all, swine flu vaccine priority groups comprise about 160 million people.
"In the seasonal flu, the priority is the elderly but they're at the bottom of the ladder for H1N1, so that's a change the public will have a problem with," said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. "People seem to have some partial immunity to the swine flu if they are born before 1957."
Dr. Gupta offers advice to parents on H1N1
CNN) -- Over this past week, I had some interesting conversations with colleagues who are also health care professionals. These conversations usually start with, "You know what I hate about the media ... ?"
Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to Dr. Jim Fortenberry, pediatrician in chief at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
1 of 2 Now, over the past eight years, I have grown accustomed to being engaged in these sort of discussions where I am asked about everything the "media" have reported over the past few months, and asked to defend things point by point. It can be a challenging task.
This time, however, the topic was H1N1, or swine flu.
I spent the weekend thinking about what I was being told, and realized there was a larger point here.
People were scared, more than I had seen in a long time. And, health care professionals were blaming the media -- accusing them of being alarmist.
So, I decided to get away from the studio, away from the talking heads discussing mortality rates, and away from the hypothetical discussions about what might or might not happen. I wanted to see for myself what was happening in emergency rooms right now.
I was most curious about pediatric ERs, because young people seem to be most affected by this, and selfishly, I was curious about my own three girls and how I should react if they become ill this fall. Watch Dr. Gupta give more tips to parents »
In short, I wanted to create a parents' guide to dealing with the swine flu that is based on the best science and my interviews with experts all over the country. In Depth: H1N1 flu
H1N1 on campus: College students put in isolation
Report: Swine flu could cause up to 90,000 U.S. deaths
Kids roll up sleeves for H1N1 clinical trial
First off, there is no question that pediatric emergency rooms are much busier than this time last year -- about two to three times busier at the ER I visited.
Many of the patients sitting in the waiting room were there with flu-like symptoms, worried about H1N1.
The doctor who met me started by saying he was giving the media a C+ in its overall coverage of H1N1, and blamed his busy ER, in part, on the media for stoking fears.
"Fair enough," I answered back, "but, how do I get to an A?" In order to get there, I wanted to report clear, concise answers about what a parent should do with a sick child. So, here we go.
Point 1. As things stand now, the vast majority of children who develop flu-like symptoms this fall will have a few miserable days, and nothing more. And those days are best spent at home -- not in the ER or a doctor's office.
Point 2. If you are worried, you should call your pediatrician's office first. Don't take your child in without calling. Two reasons: Your child may not have H1N1, but could become exposed by being around sick children. And, after several hours of waiting, you are still likely to be told the basics -- plenty of fluids, rest and dose-appropriate acetaminophen for a fever. After all, it is still the flu we are talking about. Dr. Gupta talks preparedness with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius »
Point 3. One doctor told me a way to think about things that was helpful. He said "remove the term H1N1 from the equation." If your child had regular flu, would you take him to the hospital? If the answer is no, then don't take him/her to the hospital now.
Point 4. Yes, hearing between 30,000 and 90,000 could die from H1N1 is scary, but keep in mind -- around 40,000 people die from the regular or seasonal flu every year. The numbers may not be that much different, yet there is not panic about the regular flu. As things look now, H1N1 is causing only mild to moderate illness, not the widespread deaths people are worried about.
Point 5. There are some children who should be seen by their doctor. Call your doctor if:
• A baby younger than 12 weeks has a fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
• A child, older than 12 weeks has a fever for three days
• A child's fever returns after a 12-24 hour time period
• A child is not passing urine or making tears for more than six hours
MayoClinic.com: H1N1 flu
• A child does not smile or show interest in playing for several hours
Dial 911 if:
• A child cannot speak while trying to breathe
• Has a blue or dark purple color to the nail beds, lips or gums
• Is not responding to you because he is too tired or weak
One point that was reinforced to me over and over again by the pediatricians is the best place for a sick child is at home. And, with regard to school -- after 24 fever-free hours without the aid of medications, he or she can go back.
This is the advice that my wife and I will be following this fall for our own children. Hope it is helpful to you, and the media can score an "A,"
(This is about the vax from 1976)
Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease
A warning that the swine flu vaccine has been linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the UK Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.
The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, was leaked to The Daily Mail, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.
It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine. GBS attacks the lining of the nerves, causing paralysis and inability to breathe, and can be fatal.
The letter refers to the use of a similar swine flu vaccine in the United States in 1976 when:
•More people died from the vaccination than from swine flu
•The vaccine may have increased the risk of contracting GBS by eight times
•The vaccine was withdrawn after just ten weeks when the link with GBS became clear
•The U.S. Government was forced to pay out millions of dollars to those affected
Concerns have already been raised that the new vaccine has not been sufficiently tested and that the effects, especially on children, are unknown.
The Daily Mail August 15, 2009
(the reply from mercola)
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
As mentioned in this article, the 1976 swine flu vaccine campaign caused more harm than good, and there are indications that the current campaign may end up being a devastating repeat or worse.
At that time, one person died from the actual swine flu, while 25 people died from adverse reactions to the vaccine, and several hundred people developed crippling Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
According to The Daily Mail, the British Health Protection Agency sent letters to 600 neurologists on July 29th, warning them to be on the lookout for cases of Guillain- Barré Syndrome once the swine flu vaccine campaign begins.
Why the warning was not sent out to general practitioners, who will be administering the shot, seems an odd choice if public safety is indeed the main concern.
This confidential correspondence between the British public health agency and neurologists in the U.K. is the first clue that all is probably not well with this fast-tracked pandemic vaccine.
Are You Willing to Let Them Experiment on Your Child?
According to a recent report from CNN, the U.S. is set to receive as many as 600 million doses of swine flu vaccine, enough for 300 million Americans.
Based on the recommendations from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) advisory group on immunization matters, the top priority groups that stand to receive the vaccine first include:
•Children over the age of 6 months with chronic health conditions
•Adults with chronic health conditions such as chronic respiratory disease, asthma, or obesity
•Health care workers
However, pregnant women, children, and those whose immune systems are already compromised are also at even greater risk to suffer severe side effects from the vaccine, as the adjuvants in the vaccine are designed to reduce your immune function.
Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) recently warned about the campaign underway to turn schools into virtual vaccination clinics. In many U.S. states, school has already started, so the decision of whether or not to vaccinate your child may become an issue you’ll have to deal with in the coming weeks.
Swine Flu Drug of Choice Causes Side Effects in Half of All Children
In the U.K. the hysteria over swine flu led to flu drugs being offered online, without a doctor’s prescription. This is incomprehensible, considering their risk. Just a couple of weeks ago I reported on brand new study findings that the swine flu drug of choice, Tamiflu, caused one or more side effects in OVER HALF of all children who received it!
Side effects included:
•Nausea – 29 percent
•Stomach pain or cramps – 20 percent
•Neuropsychiatric side effects including inability to think clearly, nightmares, and “strange behavior” – nearly 20 percent
•Sleep problems – 12 percent
The British Medical Association’s lead expert on swine flu went on the record stating that Tamiflu is now being overused.
Keep in mind that, although the swine flu has spread across the world it appears to have decreased in severity. The vast majority of cases are very mild, requiring only a few days in bed.
In fact, the regular seasonal flu is still far worse, and more deadly, than the swine flu.
How Vaccines Can Cause so Much Harm
The intended effect of a vaccination is to help you build immunity to a potentially harmful organism. However, your body’s immune system is already designed to do this in response to organisms that invade your body naturally.
Most disease-causing organisms enter your body through the mucous membranes of your nose, mouth, pulmonary system or your digestive tract. These mucous membranes have their own immune system, called the IgA immune system, which fights off invading organisms at the point of entry, reducing or even eliminating the need for activation of your body’s immune system.
A vaccination, however, delivers either live or attenuated (dead) viruses directly into your tissues and blood stream through injection, completely bypassing your body’s first line of defense. And when combined with an immune adjuvant, your body’s immune system kicks into high gear in response to the vaccination. If your immune system is too weak to deal with the assault, severe side effects can occur.
Injecting organisms into your body to provoke immunity is contrary to nature, and vaccination carries enormous potential to do serious damage to your health.
To emphasize this point further, when ingested, the vaccine adjuvant squalene is actually recognized by your immune system as an oil molecule native to your body. It has antioxidant properties and is found throughout your nervous system and brain.
The difference between “good” and “bad” squalene is the route by which it enters your body. Injection is an abnormal route of entry which incites your immune system to attack all the squalene in your body, not just the vaccine adjuvant.
As a result, your immune system will attempt to destroy the molecule wherever it finds it, including in places where it occurs naturally, and where it is vital to the health of your nervous system.
For more information about squalene, and the hazards it poses when included in flu shots, please review my recent special report on the topic, if you have not already done so.
Is Silver a Good Choice for the Swine Flu?
While I believe colloidal silver does have some merit, there may be significant problems in using it for swine flu. We were initially going to carry one of the finest silver products in our store, but I recently learned of new information that changed my mind.
While silver will likely work to kill the swine flu virus, in many healthy individuals it is likely to elicit a severe cytokine storm reaction. This is basically a severe allergic inflammatory reaction that can occur in your lungs, and could be fatal.
Additionally, silver is a heavy metal and there is no need for it in your body. So when used acutely it may have benefit, but in the long run you will need to eliminate the silver ions in your body with some type of detoxification process.
I am currently consulting with some of the leading experts on a swine flu product that I hope to have by the end of the year that will use completely natural ingredients that build your immune system, and will not result in a potentially fatal cytokine storm.
In the Meantime Consider Vitamin D as it Prevents Seasonal Flu
Just last week I reported on Canada’s decision to investigate the role of vitamin D in protection against the swine flu. This is great, but there are already overwhelming evidence showing that your vitamin D levels play a significant role in your likelihood of getting the flu.
Vitamin D has been a hot research topic these past few years, and has been shown to have remarkable impact on nearly every single disease studied.
Here is a list of four studies published this year, showing an inverse association between respiratory tract infections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:
1.A 2007 study suggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin D deficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due to respiratory infection than did control subjects.
2.A 2009 study on vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of all newborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state.
Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of developing ALRI, and since the child’s vitamin D level strongly correlates with its mother’s, the researchers recommend that all mothers’ optimize their vitamin D levels during pregnancy, especially in the winter months, to safeguard their baby’s health.
3.A 2009 analysis of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey examined the association between vitamin D levels and recent upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in nearly 19,000 subjects over the age of 12.
Recent URTI was reported by:
◦17 percent of participants with vitamin D levels of 30 ng/ml or higher
◦20 percent of participants with vitamin D levels between 10-30 ng/ml.
◦24 percent of participants with vitamin D levels below 10 ng/ml
The positive correlation between lower vitamin D levels and increased risk of URTI was even stronger in individuals with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
4.Another 2009 report in the journal Pediatric Research stated that infants and children appear more susceptible to viral rather than bacterial infections when deficient in vitamin D. And that, based on the available evidence showing a strong connection between vitamin D, infections, and immune function in children, vitamin D supplementation may be a valuable therapy in pediatric medicine.
Granted, so far none of the research has focused on vitamin D’s impact on pandemic flu. If your body has never been exposed to the antigens there is chance that vitamin D might not be enough.
However, there’s no evidence suggesting that vitamin D supplementation would cause you any harm or make your illness any worse.
On the contrary, if you are coming down with flu-like symptoms and have not supplemented with vitamin D, Dr. Cannell, one of the world’s leading vitamin D experts, recommends taking 50,000 IU’s a day for three days to treat the acute infection.
Some researchers, including Dr. Cannell, believe the dose could even be as high as 1,000 units per pound of body weight for three days.
Ultimately, your best bet is to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D around 60 ng/ml year-round. Please note that this is far higher than most doctors will refer to as “normal.” Rather it is the optimal level you’ll want to maintain for disease prevention.
I strongly recommend you watch my one-hour free vitamin D lecture along with my video on vitamin D’s role in flu prevention for more in-depth information about vitamin D’s role in flu prevention.
Taking care of your health to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting the flu is always going to be your safest bet. In addition to optimizing your vitamin D levels, this past article details my other recommendations for avoiding the flu naturally, and I strongly urge you to start incorporating these changes into your life today.