An experimental maternal vaccine for RSV from Pfizer, administered during pregnancy, was effective at preventing infants from developing severe symptoms from birth through their first six months, the company said.
- Unlike some other RSV vaccine candidates, Pfizer’s shot is administered during pregnancy, with the aim of transferring antibodies from mothers to infants.
- Other maternal vaccines include the flu shot, as well as one for tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.
The company said that it plans to file the data on the vaccine with regulators by the end of the year, with the hope of having it available by next winter.
There are currently no vaccines available for RSV, and the only treatment is monoclonal antibodies, usually reserved for extremely high-risk cases, including infants born prematurely or those with chronic diseases related to the heart and lungs.
- According to Pfizer’s news release, the vaccine reduced the rate of severe illness in infants that required medical attention by about 82 percent through the first 90 days of life.
- That efficacy dropped to 69 percent over a baby’s first six months, meaning protection likely wanes as children get older.
RSV season usually occurs during colder weather, though it’s been hitting unusually hard and early this year, contributing to a wave of respiratory infections that is overwhelming children’s hospitals nationwide.
THREE EXPERIMENTAL EBOLA VACCINES HEAD TO UGANDA
Three experimental Ebola vaccine candidates are being shipped to Uganda to aid in combatting the ongoing outbreak in the country, which has so far seen 129 confirmed cases and 37 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health of Uganda.
The outbreak, caused by a version of the virus that originated in Sudan, has reached Uganda’s capital, Kampala, and is affecting six other districts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A different virus: There is an approved and available vaccine for a different type of Ebola virus, the species named “Zaire ebolavirus.” However, the species named “Sudan ebolavirus” does not have an approved vaccine available.
The three experimental vaccine candidates being sent to Uganda are currently in development to protect against that species. As they help fight the current outbreak, their use in the country will also supply additional data for clinical trials.
The shipment of the vaccine candidates is part of a large-scale coordinated effort between health agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the CDC, and the Ugandan government to fight the outbreak.
TELEMEDICINE MAY HAVE HELPED WITH RISING BLOOD PRESSURE DURING PANDEMIC: STUDY
The availability of telemedicine may have helped mitigate the rise in blood pressure levels that was observed during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study published on Tuesday.
- Researchers analyzed the electronic health records of 137,593 patients and found that blood pressure levels noticeably increased in the eight months after stay-at-home orders were issued in comparison to the roughly 18-month period before the pandemic.
- The amount of people with controlled blood pressure — levels that are below what is considered to be high blood pressure — also dropped by about
3.4 percentage points in this same time frame.
Even though a worsening in blood pressure was observed, the NIH noted that the results of the study were not as bad as would be expected. The agency attributed this to the “rapid adoption of telemedicine and home blood pressure monitoring.”
“We expected blood pressure control to be worse due to decreased physical activity, stress, poor sleep, and other cardiovascular disease risk factors that worsened during the pandemic,” study leader Hiroshi Gotanda said. “But the results were better than we expected, probably because the use of telemedicine and home monitoring of blood pressure.”
FDA reports shortages of amoxicillin
A type of amoxicillin used by children is in short supply in the U.S., according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Amoxicillin comes as a capsule, a tablet, a chewable tablet and as a liquid to be taken by mouth, depending on the age of the patient. The FDA listed the liquid form of the drug, which is used by young children, in its drug shortage database.
Hikma Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, have all reported shortages of various doses of amoxicillin, which is most commonly used to treat bacterial infections in children.
The FDA’s website lists increased demand as the reason for shortages at Hikma, Teva, Aurobindo and Rising.
A shortage at a fifth company, Sandoz, was listed as “other.”
The FDA only lists drugs on its website once it has confirmed that “overall market demand is not being met by the manufacturers of the product.”
An agency spokesperson told The Hill on Oct. 26 it did not consider amoxicillin to be in shortage because at least one manufacturer was able to fully supply market demand.