05-11-2009 / Fluvirin – Fighting Against Influenza
04-30-2009 / Fluzone For Children
04-14-2009 / Flu Vaccines And Protein Chemistry
04-10-2009 / X Ray, Viral Structure And Flu Vaccines.
04-07-2009 / The History Of Influenza
04-06-2009 / Flu Vaccine Contamination And Quality Control
03-22-2009 / Egg Allergies And Flu Vaccines
03-12-2009 / Australian Discovery May Improve Existing Vaccines
03-06-2009 / How Humidity Affects Flu Outbreaks
03-05-2009 / Preservative-Free Flu Shots
03-04-2009 / Flu Strains Developing Resistance to Tamiflu
03-03-2009 / The History Of Influenza
02-23-2009 / Preservative-Free Flu Vaccines
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Influenza is a potentially fatal disease, affecting millions each year. The best way to protect against it is by antivirus influenza immunization. Fluvirin, produced by the company, Novartis, is a Thimerosal-preserved, inactivated influenza-vaccine.
Fluvirin is recommended everyone above the age of 18 to protect against influenza, commonly known as the “flu”. Influenza is a disease cause by the influenza types A and B. The vaccine has an inactivated influenza virus which aids to strengthen the immune system against the disease.
Great precaution should be taken in administering Fluvirin. It isn’t recommended for anyone with allergies, especially egg allergies or egg-product allergies since the virus is matured in chicken egg. People with life-threatening ailments or disorders which involve neurological disorder should not get the vaccine. It isn’t recommended for children younger than 18 years of age.
There are some minor side effects of the vaccine which includes tenderness, swelling, pain, redness, headache, fatigue and malaise. The side effects are very minor and shouldn’t be a cause of concern.
Fluvirin can be found in 5 ml multi dose vials, which consist of 10 doses and in Thimerosal free single dose syringes. A single dose is 0.5 ml that is administered intra-muscularly. It should also not be given in combination with other drugs and/or treatments.
It is not considered advisable for pregnant mothers, nursing mothers, pediatric use under the age of four and geriatric (age greater than 75 years) use. People who live in high-risk areas, have a medical occupation, during travel abroad, people who work in old-homes or long-term care centers are normally advised to get the complete influenza treatment Fluvirin provides. It is normally administered in September or October of a year, and provides protection for the next 365 days. Next year, another dose is followed up which protects against the strain of virus that is expected to be prevalent that year.
Influenza or flu is a contagious viral respiratory infection that usually occurs during the winter months in the northern hemisphere and all year round in the southern hemisphere. All age groups are affected by flu; however, children have the highest rate of infection. Serious illness and death due to flu usually occurs in extremes of age, those over 65 years or under 2 years.
The best way to protect against flu is through flu vaccines. The flu vaccine is composed of two flu “A” sub types and one flu “B” sub type. The viral sub types contained in the flu vaccines usually changes each year. The flu viruses for both vaccine preparations are grown in eggs. Therefore, the vaccines are contraindicated in individuals with severe allergy to eggs.
Babies and children aged six months through 8 years who need to be given 2 doses of pediatric flu vaccine, administered at least one month apart, if it’s their first dose. The children in this category are advised to get their first flu shot at the earliest, to allow sufficient gap between the first and second prescribed dose.
A type of pediatric flu vaccine that is sprayed in the nose of infants is supposed to be more protective against the disease, and is also considered safer by health professionals worldwide.
The trivalent inactivated adult flu vaccine can be administered to all adult age groups and risk populations. It is recommended that the vaccine be administered yearly to children older than 6 months of age at risk for complications from flu. Vaccine is administered intramuscularly into the deltoid muscle of adults. Adults older than 9 years of age are administered once yearly a single dose of the adult flu vaccine to protect against the strains of influenza.
If you are concerned about a preservative free flu vaccination for your child, Fluzone is the answer. Manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, this product is free of Thimerosal, the preservative found in multiple doing influenza products. The Food and Drug Administration has approved Fluzone preservative free flu shots for children who have attained six months of age or older. These are pre-dosed, individual syringes for intra-muscular injection, thereby eliminating the need for a cross-contaminant preservative. For vaccinating against strains A and B of the influenza virus, this is the option for those parents who are adamant about protecting their children from additives like Thimerosal.
The Fluzone syringes are identifiable by their bright pink plunger delivery system. The pink plunger will offer the parent a way to identify if the vaccine their child is receiving is a preservative free flu shot. There is no need to draw the vaccine from a multi-dose vial, so if you witness a vial draw taking place, you should interject immediately. All vial drawn, multi-dose influenza vaccines contain preservatives. Parents accompanying children for their vaccinations should be knowledgeable on which formulations are packaged and dispensed by the differing methodologies. If you have requested a preservative free flu shot for your child of six months or older, you should pay attention to the method and device being used.
Failing to obtain an influenza vaccination for your child based on a fear of preservatives is ill advised. The availability of the FDA approved, individually dosed Fluzone product for children’s vaccinations is the answer to these concerns. Even though a direct correlation between preservatives and possible effects of use is still being studied, having a preservative free alternative with Fluzone should provide every parent a level of comfort. Ask your pediatrician if a preservative free flu shot is available for your child before the next flu season arrives.
From the time Edward Jenner conceived of the idea of a vaccine, the science of vaccines has been based on a simple concept, that of using an organism similar to the pathogen to protect the patient from that pathogen. Jenner’s use of cowpox to immunize against smallpox is the classic example. But progressions in medical science and viral understanding have give us new tools for new vaccines, especially flu vaccines.
From that pioneering work of those first vaccines, it was quickly discovered that if a similar organism is unavailable, a weaker form of the original pathogen can get a response. This “attenuated” organism now forms the basis for most flu vaccines produced today. But there is a problem with this approach, one that we face each flu season.
The variability of the flu virus is legendary, so much so that there is no longer a single flu virus, but a host of similar strains that can produce the same disease. In contrast, take the disease of syphilis. It is caused by the same pathogen, a microorganism called T. palidium that has always caused the disease. But with a flu virus, attenuating virus A1 won’t protect you against virus A2, or A3, not to mention flu viruses B through Z. So the attenuation strategy for vaccine production becomes a large hammer that may or may not do what you are planning.
But now we enter the fascinating world of protein chemistry. The thing that changes about a virus is the protein coat of the flu virus. Because this is not a whole scale mutation, the change can occur rapidly. And to add to the insidious nature of the virus, it may not be even the whole protein.
The protein structure has pieces, and that discovery may lead directly to the a new vaccine. It has been discovered that a viral protein called hemagluttin, changes the protein “head,” leading to new viral coats which means a new viral type. But the stalk that the “head” is stuck on does not change.
Vaccines are now in development that target that stalk. Once it reaches a successfully and practical format, we may be able to produce a single vaccine that will work for multiple viruses no matter how much they change.
You may remember that flu vaccines are currently directed against specific viruses, or against a group of several specific viruses. The analysis of which virus a population may or may not be exposed to is a critical part of the annual push to develop each year’s vaccine. All of this has to be done months before the flu season starts.
If this seems to be a bit of a clinical crap shoot, you are right. And making the wrong choice can mean the development of a vaccine that is ineffective against that season’s primary flu virus.
Researchers now are looking for similarities among different virus species and hope to use those similarities to make a new generation of vaccines. They are using new x-ray technology to look, and they have seen something that is rather promising.
X-rays are energy and really do not conform to our ideas of size and dimension. The are more like light or radio waves than anything else. And when was the last time you had to make room for more light? Viruses, while incredibly small, are still things with size and shape. And the proteins on them, the very things that facilitate viral infections, have a shape too. This shape can be now seen using this new x-ray technology.
This is not the run of the mill X-ray that you receive at your local hospital. These x-rays take place at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory. Called an Advanced Photo Source or APS X-ray, this device has a "minibeam" of only a few microns in size. The "minibeam" allow scientists either to examine exceptionally tiny things - like proteins - or to "walk along" the protein by examining different places one by one, and then using that to make a larger picture.
By focusing on a protein called hemagglutinin, researchers have now seen that one part of the protein, the “head” is very different between viruses. That was to be expected. The researchers' new finding is the discovery that the “stalk,” the part behind the head, was the same among several viral species.
Research has now taken a new path, trying to develop a vaccine, not against an ever changing whole virus, but against this newly discovered common part. The first step toward a universal flu vaccine has been taken.
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