Two new strains to be used in 2006-07 flu vaccine

first_imgMar 1, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Global and US health authorities have recommended two new influenza virus strains for use in the flu vaccine for the 2006-07 season.Last week the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) selected a “Wisconsin” strain of influenza A(H3N2) and a “Malaysia” strain of influenza B for next season. They will replace a “California” strain of H3N2 and a “Shanghai” strain of influenza B used in the current vaccine.The “New Caledonia” strain of influenza A(H1N1) virus used in this year’s vaccine should be used again next season as the third component of the trivalent vaccine, the ACIP said. (The strain’s full name is A/New Caledonia/20/99[H1N1].)The ACIP, which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), followed recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in picking the strains. The CDC routinely follows the ACIP recommendations on flu vaccines.Each February the WHO assesses the flu virus strains in circulation before picking the strains for the next Northern Hemisphere flu season. In a Feb 14 report on its recommendation concerning the H3N2 strain to be used, the WHO said, “Many recent isolates were antigenically similar to the current reference virus, A/California/7/2004, but an increasing proportion of recent viruses was more closely related to A/Wisconsin/67/2005.”Likewise, the WHO said the majority of recent influenza B isolates were similar to the strain B/Malaysia/2506/2004, rather than to the B/Shanghai/361/2002 strain used in this year’s vaccine. The Malaysia strain is antigenically equivalent to B/Ohio/1/2005, according to the CDC.A year ago, health authorities picked only one new strain for the 2005-06 flu vaccine, keeping the other two the same. According to a recent Reuters report, a spokesman for a leading vaccine manufacturer said changing two of the strains in next season’s vaccine may make production less predictable.”It does put more uncertainty into the total number of doses you’re producing at any one time,” Albert Thomas, director of vaccine manufacturing for Sanofi Pasteur, was quoted as saying. His company has been the biggest supplier for the US market in recent years.The strains to include in each season’s vaccine must be chosen early in the year because it takes roughly 6 months to produce the vaccine. The viruses used in vaccines are grown in chicken eggs.The WHO report said global flu activity from October 2005 through January 2006 was low compared with recent years. Several countries had outbreaks of H3N2 influenza, but H1N1 and B viruses caused only scattered cases in most countries, the agency said.See also:Feb 23 CDC news release on ACIP actions, including flu vaccine recommendation report on recommendation for 2006-07 vaccine 17, 2005, CIDRAP News story “FDA approves adding new strain to flu vaccine”last_img read more

Daily pot smoking on U.S. college campuses at 35-year high: study

first_imgReuters 1 September 2015The number of U.S. college students smoking marijuana every day or nearly every day is greater than it has been in 35 years, according to a study released on Tuesday.Nearly 6 percent of college students reported using pot daily or near-daily in 2014, up from 3.5 percent in 2007 but less than the 7.2 percent recorded in 1980, the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study found.Less frequent pot smoking was also on the rise, according to the study, although not as sharply.“It’s clear that for the past seven or eight years there has been an increase in marijuana use among the nation’s college students,” said Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal author. “And this largely parallels an increase we have been seeing among high school seniors.”Loosened marijuana policies in states across the country have likely contributed to a rise in use by teens and young adults, who increasingly perceive the drug as harmless, the study said.In 2014, 35 percent of 19-to-22-year-old high school graduates said they thought regular marijuana use was dangerous compared to 55 percent in 2006, the study said.Nationwide, attitudes about marijuana have notably changed recently, with Colorado and Washington state voting to legalize recreational use in 2012 and Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia following suit.The percentage of college students using any illicit drug also rose to 41 percent in 2014, compared to 34 percent in 2006, an increase driven mostly by the uptick in marijuana use, the study said. read more

Badgers kick off playoffs against Mavericks

first_imgBrooke Ammerman posted six points in the final series of the regular season against Ohio State on two goals and four assists. Ammerman leads UW with 41 assists and is second with 68 points.[/media-credit]After ending the regular season with a disappointing loss to Ohio State last weekend, the Wisconsin women’s hockey team is eager to begin postseason play.The Badgers (29-3-2, 23-3-2 WCHA) will host Mankato State (7-25-1, 3-24-1) in the first round of the WCHA tournament this weekend. Finishing the regular season with a record of 23-3-2 in conference, UW earned the top seed in the tournament.The Mavericks had a more challenging season, winning only three games against conference opponents. But Wisconsin’s head coach Mark Johnson recognizes that with the end of the regular season, past success no longer makes a difference.“It’s a playoff atmosphere. Everyone is at the starting gate; everyone has the same record, so it’s competition,” Johnson said. “You have to be at a high level, be consistent and eliminate teams, and that is always hard to do.”Consistency is one thing Wisconsin displayed throughout its season both offensively and defensively. With six Badger players posting more than 20 points, the Mavericks will have to shut down multiple scorers in order to be successful.Forward Brooke Ammerman is coming off a six-point weekend against Ohio State and was named co-WCHA offensive player of the week Wednesday. The senior leads the team with 41 assists and is tied for third in the nation in points with 68.In their defensive zone, the Badgers have been equally successful. Sophomore goaltender Alex Rigsby co-leads the nation in save percentage at .950 and has recorded seven shutouts thus far.With junior defensemen Stefanie McKeough back in the lineup, the depth of Wisconsin’s defense will be tough to break down.“We have an anchor with Rigsby in the back, so it gives you confidence knowing she is there if you make a mistake,” McKeough said. “We have a lot of depth with the seven of us back there, so anytime one of us is down, the others can get the energy back going.”McKeough returned to the ice Feb. 12 after suffering an upper body injury but looked like she hadn’t missed a shift. She has scored a goal and assisted on two since returning.The Mavericks have put their tough regular season behind them and will likely be ready to make a run at defeating their top-ranked opponent.Entering the playoffs, the Badgers have one big advantage over their opponents: experience. All but four of their players – the freshmen – were a part of last year’s national championship team and know what it takes to be successful.“Our younger players will be able to watch the older girls and [that] will certainly help to settle them down,” Johnson said. “Nothing can buy that, so it’s going to be important.”This weekend’s best-of-three series will take place at the Eagle’s Nest in Verona, Wis., an arena that has sold out WCHA playoff games in the past.“A lot of us really enjoy being out there,” McKeough said. “We have the opportunity to play there in the summer time, so we are familiar with the rink. Obviously we love playing at the Kohl Center, but it’s about the same size rink. We do enjoy it.”Having put the 4-2 loss against Ohio State behind it, Wisconsin has remained focused on the road ahead during practice. Johnson said a focus on successful power plays and penalty kills this past week will be crucial in this weekend’s games.“[Players] have to understand that when they are one the ice they have to be able to execute, that’s the big thing being able to do it under pressure,” Johnson said. “We will find out a lot about the team this weekend.”last_img read more