Vaccines2015, 3(1), 137-147; doi:10.3390/vaccines3010137 (registering DOI) - published 26 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Immunization of health care workers (HCWs) against influenza has been associated with improvements in patient safety. The aim of this study is to assess the beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge of HCWs and health profession students regarding influenza. An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to HCWs in three local Florentine healthcare units, at Careggi University Teaching Hospital, and to students in health profession degree programs. A total of 2576 questionnaires were fully completed. A total of 12.3% of subjects responded that they were “always vaccinated” in all three of the seasonal vaccination campaigns studied (2007–2008 to 2009–2010), 13.1% had been vaccinated once or twice, and 74.6% had not received vaccinations. Although the enrolled subjects tended to respond that they were “never vaccinated,” they considered influenza to be a serious illness and believed that the influenza vaccine is effective. The subjects who refused vaccination more frequently believed that the vaccine could cause influenza and that it could have serious side effects. More than 60% of the “always vaccinated” group completely agreed that HCWs should be vaccinated. Self-protection and protecting family members or other people close to the respondent from being infected and representing potential sources of influenza infection can be considered motivating factors for vaccination. The results highlight the importance of improving vaccination rates among all HCWs through multi-component interventions. Knowledge of influenza should be reinforced.
Abstract: The successful isolation of a human influenza virus in 1933 was soon followed by the first attempts to develop an influenza vaccine. Nowadays, vaccination is still the most effective method to prevent human influenza disease. However, licensed influenza vaccines offer protection against antigenically matching viruses, and the composition of these vaccines needs to be updated nearly every year. Vaccines that target conserved epitopes of influenza viruses would in principle not require such updating and would probably have a considerable positive impact on global human health in case of a pandemic outbreak. The extracellular domain of Matrix 2 (M2e) protein is an evolutionarily conserved region in influenza A viruses and a promising epitope for designing a universal influenza vaccine. Here we review the seminal and recent studies that focused on M2e as a vaccine antigen. We address the mechanism of action and the clinical development of M2e-vaccines. Finally, we try to foresee how M2e-based vaccines could be implemented clinically in the future.
Abstract: The potency of vaccines must be determined to ensure that the appropriate dose is given. The manufacture and assessment of influenza vaccines are complicated by the continuously changing nature of the pathogen, which makes efficacy estimates difficult but also confounds attempts to produce a well-validated, consistent potency assay. Single radial diffusion has been used for decades and provides a relatively simple way to measure the amount of biologically active materials present in the vaccine. It requires reagents, which are updated on a regular, frequently yearly, basis and alternative methods continue to be sought.
Abstract: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects B-, T-, and NK cells and has been associated not only with a wide range of lymphoid malignancies but also with autoimmune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis and, in particular, multiple sclerosis. Hence, effective immunotherapeutic approaches to eradicate EBV infection might overthrow cancer and autoimmunity incidence. However, currently no effective anti-EBV immunotherapy is available. Here we use the concept that protein immunogenicity is allocated in rare peptide sequences and search the Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) sequence for peptides unique to the viral protein and absent in the human host. We report on a set of unique EBV EBNA1 peptides that might be used in designing peptide-based therapies able to specifically hitting the virus or neutralizing pathogenic autoantibodies.
Abstract: Influenza A virus in swine (IAV-S) is one of the most important infectious disease agents of swine in North America. In addition to the economic burden of IAV-S to the swine industry, the zoonotic potential of IAV-S sometimes leads to serious public health concerns. Adjuvanted, inactivated vaccines have been licensed in the United States for over 20 years, and there is also widespread usage of autogenous/custom IAV-S vaccines. Vaccination induces neutralizing antibodies and protection against infection with very similar strains. However, IAV-S strains are so diverse and prone to mutation that these vaccines often have disappointing efficacy in the field. This scientific review was developed to help veterinarians and others to identify the best available IAV-S vaccine for a particular infected herd. We describe key principles of IAV-S structure and replication, protective immunity, currently available vaccines, and vaccine technologies that show promise for the future. We discuss strategies to optimize the use of available IAV-S vaccines, based on information gathered from modern diagnostics and surveillance programs. Improvements in IAV-S immunization strategies, in both the short term and long term, will benefit swine health and productivity and potentially reduce risks to public health.