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1.  Preservation of the Immunogenicity of Dry-powder Influenza H5N1 Whole Inactivated Virus Vaccine at Elevated Storage Temperatures 
The AAPS Journal  2010;12(2):215-222.
Stockpiling of pre-pandemic influenza vaccines guarantees immediate vaccine availability to counteract an emerging pandemic. Generally, influenza vaccines need to be stored and handled refrigerated to prevent thermal degradation of the antigenic component. Requirement of a cold-chain, however, complicates stockpiling and the logistics of vaccine distribution. We, therefore, investigated the effect of elevated storage temperatures on the immunogenicity of a pre-pandemic influenza A H5N1 whole inactivated virus vaccine. Either suspended in liquid or kept as a freeze-dried powder, vaccines could be stored for 1 year at ambient temperature (20°C) with minimal loss of immunogenicity in mice. Elevation of the storage temperature to 40°C, however, resulted in a significant loss of immunogenic potency within 3 months if vaccines were stored in liquid suspension. In sharp contrast, freeze-dried powder formulations were stable at 40°C for at least 3 months. The presence of inulin or trehalose sugar excipients during freeze-drying of the vaccine proved to be critical to maintain its immunogenic potency during storage, and to preserve the characteristic Th1-type response to whole inactivated virus vaccine. These results indicate that whole inactivated virus vaccines may be stored and handled at room temperature in moderate climate zones for over a year with minimal decline and, if converted to dry-powder, even in hot climate zones for at least 3 months. The increased stability of dry-powder vaccine at 40°C may also point to an extended shelf-life when stored at 4°C. Use of the more stable dry-powder formulation could simplify stockpiling and thereby facilitating successful pandemic intervention.
doi:10.1208/s12248-010-9179-z
PMCID: PMC2844510  PMID: 20195930
freeze-drying; inulin; pandemic influenza; vaccine stockpiling; whole inactivated influenza vaccine (H5N1)
2.  Development of Stable Influenza Vaccine Powder Formulations: Challenges and Possibilities 
Pharmaceutical Research  2008;25(6):1256-1273.
Influenza vaccination represents the cornerstone of influenza prevention. However, today all influenza vaccines are formulated as liquids that are unstable at ambient temperatures and have to be stored and distributed under refrigeration. In order to stabilize influenza vaccines, they can be brought into the dry state using suitable excipients, stabilizers and drying processes. The resulting stable influenza vaccine powder is independent of cold-chain facilities. This can be attractive for the integration of the vaccine logistics with general drug distribution in Western as well as developing countries. In addition, a stockpile of stable vaccine formulations of potential vaccines against pandemic viruses can provide an immediate availability and simple distribution of vaccine in a pandemic outbreak. Finally, in the development of new needle-free dosage forms, dry and stable influenza vaccine powder formulations can facilitate new or improved targeting strategies for the vaccine compound. This review represents the current status of dry stable inactivated influenza vaccine development. Attention is given to the different influenza vaccine types (i.e. whole inactivated virus, split, subunit or virosomal vaccine), the rationale and need for stabilized influenza vaccines, drying methods by which influenza vaccines can be stabilized (i.e. lyophilization, spray drying, spray-freeze drying, vacuum drying or supercritical fluid drying), the current status of dry influenza vaccine development and the challenges for ultimate market introduction of a stable and effective dry-powder influenza vaccine.
doi:10.1007/s11095-008-9559-6
PMCID: PMC2346510  PMID: 18338241
analytical challenges; influenza vaccine; lyophilization; needle-free dosage forms; spray drying; spray-freeze drying; stability; stock piling for pandemics; virosomes
3.  Solid Bioneedle-Delivered Influenza Vaccines Are Highly Thermostable and Induce Both Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92806.
The potential of bioneedles to deliver influenza vaccines was investigated. Four influenza vaccine formulations were screened to determine the optimal formulation for use with bioneedles. The stability of the formulations after freeze-drying was checked to predict the stability of the influenza vaccines in the bioneedles. Subunit, split, virosomal and whole inactivated influenza (WIV) vaccine were formulated and lyophilized in bioneedles, and subsequently administered to C57BL/6 mice. Humoral and cellular immune responses were assessed after vaccination. The thermostability of lyophilized vaccines was determined after one-month storage at elevated temperatures. Bioneedle influenza vaccines induced HI titers that are comparable to those induced by intramuscular WIV vaccination. Delivery by bioneedles did not alter the type of immune response induced by the influenza vaccines. Stability studies showed that lyophilized influenza vaccines have superior thermostability compared to conventional liquid vaccines, and remained stable after one-month storage at 60°C. Influenza vaccines delivered by bioneedles are a viable alternative to conventional liquid influenza vaccines. WIV was determined to be the most potent vaccine formulation for administration by bioneedles. Lyophilized influenza vaccines in bioneedles are independent of a cold-chain, due to their increased thermostability, which makes distribution and stockpiling easier.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092806
PMCID: PMC3966824  PMID: 24671048
4.  Optimizing the Dose of Pre-Pandemic Influenza Vaccines to Reduce the Infection Attack Rate 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(6):e218.
Background
The recent spread of avian influenza in wild birds and poultry may be a precursor to the emergence of a 1918-like human pandemic. Therefore, stockpiles of human pre-pandemic vaccine (targeted at avian strains) are being considered. For many countries, the principal constraint for these vaccine stockpiles will be the total mass of antigen maintained. We tested the hypothesis that lower individual doses (i.e., less than the recommended dose for maximum protection) may provide substantial extra community-level benefits because they would permit wider vaccine coverage for a given total size of antigen stockpile.
Methods and Findings
We used a mathematical model to predict infection attack rates under different policies. The model incorporated both an individual's response to vaccination at different doses and the process of person-to-person transmission of pandemic influenza. We found that substantial reductions in the attack rate are likely if vaccines are given to more people at lower doses. These results are applicable to all three vaccine candidates for which data are available. As a guide to the magnitude of the effect, we simulated epidemics based on historical studies of immunogenicity. For example, for one of the vaccines for which data are available, the attack rate would drop from 67.6% to 58.7% if 160 out of the total US population of 300 million were given an optimal dose rather than 20 out of 300 million given the maximally protective dose (as promulgated in the US National Pandemic Preparedness Plan). Our results are conservative with respect to a number of alternative assumptions about the precise nature of vaccine protection. We also considered a model variant that includes a single high-risk subgroup representing children. For smaller stockpile sizes that allow vaccine to be offered only to the high-risk group at the optimal dose, the predicted benefits of using the homogenous model formed a lower bound in the presence of a risk group, even when the high-risk group was twice as infective and twice as susceptible.
Conclusions
In addition to individual-level protection (i.e., vaccine efficacy), the population-level implications of pre-pandemic vaccine programs should be considered when deciding on stockpile size and dose. Our results suggest that a lower vaccine dose may be justified in order to increase population coverage, thereby reducing the infection attack rate overall.
Steven Riley and colleagues examine the potential benefits of "stretching" a limited supply of vaccine and suggest that substantial reductions in the attack rate are possible if vaccines are given to more people at lower doses.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza, a viral infection of the nose, throat, and airways. Most recover quickly, but the disease can be deadly. In the US, seasonal influenza outbreaks (epidemics) cause 36,000 excess deaths annually. And now there are fears that an avian (bird) influenza virus might trigger a human influenza pandemic—a global epidemic that could kill millions. Seasonal epidemics occur because flu viruses continually make small changes to their hemagglutinin and neuraminidase molecules, the viral proteins (antigens) that the immune system recognizes. Because of this “antigenic drift,” an immune system response (which can be induced by catching flu or by vaccination with disabled circulating influenza strains) that combats flu one year may provide only partial protection the next year. “Antigenic shift” (large changes in flu antigens) can cause pandemics because communities have no immunity to the changed virus.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although avian influenza virus, which contains a hemagglutinin type that differs from currently circulating human flu viruses, has caused a few cases of human influenza, it has not started a human pandemic yet because it cannot move easily between people. If it acquires this property, which will probably involve further small antigenic changes, it could kill millions of people before scientists can develop an effective vaccine against it. To provide some interim protection, many countries are preparing stockpiles of “pre-pandemic” vaccines targeted against the avian virus. The US, for example, plans to store enough pre-pandemic vaccine to provide maximum protection to 20 million people (including key health workers) out of its population of 300 million. But, given a limited stockpile of pre-pandemic vaccine, might giving more people a lower dose of vaccine, which might reduce the number of people susceptible to infection and induce herd immunity by preventing efficient transmission of the flu virus, be a better way to limit the spread of pandemic influenza? In this study, the researchers have used mathematical modeling to investigate this question.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
To predict the infection rates associated with different vaccination policies, the researchers developed a mathematical model that incorporates data on human immune responses induced with three experimental vaccines against the avian virus and historical data on the person–person transmission of previous pandemic influenza viruses. For all the vaccines, the model predicts that giving more people a low dose of the vaccine would limit the spread of influenza better than giving fewer people the high dose needed for full individual protection. For example, the researchers estimate that dividing the planned US stockpile of one experimental vaccine equally between 160 million people instead of giving it at the fully protective dose to 20 million people might avert about 27 million influenza cases in less than year. However, giving the maximally protective dose to the 9 million US health-care workers and using the remaining vaccine at a lower dose to optimize protection within the general population might avert only 14 million infections.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, given a limited stockpile of pre-pandemic vaccine, increasing the population coverage of vaccination by using low doses of vaccine might reduce the overall influenza infection rate more effectively than vaccinating fewer people with fully protective doses of vaccine. However, because the researchers' model includes many assumptions, it can only give an indication of how different strategies might perform, not firm numbers for how many influenza cases each strategy is likely to avert. Before public-health officials use this or a similar model to help them decide the best way to use pre-pandemic vaccines to control a human influenza pandemic, they will need more information about the efficacy of these vaccines and about transmission rates of currently circulating viruses. They will also need to know whether pre-pandemic vaccines actually provide good protection against the pandemic virus, as assumed in this study, before they can recommend mass immunization with low doses of pre-pandemic vaccine, selective vaccination with high doses, or a mixed strategy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040218.
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on influenza and influenza vaccination for patients and health professionals (in English, Spanish, Filipino, Chinese, and Vietnamese)
The World Health Organization has a fact sheet on influenza and on the global response to avian influenza (in English, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, and Chinese)
The MedlinePlus online encyclopedia devotes a page to flu (in English and Spanish)
The UK Health Protection Agency information on avian, pandemic, and seasonal influenza
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a comprehensive feature called “focus on the flu”
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040218
PMCID: PMC1892041  PMID: 17579511
5.  Novel dry powder preparations of whole inactivated influenza virus for nasal vaccination 
AAPS PharmSciTech  2007;8(4):2-10.
The purpose of these studies was to enhance mucosal and systemic antibody production in response to increased local residence time of a whole inactivated influenza virus administered as a dry powder nasal vaccine formulation. Spray-freeze-drying (SFD) particles suitable for nasal delivery were characterized for physico-chemical properties and stability. Mucoadhesive compounds (MA) were characterized for their effects on nasal residence time of vaccine powders in rats compared with published in vitro data and elicited immune responses. SFD particles (D50=26.9µm) were spherical with a specific surface area of 1.25 m2/g. Thermal analysis indicated SFD powders were amorphous and demonstrated improved stability with respect to liquid formulations under various storage conditions. In vitro physico-chemical studies and in vivo scintigraphic imaging experiments indicated sodium alginate (SA) and carboxymethylcellulose-high molecular weight (CMC-HMW) powder formulations most significantly increased residence time in Brown Norway rats. Intramuscular delivery provided equivalent serum antibody titers to intranasal (IN) powder without MA, in the presence of CMC-HMW, SA, and hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC-HMW) after initial dosing and all formulations except IN powder with chitosan after boosting. IN liquid provided equivalent serum antibody titers to all IN powders after the initial vaccination and significantly greater serum antibody titers than IN powder with chitosan after boosting. Trends were consistent between residence time studies and immune response; however, no statistically significant differences between powder and liquid formulations were observed. It was concluded that enhanced serum and mucosal antibody responses were elicited by a dry powder nasal vaccine, specifically, administered in the presence of sodium alginate.
doi:10.1208/pt0804081
PMCID: PMC2750667  PMID: 17408218
intranasal; powder; influenza; vaccine; mucoadhesive; spray-freeze-drying
6.  Room Temperature Stabilization of Oral, Live Attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi-Vectored Vaccines 
Vaccine  2011;29(15):2761-2771.
Foam drying, a modified freeze drying process, was utilized to produce a heat-stable, live attenuated Salmonella Typhi ‘Ty21a’ bacterial vaccine. Ty21a vaccine was formulated with pharmaceutically approved stabilizers, including sugars, plasticizers, amino acids, and proteins. Growth media and harvesting conditions of the bacteria were also studied to enhance resistance to desiccation stress encountered during processing as well as subsequent storage at elevated temperatures. The optimized Ty21a vaccine, formulated with trehalose, methionine, and gelatin, demonstrated stability for approximately 12 weeks at 37°C (i.e., time required for the vaccine to decrease in potency by 1log10 CFU) and no loss in titer at 4 and 25°C following storage for the same duration. Furthermore, the foam dried Ty21a elicited a similar immunogenic response in mice as well as protection in challenge studies compared to Vivotif™, the commercial Ty21a vaccine. The enhanced heat stability of the Ty21a oral vaccine, or Ty21a derivatives expressing foreign antigens (e.g. anthrax), could mitigate risks of vaccine potency loss during long term storage, shipping, delivery to geographical areas with warmer climates or during emergency distribution following a bioterrorist attack. Because the foam drying process is conducted using conventional freeze dryers and can be readily implemented at any freeze drying manufacturing facility, this technology appears ready and appropriate for large scale processing of foam dried vaccines.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.01.093
PMCID: PMC3062996  PMID: 21300096
Salmonella; foam drying; freeze drying; oral vaccine; live bacterial vaccine; temperature-stability
7.  Superior Immunogenicity of Inactivated Whole Virus H5N1 Influenza Vaccine is Primarily Controlled by Toll-like Receptor Signalling 
PLoS Pathogens  2008;4(8):e1000138.
In the case of an influenza pandemic, the current global influenza vaccine production capacity will be unable to meet the demand for billions of vaccine doses. The ongoing threat of an H5N1 pandemic therefore urges the development of highly immunogenic, dose-sparing vaccine formulations. In unprimed individuals, inactivated whole virus (WIV) vaccines are more immunogenic and induce protective antibody responses at a lower antigen dose than other formulations like split virus (SV) or subunit (SU) vaccines. The reason for this discrepancy in immunogenicity is a long-standing enigma. Here, we show that stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) of the innate immune system, in particular stimulation of TLR7, by H5N1 WIV vaccine is the prime determinant of the greater magnitude and Th1 polarization of the WIV-induced immune response, as compared to SV- or SU-induced responses. This TLR dependency largely explains the relative loss of immunogenicity in SV and SU vaccines. The natural pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) recognized by TLR7 is viral genomic ssRNA. Processing of whole virus particles into SV or SU vaccines destroys the integrity of the viral particle and leaves the viral RNA prone to degradation or involves its active removal. Our results show for a classic vaccine that the acquired immune response evoked by vaccination can be enhanced and steered by the innate immune system, which is triggered by interaction of an intrinsic vaccine component with a pattern recognition receptor (PRR). The insights presented here may be used to further improve the immune-stimulatory and dose-sparing properties of classic influenza vaccine formulations such as WIV, and will facilitate the development of new, even more powerful vaccines to face the next influenza pandemic.
Author Summary
The rise and spread of the highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza virus has seriously increased the risk of a new influenza pandemic. However, the number of vaccine doses that can be produced with today's production capacity will fall short of the demand in times of a pandemic. Use of inactivated whole virus (WIV) vaccines, which are more immunogenic than split virus or subunit vaccines in an unprimed population, could contribute to a dose-sparing strategy. Yet, the mechanisms underlying the superior immunogenicity of WIV vaccine formulations are unknown. Here, we demonstrate that the viral RNA present in inactivated virus particles is crucial for the improved immunogenic properties of WIV in mice. By triggering Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7), the viral RNA activates innate immune mechanisms that augment and determine subsequent adaptive responses. Efficient TLR7 signalling is lost in split virus and subunit vaccines with the processing steps that lead to disruption of the integrity of the virus particle and exclusion of the RNA. Our results prove for the first time to our knowledge that the immune-potentiating mechanism of a classic vaccine is based on activation of the innate immune system by one of its structural components. These findings may reflect a general principle for viral vaccines and provide a rational basis for further improvement of influenza vaccines, which are urgently needed in the face of the current H5N1 pandemic threat.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000138
PMCID: PMC2516931  PMID: 18769719
8.  THE PREPARATION AND PROPERTIES OF INFLUENZA VIRUS VACCINES CONCENTRATED AND PURIFIED BY DIFFERENTIAL CENTRIFUGATION 
Influenza virus vaccines containing from 1 to 10 mg. of virus materials per cc. concentrated and purified from infectious allantoic fluids by means of one or two cycles of differential centrifugation and inactivated by different treatments have been prepared and subjected to laboratory tests. Suitable inactivation of the virus preparations with retention of full red cell agglutinating activity and immunizing potency in mice was achieved by treatment with minimal amounts of formaldehyde or ultraviolet light. Treatment with phenol or chloroform failed to cause adequate loss of virus activity. Excessive amounts of formaldehyde or of ultraviolet light were found to cause a loss in red cell agglutinating activity and in immunizing potency. Freezing resulted in the immediate loss of red cell agglutinating activity of the formalinized vaccine. Storage of the vaccines in the frozen state was accompanied by a gradual decrease in red cell agglutinating activity. Drying of the vaccines from the frozen state resulted in a loss of red cell agglutinating activity and, in the case of the formalinized vaccine, in a loss in immunizing potency. There appeared to be at least a rough correlation between red cell agglutinating activity and immunizing potency. The immunizing potency and red cell agglutinating activity of a purified formalinized vaccine containing 2 mg. of virus material per cc. were unchanged following 2 months' storage at 4° but were measurably decreased following storage for 2 months at 18 to 25° and at 37°. At equivalent dosages of virus material the immunizing potency of formalinized centrifugally purified virus, of formalinized virus purified by the red cell elution method, and of infectious allantoic fluid was not measurably different. The immunizing potency of a formalinized polyvalent vaccine containing centrifugally purified Lee, PR8, and Weiss influenza virus materials at concentrations of 5, 2.5, and 2.5 mg. per cc., respectively, was found to be essentially the same as that of a similar vaccine prepared commercially. In both cases the protection afforded against the Weiss strain appeared to be better than that against the Lee and PR8 strains. The commercially prepared vaccine is being subjected to clinical tests in man at dosage levels ranging from 0.01 mg. to 10 mg. The latter corresponds to a level approximately 100 times that of infectious allantoic fluid. It was found that the bacterial contamination that frequently accompanies operation on a large scale can be controlled by the addition of one part per 10,000 of formalin plus one part per 100,000 of phenyl mercuric nitrate to the allantoic fluid immediately following harvesting, without affecting the quality of the vaccine. This procedure and the use of virus materials purified and concentrated by a single cycle of differential centrifugation by means of the Sharples centrifuge were found to be suitable for the production of influenza virus vaccines on a large scale. By means of this method influenza vaccines possessing 20 or more times the immunizing potency of infectious allantoic fluid and 10 or more times the immunizing potency of the usual commercial vaccine prepared by the red cell elution method can be manufactured rapidly on a very large scale with considerable ease and efficiency.
PMCID: PMC2135511  PMID: 19871452
9.  Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients with Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to determine the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in reducing the incidence of influenza-related illness or pneumococcal pneumonia.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Influenza Disease
Influenza is a global threat. It is believed that the risk of a pandemic of influenza still exists. Three pandemics occurred in the 20th century which resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. The fourth pandemic of H1N1 influenza occurred in 2009 and affected countries in all continents.
Rates of serious illness due to influenza viruses are high among older people and patients with chronic conditions such as COPD. The influenza viruses spread from person to person through sneezing and coughing. Infected persons can transfer the virus even a day before their symptoms start. The incubation period is 1 to 4 days with a mean of 2 days. Symptoms of influenza infection include fever, shivering, dry cough, headache, runny or stuffy nose, muscle ache, and sore throat. Other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur.
Complications of influenza infection include viral pneumonia, secondary bacterial pneumonia, and other secondary bacterial infections such as bronchitis, sinusitis, and otitis media. In viral pneumonia, patients develop acute fever and dyspnea, and may further show signs and symptoms of hypoxia. The organisms involved in bacterial pneumonia are commonly identified as Staphylococcus aureus and Hemophilus influenza. The incidence of secondary bacterial pneumonia is most common in the elderly and those with underlying conditions such as congestive heart disease and chronic bronchitis.
Healthy people usually recover within one week but in very young or very old people and those with underlying medical conditions such as COPD, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, influenza is associated with higher risks and may lead to hospitalization and in some cases death. The cause of hospitalization or death in many cases is viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. Influenza infection can lead to the exacerbation of COPD or an underlying heart disease.
Streptococcal Pneumonia
Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococcus, is an encapsulated Gram-positive bacterium that often colonizes in the nasopharynx of healthy children and adults. Pneumococcus can be transmitted from person to person during close contact. The bacteria can cause illnesses such as otitis media and sinusitis, and may become more aggressive and affect other areas of the body such as the lungs, brain, joints, and blood stream. More severe infections caused by pneumococcus are pneumonia, bacterial sepsis, meningitis, peritonitis, arthritis, osteomyelitis, and in rare cases, endocarditis and pericarditis.
People with impaired immune systems are susceptible to pneumococcal infection. Young children, elderly people, patients with underlying medical conditions including chronic lung or heart disease, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, sickle cell disease, and people who have undergone a splenectomy are at a higher risk for acquiring pneumococcal pneumonia.
Technology
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccines
Trivalent Influenza Vaccines in Canada
In Canada, 5 trivalent influenza vaccines are currently authorized for use by injection. Four of these are formulated for intramuscular use and the fifth product (Intanza®) is formulated for intradermal use.
The 4 vaccines for intramuscular use are:
Fluviral (GlaxoSmithKline), split virus, inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Vaxigrip (Sanofi Pasteur), split virus inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months;
Agriflu (Novartis), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in adults and children ≥ 6 months; and
Influvac (Abbott), surface antigen inactivated vaccine, for use in persons ≥ 18 years of age.
FluMist is a live attenuated virus in the form of an intranasal spray for persons aged 2 to 59 years. Immunization with current available influenza vaccines is not recommended for infants less than 6 months of age.
Pneumococcal Vaccine
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines were developed more than 50 years ago and have progressed from 2-valent vaccines to the current 23-valent vaccines to prevent diseases caused by 23 of the most common serotypes of S pneumoniae. Canada-wide estimates suggest that approximately 90% of cases of pneumococcal bacteremia and meningitis are caused by these 23 serotypes. Health Canada has issued licenses for 2 types of 23-valent vaccines to be injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously:
Pneumovax 23® (Merck & Co Inc. Whitehouse Station, NJ, USA), and
Pneumo 23® (Sanofi Pasteur SA, Lion, France) for persons 2 years of age and older.
Other types of pneumococcal vaccines licensed in Canada are for pediatric use. Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is injected only once. A second dose is applied only in some conditions.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness of the influenza vaccination and the pneumococcal vaccination compared with no vaccination in COPD patients?
What is the safety of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
What is the budget impact and cost-effectiveness of these 2 vaccines in COPD patients?
Research Methods
Literature search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on July 5, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2000 to July 5, 2010. The search was updated monthly through the AutoAlert function of the search up to January 31, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. Data extraction was carried out by the author.
Inclusion Criteria
studies comparing clinical efficacy of the influenza vaccine or the pneumococcal vaccine with no vaccine or placebo;
randomized controlled trials published between January 1, 2000 and January 31, 2011;
studies including patients with COPD only;
studies investigating the efficacy of types of vaccines approved by Health Canada;
English language studies.
Exclusion Criteria
non-randomized controlled trials;
studies investigating vaccines for other diseases;
studies comparing different variations of vaccines;
studies in which patients received 2 or more types of vaccines;
studies comparing different routes of administering vaccines;
studies not reporting clinical efficacy of the vaccine or reporting immune response only;
studies investigating the efficacy of vaccines not approved by Health Canada.
Outcomes of Interest
Primary Outcomes
Influenza vaccination: Episodes of acute respiratory illness due to the influenza virus.
Pneumococcal vaccination: Time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia either due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology.
Secondary Outcomes
rate of hospitalization and mechanical ventilation
mortality rate
adverse events
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses. The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Efficacy of the Influenza Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The influenza vaccination was associated with significantly fewer episodes of influenza-related acute respiratory illness (ARI). The incidence density of influenza-related ARI was:
All patients: vaccine group: (total of 4 cases) = 6.8 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 17 cases) = 28.1 episodes per 100 person-years, (relative risk [RR], 0.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.06−0.70; P = 0.005).
Patients with severe airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV1] < 50% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.6 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 7 cases) = 31.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.1; 95% CI, 0.003−1.1; P = 0.04).
Patients with moderate airflow obstruction (FEV1 50%−69% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 2 cases) = 13.2 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 4 cases) = 23.8 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.05−3.8; P = 0.5).
Patients with mild airflow obstruction (FEV1 ≥ 70% predicted): vaccine group: (total of 1 case) = 4.5 episodes per 100 person-years; placebo group: (total of 6 cases) = 28.2 episodes per 100 person-years, (RR, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.003−1.3; P = 0.06).
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the vaccinated group and the placebo group regarding the probability of not acquiring influenza-related ARI (log-rank test P value = 0.003). Overall, the vaccine effectiveness was 76%. For categories of mild, moderate, or severe COPD the vaccine effectiveness was 84%, 45%, and 85% respectively.
With respect to hospitalization, fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group were hospitalized due to influenza-related ARIs, although these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required hospitalization was 3.4 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 8.3 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.04−2.5; P = 0.3; log-rank test P value = 0.2). Also, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD.
Fewer patients in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group required mechanical ventilation due to influenza-related ARIs. However, these differences were not statistically significant. The incidence density of influenza-related ARIs that required mechanical ventilation was 0 episodes per 100 person-years in the vaccine group and 5 episodes per 100 person-years in the placebo group (RR, 0.0; 95% CI, 0−2.5; P = 0.1; log-rank test P value = 0.4). In addition, no statistically significant differences between the 2 groups were observed for the 3 categories of severity of COPD. The effectiveness of the influenza vaccine in preventing influenza-related ARIs and influenza-related hospitalization was not related to age, sex, severity of COPD, smoking status, or comorbid diseases.
safety
Overall, significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced local adverse reactions (vaccine: 17 [27%], placebo: 4 [6%]; P = 0.002). Significantly more patients in the vaccine group than the placebo group experienced swelling (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04) and itching (vaccine 4, placebo 0; P = 0.04). Systemic reactions included headache, myalgia, fever, and skin rash and there were no significant differences between the 2 groups for these reactions (vaccine: 47 [76%], placebo: 51 [81%], P = 0.5).
With respect to lung function, dyspneic symptoms, and exercise capacity, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups at 1 week and at 4 weeks in: FEV1, maximum inspiratory pressure at residual volume, oxygen saturation level of arterial blood, visual analogue scale for dyspneic symptoms, and the 6 Minute Walking Test for exercise capacity.
There was no significant difference between the 2 groups with regard to the probability of not acquiring total ARIs (influenza-related and/or non-influenza-related); (log-rank test P value = 0.6).
Summary of Efficacy of the Pneumococcal Vaccination in Immunocompetent Patients With COPD
Clinical Effectiveness
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed no significant differences between the group receiving the penumoccocal vaccination and the control group for time to the first episode of community-acquired pneumonia due to pneumococcus or of unknown etiology (log-rank test 1.15; P = 0.28). Overall, vaccine efficacy was 24% (95% CI, −24 to 54; P = 0.33).
With respect to the incidence of pneumococcal pneumonia, the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed a significant difference between the 2 groups (vaccine: 0/298; control: 5/298; log-rank test 5.03; P = 0.03).
Hospital admission rates and median length of hospital stays were lower in the vaccine group, but the difference was not statistically significant. The mortality rate was not different between the 2 groups.
Subgroup Analysis
The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed significant differences between the vaccine and control groups for pneumonia due to pneumococcus and pneumonia of unknown etiology, and when data were analyzed according to subgroups of patients (age < 65 years, and severe airflow obstruction FEV1 < 40% predicted). The accumulated percentage of patients without pneumonia (due to pneumococcus and of unknown etiology) across time was significantly lower in the vaccine group than in the control group in patients younger than 65 years of age (log-rank test 6.68; P = 0.0097) and patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted (log-rank test 3.85; P = 0.0498).
Vaccine effectiveness was 76% (95% CI, 20−93; P = 0.01) for patients who were less than 65 years of age and −14% (95% CI, −107 to 38; P = 0.8) for those who were 65 years of age or older. Vaccine effectiveness for patients with a FEV1 less than 40% predicted and FEV1 greater than or equal to 40% predicted was 48% (95% CI, −7 to 80; P = 0.08) and −11% (95% CI, −132 to 47; P = 0.95), respectively. For patients who were less than 65 years of age (FEV1 < 40% predicted), vaccine effectiveness was 91% (95% CI, 35−99; P = 0.002).
Cox modelling showed that the effectiveness of the vaccine was dependent on the age of the patient. The vaccine was not effective in patients 65 years of age or older (hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% CI, 0.61−a2.17; P = 0.66) but it reduced the risk of acquiring pneumonia by 80% in patients less than 65 years of age (hazard ratio, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.06−0.66; P = 0.01).
safety
No patients reported any local or systemic adverse reactions to the vaccine.
PMCID: PMC3384373  PMID: 23074431
10.  Live, Attenuated Influenza A H5N1 Candidate Vaccines Provide Broad Cross-Protection in Mice and Ferrets 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(9):e360.
Background
Recent outbreaks of highly pathogenic influenza A H5N1 viruses in humans and avian species that began in Asia and have spread to other continents underscore an urgent need to develop vaccines that would protect the human population in the event of a pandemic.
Methods and Findings
Live, attenuated candidate vaccines possessing genes encoding a modified H5 hemagglutinin (HA) and a wild-type (wt) N1 neuraminidase from influenza A H5N1 viruses isolated in Hong Kong and Vietnam in 1997, 2003, and 2004, and remaining gene segments derived from the cold-adapted (ca) influenza A vaccine donor strain, influenza A/Ann Arbor/6/60 ca (H2N2), were generated by reverse genetics. The H5N1 ca vaccine viruses required trypsin for efficient growth in vitro, as predicted by the modification engineered in the gene encoding the HA, and possessed the temperature-sensitive and attenuation phenotypes specified by the internal protein genes of the ca vaccine donor strain. More importantly, the candidate vaccines were immunogenic in mice. Four weeks after receiving a single dose of 106 50% tissue culture infectious doses of intranasally administered vaccines, mice were fully protected from lethality following challenge with homologous and antigenically distinct heterologous wt H5N1 viruses from different genetic sublineages (clades 1, 2, and 3) that were isolated in Asia between 1997 and 2005. Four weeks after receiving two doses of the vaccines, mice and ferrets were fully protected against pulmonary replication of homologous and heterologous wt H5N1 viruses.
Conclusions
The promising findings in these preclinical studies of safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy of the H5N1 ca vaccines against antigenically diverse H5N1 vaccines provide support for their careful evaluation in Phase 1 clinical trials in humans.
Promising preclinical results on safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy against diverse H5N1 strains provide support for careful evaluation of live, attenuated H5N1 vaccines in clinical trials in humans.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Influenza A viruses are classified into subtypes according to two of the proteins from the virus surface, the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) proteins, each of which occurs naturally in several different versions. For example, the global epidemic (pandemic) of 1918–1919 was caused by an influenza virus containing subtype 1 hemagglutinin and subtype 1 neuraminidase (H1N1), the 1957–1958 pandemic involved an H2N2 virus, and the 1969 pandemic, H3N2. Since 1997, several serious outbreaks of H5N1 infection have occurred in poultry and in humans, raising concerns that H5N1 “bird flu” may cause the next human influenza pandemic. Although human-to-human transmission of H5N1 viruses appears limited, mortality rates in human outbreaks of the disease have been alarmingly high—approximately 50%. A protective vaccine against H5N1 influenza might not only benefit regions where transmission from poultry to humans occurs, but could conceivably avert global catastrophe in the event that H5N1 evolves such that human-to-human spread becomes more frequent.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several approaches are in progress to develop vaccines against H5N1 viruses. To date, the products that have been tested in humans have not been very effective in producing a strong immune response. To be optimal for human use, a vaccine would have to be very safe, remain stable in storage, and provide protection against influenza caused by naturally occurring H5N1 viruses that are not precisely identical to the ones used to make the vaccine. This study was done to develop a new H5N1 vaccine and to test it in animals.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers developed vaccines using three artificially constructed, weakened forms of the H5N1 influenza virus. The three vaccine viruses were constructed using flu virus proteins other than HA and NA from an artificially weakened (attenuated) strain of influenza. These were combined in laboratory-grown cells with HA and NA proteins from H5N1 viruses isolated from human cases during three different years: 2004, 2003, and 1997. They grew larger quantities of the resulting viruses in hen's eggs, and tested the vaccines in chickens, ferrets, and mice.
In tests of safety, the study found that, unlike the natural viruses from which they were derived, the vaccine strains did not cause death when injected into the bloodstream of chickens, and did not even cause infection when given through the birds' breathing passages. Similarly, while the natural viruses were lethal in mice at various doses, the vaccine strains did not cause death even at the highest dose. In ferrets, infection with the vaccine strains was limited to the upper respiratory tract, while the natural viruses spread to the lungs and other organs.
In tests of protection, all mice that had received any of the three vaccines survived following infection with any of the natural viruses (so-called viral challenge), while unvaccinated mice died following viral challenge. This occurred even though standard blood tests could not detect a strong immune responses following a single dose of vaccine. Challenge virus was detected in the lungs of the immunized mice, but at lower levels than in the unvaccinated mice. Mice given two doses of a vaccine showed stronger immunity on blood tests, and almost complete protection from respiratory infection following challenge. In addition, mice and ferrets that had received two doses of vaccine were protected against challenge with H5N1 strains from more recent outbreaks in Asia that differed substantially from the strains that were used for the vaccine.
What Do These Findings Mean?
This study shows that it is possible to create a live, attenuated vaccine based on a single H5N1 virus that can provide protection (in mice and ferrets, at least) against different H5N1 viruses that emerge years later. Attenuated influenza virus vaccines of this sort are unlikely to be useful to protect fowl because they do not infect or induce an immune response in chickens. However, while the safety and protection found in small animals are encouraging, it is not possible to know without human testing whether a vaccine that protects mice and ferrets will work in humans, or how this type of vaccine may compare with others being developed for use in humans against H5N1 influenza. Tests of one of the vaccines in human volunteers in carefully conducted clinical trials are currently under way.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030360.
WHO Influenza Pandemic Preparedness page
US Department of Health and Human Services Avian and Pandemic flu information site
Wikipedia entry on H5N1 (note: Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
CDC Avian Influenza Web page
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030360
PMCID: PMC1564176  PMID: 16968127
11.  Stable Dry Powder Formulation for Nasal Delivery of Anthrax Vaccine 
There is a current biodefense interest in protection against Anthrax. Here we developed a new generation of stable and effective anthrax vaccine. We studied the immune response elicited by rPA delivered intranasally with a novel mucosal adjuvant, a mast cell activator Compound 48/80. The vaccine formulation was prepared in a powder form by spray-freeze-drying (SFD) under optimized conditions to produce particles with a target size of D50=25μm, suitable for delivery to the rabbit nasal cavity. Physicochemical properties of the powder vaccines were characterized to assess their delivery and storage potential. Structural stability of rPA was confirmed by CD and ATR-FTIR, while functional stability of rPA and C48/80 was monitored by cell-based assays. Animal study was performed using a unitdose powder device for direct nasal application. Results showed that C48/80 provided effective mucosal adjuvant activity in rabbits. Freshly prepared SFD powder vaccine formulations or powders stored for over two years at room temperature elicited significantly elevated serum PA-specific and lethal toxin neutralization antibody titers that were comparable to that induced by IM immunization with rPA. Nasal delivery of this vaccine formulation may be a viable alternative to the currently licensed vaccine, or an attractive vaccine platform for other mucosally transmitted diseases.
doi:10.1002/jps.22742
PMCID: PMC3725471  PMID: 21905034
12.  Emulsified Nanoparticles Containing Inactivated Influenza Virus and CpG Oligodeoxynucleotides Critically Influences the Host Immune Responses in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12279.
Background
Antigen sparing and cross-protective immunity are regarded as crucial in pandemic influenza vaccine development. Both targets can be achieved by adjuvantation strategy to elicit a robust and broadened immune response. We assessed the immunogenicity of an inactivated H5N1 whole-virion vaccine (A/Vietnam/1194/2004 NIBRG-14, clade 1) formulated with emulsified nanoparticles and investigated whether it can induce cross-clade protecting immunity.
Methodology/Principal Findings
After formulation with PELC, a proprietary water-in-oil-in-water nanoemulsion comprising of bioresorbable polymer/Span®85/squalene, inactivated virus was intramuscularly administered to mice in either one-dose or two-dose schedule. We found that the antigen-specific serum antibody responses elicited after two doses of non-adjuvanted vaccine were lower than those observed after a single dose of adjuvanted vaccine, PELC and the conventional alum adjuvant as well. Moreover, 5 µg HA of PELC-formulated inactivated virus were capable of inducing higher antibodies than those obtained from alum-adjuvanted vaccine. In single-dose study, we found that encapsulating inactivated virus into emulsified PELC nanoparticles could induce better antibody responses than those formulated with PELC-adsorbed vaccine. However, the potency was rather reduced when the inactivated virus and CpG (an immunostimulatory oligodeoxynucleotide containing unmethylated cytosine-guanosine motifs) were co-encapsulated within the emulsion. Finally, the mice who received PELC/CpG(adsorption)-vaccine could easily and quickly reach 100% of seroprotection against a homologous virus strain and effective cross-protection against a heterologous virus strain (A/Whooper swan/Mongolia/244/2005, clade 2.2).
Conclusions/Significance
Encapsulating inactivated H5N1 influenza virus and CpG into emulsified nanoparticles critically influences the humoral responses against pandemic influenza. These results demonstrated that the use of PELC could be as antigen-sparing in preparation for a potential shortage of prophylactic vaccines against local infectious diseases, in particular pandemic influenza. Moreover, the cross-clade neutralizing antibody responses data verify the potential of such adjuvanted H5N1 candidate vaccine as an effective tool in pre-pandemic preparedness.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012279
PMCID: PMC2924384  PMID: 20808862
13.  Modeling the Worldwide Spread of Pandemic Influenza: Baseline Case and Containment Interventions 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e13.
Background
The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, which is now widespread in Southeast Asia and which diffused recently in some areas of the Balkans region and Western Europe, has raised a public alert toward the potential occurrence of a new severe influenza pandemic. Here we study the worldwide spread of a pandemic and its possible containment at a global level taking into account all available information on air travel.
Methods and Findings
We studied a metapopulation stochastic epidemic model on a global scale that considers airline travel flow data among urban areas. We provided a temporal and spatial evolution of the pandemic with a sensitivity analysis of different levels of infectiousness of the virus and initial outbreak conditions (both geographical and seasonal). For each spreading scenario we provided the timeline and the geographical impact of the pandemic in 3,100 urban areas, located in 220 different countries. We compared the baseline cases with different containment strategies, including travel restrictions and the therapeutic use of antiviral (AV) drugs. We investigated the effect of the use of AV drugs in the event that therapeutic protocols can be carried out with maximal coverage for the populations in all countries. In view of the wide diversity of AV stockpiles in different regions of the world, we also studied scenarios in which only a limited number of countries are prepared (i.e., have considerable AV supplies). In particular, we compared different plans in which, on the one hand, only prepared and wealthy countries benefit from large AV resources, with, on the other hand, cooperative containment scenarios in which countries with large AV stockpiles make a small portion of their supplies available worldwide.
Conclusions
We show that the inclusion of air transportation is crucial in the assessment of the occurrence probability of global outbreaks. The large-scale therapeutic usage of AV drugs in all hit countries would be able to mitigate a pandemic effect with a reproductive rate as high as 1.9 during the first year; with AV supply use sufficient to treat approximately 2% to 6% of the population, in conjunction with efficient case detection and timely drug distribution. For highly contagious viruses (i.e., a reproductive rate as high as 2.3), even the unrealistic use of supplies corresponding to the treatment of approximately 20% of the population leaves 30%–50% of the population infected. In the case of limited AV supplies and pandemics with a reproductive rate as high as 1.9, we demonstrate that the more cooperative the strategy, the more effective are the containment results in all regions of the world, including those countries that made part of their resources available for global use.
A metapopulation stochastic epidemic model for influenza shows the need to include air transportation when assessing the occurrence probability of global outbreaks. The impact of the use of antiviral drugs is also measured.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Seasonal outbreaks (epidemics) of influenza—a viral infection of the nose, throat, and airways—affect millions of people and kill about 500,000 individuals every year. Regular epidemics occur because flu viruses frequently make small changes in the viral proteins (antigens) recognized by the human immune system. Consequently, a person's immune-system response that combats influenza one year provides incomplete protection the next year. Occasionally, a human influenza virus appears that contains large antigenic changes. People have little immunity to such viruses (which often originate in birds or animals), so they can start a global epidemic (pandemic) that kills millions of people. Experts fear that a human influenza pandemic could be triggered by the avian H5N1 influenza virus, which is present in bird flocks around the world. So far, fewer than 300 people have caught this virus but more than 150 people have died.
Why Was This Study Done?
Avian H5N1 influenza has not yet triggered a human pandemic, because it rarely passes between people. If it does acquire this ability, it would take 6–8 months to develop a vaccine to provide protection against this new, potentially pandemic virus. Public health officials therefore need other strategies to protect people during the first few months of a pandemic. These could include international travel restrictions and the use of antiviral drugs. However, to get the most benefit from these interventions, public-health officials need to understand how influenza pandemics spread, both over time and geographically. In this study, the researchers have used detailed information on air travel to model the global spread of an emerging influenza pandemic and its containment.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers incorporated data on worldwide air travel and census data from urban centers near airports into a mathematical model of the spread of an influenza pandemic. They then used this model to investigate how the spread and health effects of a pandemic flu virus depend on the season in which it emerges (influenza virus thrives best in winter), where it emerges, and how infectious it is. Their model predicts, for example, that a flu virus originating in Hanoi, Vietnam, with a reproductive number (R0) of 1.1 (a measure of how many people an infectious individual infects on average) poses a very mild global threat. However, epidemics initiated by a virus with an R0 of more than 1.5 would often infect half the population in more than 100 countries. Next, the researchers used their model to show that strict travel restrictions would have little effect on pandemic evolution. More encouragingly, their model predicts that antiviral drugs would mitigate pandemics of a virus with an R0 up to 1.9 if every country had an antiviral drug stockpile sufficient to treat 5% of its population; if the R0 was 2.3 or higher, the pandemic would not be contained even if 20% of the population could be treated. Finally, the researchers considered a realistic scenario in which only a few countries possess antiviral stockpiles. In these circumstances, compared with a “selfish” strategy in which countries only use their antiviral drugs within their borders, limited worldwide sharing of antiviral drugs would slow down the spread of a flu virus with an R0 of 1.9 by more than a year and would benefit both drug donors and recipients.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Like all mathematical models, this model for the global spread of an emerging pandemic influenza virus contains many assumptions (for example, about viral behavior) that might affect the accuracy of its predictions. The model also does not consider variations in travel frequency between individuals or viral spread in rural areas. Nevertheless, the model provides the most extensive global simulation of pandemic influenza spread to date. Reassuringly, it suggests that an emerging virus with a low R0 would not pose a major public-health threat, since its attack rate would be limited and would not peak for more than a year, by which time a vaccine could be developed. Most importantly, the model suggests that cooperative sharing of antiviral drugs, which could be organized by the World Health Organization, might be the best way to deal with an emerging influenza pandemic.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040013.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information about influenza for patients and professionals, including key facts about avian influenza and antiviral drugs
The US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease features information on seasonal, avian, and pandemic flu
The US Department of Health and Human Services provides information on pandemic flu and avian flu, including advice to travelers
World Health Organization has fact sheets on influenza and avian influenza, including advice to travelers and current pandemic flu threat
The UK Health Protection Agency has information on seasonal, avian, and pandemic influenza
The UK Department of Health has a feature article on bird flu and pandemic influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040013
PMCID: PMC1779816  PMID: 17253899
14.  Hedging against Antiviral Resistance during the Next Influenza Pandemic Using Small Stockpiles of an Alternative Chemotherapy 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(5):e1000085.
Mathematically simulating an influenza pandemic, Joseph Wu and colleagues predict that using a secondary antiviral drug early in local epidemics would reduce global emergence of resistance to the primary stockpiled drug.
Background
The effectiveness of single-drug antiviral interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality during the next influenza pandemic will be substantially weakened if transmissible strains emerge which are resistant to the stockpiled antiviral drugs. We developed a mathematical model to test the hypothesis that a small stockpile of a secondary antiviral drug could be used to mitigate the adverse consequences of the emergence of resistant strains.
Methods and Findings
We used a multistrain stochastic transmission model of influenza to show that the spread of antiviral resistance can be significantly reduced by deploying a small stockpile (1% population coverage) of a secondary drug during the early phase of local epidemics. We considered two strategies for the use of the secondary stockpile: early combination chemotherapy (ECC; individuals are treated with both drugs in combination while both are available); and sequential multidrug chemotherapy (SMC; individuals are treated only with the secondary drug until it is exhausted, then treated with the primary drug). We investigated all potentially important regions of unknown parameter space and found that both ECC and SMC reduced the cumulative attack rate (AR) and the resistant attack rate (RAR) unless the probability of emergence of resistance to the primary drug pA was so low (less than 1 in 10,000) that resistance was unlikely to be a problem or so high (more than 1 in 20) that resistance emerged as soon as primary drug monotherapy began. For example, when the basic reproductive number was 1.8 and 40% of symptomatic individuals were treated with antivirals, AR and RAR were 67% and 38% under monotherapy if pA = 0.01. If the probability of resistance emergence for the secondary drug was also 0.01, then SMC reduced AR and RAR to 57% and 2%. The effectiveness of ECC was similar if combination chemotherapy reduced the probabilities of resistance emergence by at least ten times. We extended our model using travel data between 105 large cities to investigate the robustness of these resistance-limiting strategies at a global scale. We found that as long as populations that were the main source of resistant strains employed these strategies (SMC or ECC), then those same strategies were also effective for populations far from the source even when some intermediate populations failed to control resistance. In essence, through the existence of many wild-type epidemics, the interconnectedness of the global network dampened the international spread of resistant strains.
Conclusions
Our results indicate that the augmentation of existing stockpiles of a single anti-influenza drug with smaller stockpiles of a second drug could be an effective and inexpensive epidemiological hedge against antiviral resistance if either SMC or ECC were used. Choosing between these strategies will require additional empirical studies. Specifically, the choice will depend on the safety of combination therapy and the synergistic effect of one antiviral in suppressing the emergence of resistance to the other antiviral when both are taken in combination.
Editors' Summary
Background
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza—a viral infection of the airways—and about half a million people die as a result. These seasonal “epidemics” occur because small but frequent changes in the viral proteins (antigens) to which the human immune system responds mean that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Influenza viruses also occasionally appear that contain major antigenic changes. Human populations have little or no immunity to such viruses so they can start deadly pandemics (global epidemics). The 1918–19 influenza pandemic, for example, killed 40–50 million people. The last influenza pandemic was in 1968 and many experts fear the next pandemic might strike soon. To prepare for such an eventuality, scientists are trying to develop vaccines that might work against an emerging pandemic influenza virus. In addition, many governments are stockpiling antiviral drugs for the large-scale treatment of influenza and for targeted prophylaxis (prevention). Antiviral drugs prevent the replication of the influenza virus, thereby shortening the length of time that an infected person is ill and protecting uninfected people against infection. Their widespread use should, therefore, slow the spread of pandemic influenza.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although some countries are stockpiling more than one antiviral drug in preparation for an influenza pandemic, many countries are investing in large stockpiles of a single drug, oseltamivir (Tamiflu). But influenza viruses can become resistant to antiviral drugs and the widespread use of a single drug (the primary antiviral) is likely to increase the risk that a resistant strain will emerge. If this did happen, the ability of antiviral drugs to slow the spread of a pandemic would be greatly reduced. In this study, the researchers use a mathematical model of influenza transmission to investigate whether a small stockpile of a secondary antiviral drug could be used to prevent the adverse consequences of the emergence of antiviral-resistant pandemic influenza viruses.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used their model of influenza transmission to predict how two strategies for the use of a small stockpile of a secondary antiviral might affect the cumulative attack rate (AR; the final proportion of the population infected) and the resistant attack rate (RAR; the proportion of the population infected with an influenza virus strain resistant to the primary drug, a measure that may reflect the impact of antiviral resistance on death rates during a pandemic). In a large, closed population, the model predicted that both “early combination chemotherapy” (treatment with both drugs together while both are available) and “sequential multi-drug chemotherapy” (treatment with the secondary drug until it is exhausted, then treatment with the primary drug) would reduce the AR and the RAR compared with monotherapy unless the probability of emergence of resistance to the primary drug was very low (resistance rarely occurred) or very high (resistance emerged as soon as the primary drug was used). The researchers then introduced international travel data into their model to investigate whether these two strategies could limit the development of antiviral resistance at a global scale. This analysis predicted that, provided the population that was the main source of resistant strains used one of the strategies, both strategies in distant, subsequently affected populations would be able to reduce the AR and RAR even if some intermediate populations failed to control resistance.
What Do These Findings Mean?
As with all mathematical models, the accuracy of these predictions depends on the assumptions used to build the model and the data fed into it. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that both of the proposed strategies for the use of small stockpiles of secondary antiviral drugs should limit the spread of drug-resistant influenza virus more effectively than monotherapy with the primary antiviral drug. Thus, small stockpiles of secondary antivirals could provide a hedge against the development of antiviral resistance during the early phases of an influenza pandemic and are predicted to be a worthwhile public-health investment. However, note the researchers, experimental studies—including determinations of which drugs are safe to use together, and how effectively a given combination prevents resistance compared with each drug used alone—are now needed to decide which of the strategies to recommend in real-life situations. In the context of the 2009 global spread of swine flu, these findings suggest that public health officials might consider zanamivir (Relenza) as the secondary antiviral drug for resistance-limiting strategies in countries that have stockpiled oseltamivir.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000085.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about influenza for patients and professionals, including specific information on pandemic influenza and on influenza antiviral drugs
The World Health Organization provides information on influenza (in several languages) and has detailed guidelines on the use of vaccines and antivirals during influenza pandemics
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on pandemic influenza
MedlinePlus provides a list of links to other information about influenza (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000085
PMCID: PMC2680070  PMID: 19440354
15.  Preclinical evaluation of Vaxfectin®-adjuvanted Vero cell-derived seasonal split and pandemic whole virus influenza vaccines 
Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics  2013;9(6):1333-1345.
Increasing the potency and supply of seasonal and pandemic influenza vaccines remains an important unmet medical need which may be effectively accomplished with adjuvanted egg- or cell culture-derived vaccines. Vaxfectin®, a cationic lipid-based adjuvant with a favorable safety profile in phase 1 plasmid DNA vaccines trials, was tested in combination with seasonal split, trivalent and pandemic whole virus, monovalent influenza vaccines produced in Vero cell cultures. Comparison of hemagglutination inhibition (HI) antibody titers in Vaxfectin®-adjuvanted to nonadjuvanted vaccinated mice and guinea pigs revealed 3- to 20-fold increases in antibody titers against each of the trivalent influenza virus vaccine strains and 2- to 8-fold increases in antibody titers against the monovalent H5N1 influenza virus vaccine strain. With the vaccine doses tested, comparable antibody responses were induced with formulations that were freshly prepared or refrigerated at conventional 2–8°C storage conditions for up to 6 mo. Comparison of T-cell frequencies measured by interferon-gamma ELISPOT assay between groups revealed increases of between 2- to 10-fold for each of the adjuvanted trivalent strains and up to 22-fold higher with monovalent H5N1 strain. Both trivalent and monovalent vaccines were easy to formulate with Vaxfectin® by simple mixing. These preclinical data support further testing of Vaxfectin®-adjuvanted Vero cell culture vaccines toward clinical studies designed to assess safety and immunogenicity of these vaccines in humans.
doi:10.4161/hv.24209
PMCID: PMC3901827  PMID: 23857272
H5N1; Vaxfectin®; Vero cell culture; adjuvant; cationic liposomes; influenza vaccine
16.  Characterization of Regional Influenza Seasonality Patterns in China and Implications for Vaccination Strategies: Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Surveillance Data 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001552.
Cécile Viboud and colleagues describe epidemiological patterns of influenza incidence across China to support the design of a national vaccination program.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
The complexity of influenza seasonal patterns in the inter-tropical zone impedes the establishment of effective routine immunization programs. China is a climatologically and economically diverse country, which has yet to establish a national influenza vaccination program. Here we characterize the diversity of influenza seasonality in China and make recommendations to guide future vaccination programs.
Methods and Findings
We compiled weekly reports of laboratory-confirmed influenza A and B infections from sentinel hospitals in cities representing 30 Chinese provinces, 2005–2011, and data on population demographics, mobility patterns, socio-economic, and climate factors. We applied linear regression models with harmonic terms to estimate influenza seasonal characteristics, including the amplitude of annual and semi-annual periodicities, their ratio, and peak timing. Hierarchical Bayesian modeling and hierarchical clustering were used to identify predictors of influenza seasonal characteristics and define epidemiologically-relevant regions. The annual periodicity of influenza A epidemics increased with latitude (mean amplitude of annual cycle standardized by mean incidence, 140% [95% CI 128%–151%] in the north versus 37% [95% CI 27%–47%] in the south, p<0.0001). Epidemics peaked in January–February in Northern China (latitude ≥33°N) and April–June in southernmost regions (latitude <27°N). Provinces at intermediate latitudes experienced dominant semi-annual influenza A periodicity with peaks in January–February and June–August (periodicity ratio >0.6 in provinces located within 27.4°N–31.3°N, slope of latitudinal gradient with latitude −0.016 [95% CI −0.025 to −0.008], p<0.001). In contrast, influenza B activity predominated in colder months throughout most of China. Climate factors were the strongest predictors of influenza seasonality, including minimum temperature, hours of sunshine, and maximum rainfall. Our main study limitations include a short surveillance period and sparse influenza sampling in some of the southern provinces.
Conclusions
Regional-specific influenza vaccination strategies would be optimal in China; in particular, annual campaigns should be initiated 4–6 months apart in Northern and Southern China. Influenza surveillance should be strengthened in mid-latitude provinces, given the complexity of seasonal patterns in this region. More broadly, our findings are consistent with the role of climatic factors on influenza transmission dynamics.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every year, millions of people worldwide catch influenza, a viral disease of the airways. Most infected individuals recover quickly but seasonal influenza outbreaks (epidemics) kill about half a million people annually. These epidemics occur because antigenic drift—frequent small changes in the viral proteins to which the immune system responds—means that an immune response produced one year provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual vaccination with a mixture of killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains boosts this natural immunity and greatly reduces the risk of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs. Because the immune response induced by vaccination decays within 4–8 months of vaccination and because of antigenic drift, it is important that these programs are initiated only a few weeks before the onset of local influenza activity. Thus, vaccination starts in early autumn in temperate zones (regions of the world that have a mild climate, part way between a tropical and a polar climate), because seasonal influenza outbreaks occur in the winter months when low humidity and low temperatures favor the transmission of the influenza virus.
Why Was This Study Done?
Unlike temperate regions, seasonal influenza patterns are very diverse in tropical countries, which lie between latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S, and in the subtropical countries slightly north and south of these latitudes. In some of these countries, there is year-round influenza activity, in others influenza epidemics occur annually or semi-annually (twice yearly). This complexity, which is perhaps driven by rainfall fluctuations, complicates the establishment of effective routine immunization programs in tropical and subtropical countries. Take China as an example. Before a national influenza vaccination program can be established in this large, climatologically diverse country, public-health experts need a clear picture of influenza seasonality across the country. Here, the researchers use spatio-temporal modeling of influenza surveillance data to characterize the seasonality of influenza A and B (the two types of influenza that usually cause epidemics) in China, to assess the role of putative drivers of seasonality, and to identify broad epidemiological regions (areas with specific patterns of disease) that could be used as a basis to optimize the timing of future Chinese vaccination programs.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected together the weekly reports of laboratory-confirmed influenza prepared by the Chinese national sentinel hospital-based surveillance network between 2005 and 2011, data on population size and density, mobility patterns, and socio-economic factors, and daily meteorological data for the cities participating in the surveillance network. They then used various statistical modeling approaches to estimate influenza seasonal characteristics, to assess predictors of influenza seasonal characteristics, and to identify epidemiologically relevant regions. These analyses indicate that, over the study period, northern provinces (latitudes greater than 33°N) experienced winter epidemics of influenza A in January–February, southern provinces (latitudes less than 27°N) experienced peak viral activity in the spring (April–June), and provinces at intermediate latitudes experienced semi-annual epidemic cycles with infection peaks in January–February and June–August. By contrast, influenza B activity predominated in the colder months throughout China. The researchers also report that minimum temperatures, hours of sunshine, and maximum rainfall were the strongest predictors of influenza seasonality.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that influenza seasonality in China varies between regions and between influenza virus types and suggest that, as in other settings, some of these variations might be associated with specific climatic factors. The accuracy of these findings is limited by the short surveillance period, by sparse surveillance data from some southern and mid-latitude provinces, and by some aspects of the modeling approach used in the study. Further surveillance studies need to be undertaken to confirm influenza seasonality patterns in China. Overall, these findings suggest that, to optimize routine influenza vaccination in China, it will be necessary to stagger the timing of vaccination over three broad geographical regions. More generally, given that there is growing interest in rolling out national influenza immunization programs in low- and middle-income countries, these findings highlight the importance of ensuring that vaccination strategies are optimized by taking into account local disease patterns.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001552.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by Steven Riley
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information for patients about seasonal influenza and about influenza vaccination
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza (in several languages) and on influenza surveillance and monitoring
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also provides information for patients and health professionals on all aspects of seasonal influenza, including information about vaccination; its website contains a short video about personal experiences of influenza.
Flu.gov, a US government website, provides access to information on seasonal influenza and vaccination
Information about the Chinese National Influenza Center, which is part of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention: and which runs influenza surveillance in China, is available (in English and Chinese)
MedlinePlus has links to further information about influenza and about vaccination (in English and Spanish)
A recent PLOS Pathogens Research Article by James D. Tamerius et al. investigates environmental predictors of seasonal influenza epidemics across temperate and tropical climates
A study published in PLOS ONE by Wyller Alencar de Mello et al. indicates that Brazil, like China, requires staggered timing of vaccination from Northern to Southern states to account for different timings of influenza activity.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001552
PMCID: PMC3864611  PMID: 24348203
17.  Intranasal delivery of Norwalk virus-like particles formulated in an in-situ gelling, dry powder vaccine 
Vaccine  2011;29(32):5221-5231.
The development of a vaccine to prevent norovirus infections has been focused on immunization at a mucosal surface, but has been limited by the low immunogenicity of self-assembling Norwalk virus-like particles (NV VLPs) delivered enterically or at nasal surfaces. Nasal immunization, which offers the advantage of ease of immunization, faces obstacles imposed by the normal process of mucociliary clearance, which limits residence time of applied antigens. Herein, we describe the use of a dry powder formulation (GelVac) of an inert in-situ gelling polysaccharide (GelSite) extracted from Aloe vera for nasal delivery of NV VLP antigen. Powder formulations, with or without NV VLP antigen, were similar in structure in dry form or when rehydrated in simulated nasal fluids. Immunogenicity of the dry powder VLP formulation was compared to equivalent antigen/adjuvant liquid formulations in animals. For the GelVac powder, we observed superior NV-specific serum and mucosal (aerodigestive and reproductive tracts) antibody responses relative to liquid formulations. Incorporation of TLR7 agonist gardiquimod in dry powder formulations did not enhance antibody responses, although its inclusion in liquid formulations did enhance VLP immunogenicity irrespective of the presence or absence of GelSite. We interpret these data as showing that GelSite-based dry powder formulations 1.) stabilize the immunogenic structural properties of VLPs and 2.) induce systemic and mucosal antibody titers which are equal or greater than those achieved by VLPs plus adjuvant in a liquid formulation. We conclude that in-situ gelation of the GelVac dry powder formulation at nasal mucosal surfaces delays mucociliary clearance and thereby prolongs VLP antigen exposure to immune effector sites.
doi:10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.05.027
PMCID: PMC3138837  PMID: 21640778
norovirus vaccine; spray dry powder formulation; mucoadhesive; intranasal delivery; virus-like particles (VLP); TLR agonist
18.  Antiviral Resistance and the Control of Pandemic Influenza 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(1):e15.
Background
The response to the next influenza pandemic will likely include extensive use of antiviral drugs (mainly oseltamivir), combined with other transmission-reducing measures. Animal and in vitro studies suggest that some strains of influenza may become resistant to oseltamivir while maintaining infectiousness (fitness). Use of antiviral agents on the scale anticipated for the control of pandemic influenza will create an unprecedented selective pressure for the emergence and spread of these strains. Nonetheless, antiviral resistance has received little attention when evaluating these plans.
Methods and Findings
We designed and analyzed a deterministic compartmental model of the transmission of oseltamivir-sensitive and -resistant influenza infections during a pandemic. The model predicts that even if antiviral treatment or prophylaxis leads to the emergence of a transmissible resistant strain in as few as 1 in 50,000 treated persons and 1 in 500,000 prophylaxed persons, widespread use of antivirals may strongly promote the spread of resistant strains at the population level, leading to a prevalence of tens of percent by the end of a pandemic. On the other hand, even in circumstances in which a resistant strain spreads widely, the use of antivirals may significantly delay and/or reduce the total size of the pandemic. If resistant strains carry some fitness cost, then, despite widespread emergence of resistance, antivirals could slow pandemic spread by months or more, and buy time for vaccine development; this delay would be prolonged by nondrug control measures (e.g., social distancing) that reduce transmission, or use of a stockpiled suboptimal vaccine. Surprisingly, the model suggests that such nondrug control measures would increase the proportion of the epidemic caused by resistant strains.
Conclusions
The benefits of antiviral drug use to control an influenza pandemic may be reduced, although not completely offset, by drug resistance in the virus. Therefore, the risk of resistance should be considered in pandemic planning and monitored closely during a pandemic.
Emergence of oseltamivir-resistant influenza strains during a pandemic is likely given the heightened selective pressure if the drug is widely used. Marc Lipsitch and colleagues suggest that resistance would reduce but not completely offset the drug's benefits for pandemic control.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Governments and health authorities worldwide are planning how they would best prepare for and deal with a future influenza pandemic. Seasonal influenza is thought to affect between 5% and 15% of the population worldwide each year. Most people who get influenza recover within a couple of weeks without lasting effects, but a small proportion of patients, mostly young children and elderly people, experience serious complications that can be fatal. An influenza pandemic happens when new variants of the influenza virus emerge against which little immunity exists in the general population. Pandemic influenza strains are transmitted more rapidly than seasonal strains, often sweep across several countries or continents, and make more people ill. There are drugs that can treat and prevent influenza. One of them, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is an antiviral drug that works by preventing viral particles from being released by infected human cells. Stockpiling large amounts of oseltamivir and related drugs with the intent to treat a large fraction of the population is a key part of pandemic preparedness of many countries. However, it is known that influenza viruses can develop resistance to these drugs.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is not clear how the emergence of oseltamivir-resistant influenza strains would affect the course of any future influenza pandemic. Much research in this area has focused on how likely the new strains are to emerge in the first place, rather than on how they might spread once they had emerged. In the context of an influenza pandemic, antiviral drugs would be used in a large proportion of the population, likely driving the selection and spread of resistant viruses. For this study, the researchers wanted to estimate the likely impact of resistant strains during an influenza pandemic.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
These researchers set up a mathematical model (i.e., simulations done on a computer) to mimic the spread of influenza. They then fed a set of assumptions into the computer. These included information about the rate of transmission of influenza from one person to another; what proportion of people would receive antiviral drugs for prophylaxis or treatment; how likely the drugs would be to successfully treat or prevent infection; and in what proportion of people the virus might become resistant to drugs. The modeling led to three main predictions. First, it predicted that widespread use of antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir could quickly lead to the spread of resistant viruses, even if resistant strains emerged only rarely. Second, even with resistant strains circulating, prophylaxis and treatment with oseltamivir would still delay the spread of the pandemic and reduce its total size. Third, nondrug interventions (such as social isolation and school closures) would further reduce the number of cases, but a higher proportion of cases would be caused by resistant strains if these control measures were used.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, in the event of a future influenza pandemic for which antiviral drugs are used, there is a risk of resistance emerging and resistant strains causing illness in a substantial number of people. This would counteract the benefits of antiviral drugs but not eliminate those benefits entirely. Like all modeling studies, this one relies on realistic assumptions being entered into the model, and it is hard to know closely the model will mimic a real-life situation until the properties of an actual pandemic strain are known. Most studies, including this one, suggest that in the event of a pandemic, antiviral drugs will have an overall beneficial impact on reducing death rates and adverse health outcomes. However, given the sizeable effects of resistance suggested here, its role should be considered in pandemic planning. This includes surveillance that can detect emergence and spread of resistant strains.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040015.
World Health Organization: information on pandemic preparedness
World Health Organization: fact sheets on influenza
Information from the UK Health Protection Agency on pandemic influenza
US government website on both pandemic flu and avian flu (information provided by the US Department of Health and Human Services)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040015
PMCID: PMC1779817  PMID: 17253900
19.  PA01.28. Pre-storage seed treatments for the maintenance of vigour & viability of aswagandha (Withania somnifera (l.) Dunal) 
Ancient Science of Life  2012;32(Suppl 1):S78.
Purpose:
Withania somnifera (L) Dunal is a perennial shrub from the Solanaceae family and well known medicinal plant. Traditionally it is known as Aswgaandha. The root extract has been traditionally used as a tonic and as a sedative but recent research shows that the leaf extract contains Withanolides which have been found to have regenerative properties on brain cell synapses in human cell lines in laboratory studies. Withania somnifera seeds are harvested in the month of March, April. Seed storage under ambient conditions is a very problematic due to prevailing high humidity and atmospheric temperature. If seeds stored under uncontrolled conditions, the viability may go down below ten percent after monsoon. So to maintain the vigour and viability of Withania somnifera seed during storage was essential for ensuring better crop stand.
Method:
Withania somnifera seed were dry dressed with finely powdered pharmaceutical formulations (aspirin, active ingredient ortho acetylesalicylic acid @ 100 mg / kg of seed; celin, active ingredient ascorbic acid @ 500 mg / kg of seed), chemicals (common bleaching powder, active ingredient calcium hypochlorite @ 2 g / kg of seed) and crude plant materials (finely powdered dried fruit of Capsicum frutescens (red chilli powder) and Catharanthus roseous leaf powder @ 2 g / kg of seed). After treatments germination test were carried out by standards germination test method and seed vigour also studied by the measurement of root and shoot length.
Result:
Seed deterioration was very fast after monsoon months in uncontrolled storage. More or less all dry dressing treatments significantly slowed down seed deterioration in comparison to untreated control under subsequent storage conditions.
Conclusion:
The result indicates that pre storage dry dressing treatments of Withania somnifera seed with aspirin and red chilli powder are suggested for the maintenance of seed viability during storage period and they are inexpensive.
PMCID: PMC3800959
20.  Immunogenicity and Protective Efficacy of a Live Attenuated H5N1 Vaccine in Nonhuman Primates 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(5):e1000409.
The continued spread of highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza viruses among poultry and wild birds, together with the emergence of drug-resistant variants and the possibility of human-to-human transmission, has spurred attempts to develop an effective vaccine. Inactivated subvirion or whole-virion H5N1 vaccines have shown promising immunogenicity in clinical trials, but their ability to elicit protective immunity in unprimed human populations remains unknown. A cold-adapted, live attenuated vaccine with the hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) genes of an H5N1 virus A/VN/1203/2004 (clade 1) was protective against the pulmonary replication of homologous and heterologous wild-type H5N1 viruses in mice and ferrets. In this study, we used reverse genetics to produce a cold-adapted, live attenuated H5N1 vaccine (AH/AAca) that contains HA and NA genes from a recent H5N1 isolate, A/Anhui/2/05 virus (AH/05) (clade 2.3), and the backbone of the cold-adapted influenza H2N2 A/AnnArbor/6/60 virus (AAca). AH/AAca was attenuated in chickens, mice, and monkeys, and it induced robust neutralizing antibody responses as well as HA-specific CD4+ T cell immune responses in rhesus macaques immunized twice intranasally. Importantly, the vaccinated macaques were fully protected from challenge with either the homologous AH/05 virus or a heterologous H5N1 virus, A/bar-headed goose/Qinghai/3/05 (BHG/05; clade 2.2). These results demonstrate for the first time that a cold-adapted H5N1 vaccine can elicit protective immunity against highly pathogenic H5N1 virus infection in a nonhuman primate model and provide a compelling argument for further testing of double immunization with live attenuated H5N1 vaccines in human trials.
Author Summary
H5N1 influenza viruses have caused human infections with more than 60% fatality in 14 countries and may yet be the source of the next pandemic. Therefore, the development of effective vaccines against these viruses is the highest priority for H5N1 pandemic preparedness. A high dosage or adjuvants improve the immunogenicity of H5N1 inactivated vaccines; however, limited production capacity for conventional inactivated influenza virus vaccines could severely hinder the ability to control the spread of H5N1 influenza through vaccination. Here, we generated and tested the efficacy of a cold-adapted, live attenuated H5N1 vaccine in mice and nonhuman primates. We found that the vaccine provided complete protection in these animals against homologous and heterologous H5N1 virus challenge. Since live vaccines require less processing than inactivated vaccines and do not require adjuvants, our study represents a major advance in vaccine development for H5N1 pandemic influenza.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000409
PMCID: PMC2669169  PMID: 19412338
21.  Placebo-controlled double-blind clinical studies on the efficacy of different influenza vaccines assessed by experimental and natural infection 
Postgraduate Medical Journal  1976;52(608):352-359.
Four placebo-controlled double-blind studies on the protective efficacies of a freeze-dried aerosol and an injectable whole-virion inactivated influenza vaccine, each containing 400 i.u. A/Port Chalmers/1/73 (H3N2) and 240 i.u. B/Hong Kong/8/73 per dose, were carried out on a total of 601 subjects using three different live influenza vaccines as challenge virus. In the second of these studies a tween-ether ‘split’ aluminium-absorbed injectable vaccine containing 400 CCA units A/Port Chalmers/1/73 (H3N2) and 300 CCA (chick cell agglutination) units B/Hong Kong/8/73 was also tested. Challenge in the first three studies occurred 3 weeks after vaccination whereas in the last study it took place 3 months after vaccination. The live vaccines were recommended for the 1974-75 season in Belgium, Rumania and Yugoslavia in which countries the studies were performed and contained an A/England/42/72 (H3N2)-like strain, a B/Victoria/98926/70-like strain and an A/Port Chalmers/1/73 (H3N2)-like strain respectively. The latter vaccine was used in both of the last two studies. Infection with the vaccine strain was diagnosed by virus isolation and/or serological response after challenge since this produced negligible clinical signs and symptoms.
The aerosol vaccine showed infection protection rates of 59% (P = 0·0075), 42% (P < 0·005), 26% (P = 0·47) and 36% (P = 0·19) and the whole-virion vaccine rates of 84% (P < 0·005), 25% (P = 0·025), 80% (P = 0·09) and 88% (P = 0·01) respectively. The tween-ether ‘split’ vaccine included in the second study gave 21% (P = 0·06) protection against a very heterologous type-B virus.
It is argued that results in such studies are biased in favour of injectable vaccines when infection is diagnosed by serology alone whereas the bias is in favour of an aerosol vaccine if this is done by virus isolation alone. When challenge was with the type-A vaccines most ‘takes’ were diagnosed only on the basis of a serological response. With these two vaccines an inverse relationship existed between pre-challenge serum HI (haemagglutination-inhibiting) antibody levels against the challenge strain and ‘take’ rate. With the type-B vaccine, on the other hand, virus isolation commonly occurred in the absence of sero-conversion and there was no correlation between level of serum HI antibodies and ‘take’ rate.
In a placebo-controlled double-blind field trial conducted in parallel on 1326 subjects in the same population as the last challenge study, the aerosol vaccine gave 63% (P = 0·09) and the whole-virion vaccine only 35% (P = 0·37) protection against serologically confirmed influenza.
It is concluded that challenge studies using a live vaccine as challenge virus can yield statistically significant results and that the efficacy of inactivated vaccines can be validly compared if they are administered by the same route. Such studies can be conveniently conducted on large numbers of subjects and this method of assessing vaccine efficacy deserves to be further evaluated.
PMCID: PMC2496328  PMID: 785426
22.  Induction of Heterosubtypic Cross-Protection against Influenza by a Whole Inactivated Virus Vaccine: The Role of Viral Membrane Fusion Activity 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30898.
Background
The inability of seasonal influenza vaccines to effectively protect against infection with antigenically drifted viruses or newly emerging pandemic viruses underlines the need for development of cross-reactive influenza vaccines that induce immunity against a variety of virus subtypes. Therefore, potential cross-protective vaccines, e.g., whole inactivated virus (WIV) vaccine, that can target conserved internal antigens such as the nucleoprotein (NP) and/or matrix protein (M1) need to be explored.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In the current study we show that a WIV vaccine, through induction of cross-protective cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), protects mice from heterosubtypic infection. This protection was abrogated after depletion of CD8+ cells in vaccinated mice, indicating that CTLs were the primary mediators of protection. Previously, we have shown that different procedures used for virus inactivation influence optimal activation of CTLs by WIV, most likely by affecting the membrane fusion properties of the virus. Specifically, inactivation with formalin (FA) severely compromises fusion activity of the virus, while inactivation with β-propiolactone (BPL) preserves fusion activity. Here, we demonstrate that vaccination of mice with BPL-inactivated H5N1 WIV vaccine induces solid protection from lethal heterosubtypic H1N1 challenge. By contrast, vaccination with FA-inactivated WIV, while preventing death after lethal challenge, failed to protect against development of disease and severe body weight loss. Vaccination with BPL-inactivated WIV, compared to FA-inactivated WIV, induced higher levels of specific CD8+ T cells in blood, spleen and lungs, and a higher production of granzyme B in the lungs upon H1N1 virus challenge.
Conclusion/Significance
The results underline the potential use of WIV as a cross-protective influenza vaccine candidate. However, careful choice of the virus inactivation procedure is important to retain membrane fusion activity and full immunogenicity of the vaccine.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030898
PMCID: PMC3267744  PMID: 22303469
23.  Developing vaccines against pandemic influenza. 
Pandemic influenza presents special problems for vaccine development. There must be a balance between rapid availability of vaccine and the safeguards to ensure safety, quality and efficacy of vaccine. Vaccine was developed for the pandemics of 1957, 1968, 1977 and for the pandemic alert of 1976. This experience is compared with that gained in developing vaccines for a possible H5N1 pandemic in 1997-1998. Our ability to mass produce influenza vaccines against a pandemic threat was well illustrated by the production of over 150 million doses of 'swine flu' vaccine in the USA within a 3 month period in 1976. However, there is cause for concern that the lead time to begin vaccine production is likely to be about 7-8 months. Attempts to reduce this time should receive urgent attention. Immunogenicity of vaccines in pandemic situations is compared over the period 1968-1998. A consistent feature of the vaccine trials is the demonstration that one conventional 15 microg haemagglutinin dose of vaccine is not sufficiently immunogenic in naive individuals. Much larger doses or two lower doses are needed to induce satisfactory immunity. There is some evidence that whole-virus vaccines are more immunogenic than split or subunit vaccines, but this needs substantiating by further studies. H5 vaccines appeared to be particularly poor immunogens and there is evidence that an adjuvant may be needed. Prospects for improving the development of pandemic vaccines are discussed.
doi:10.1098/rstb.2001.0981
PMCID: PMC1088574  PMID: 11779397
24.  Protective Immunity in Mice Achieved with Dry Powder Formulation and Alternative Delivery of Plague F1-V Vaccine▿  
The potential use of Yersinia pestis as a bioterror agent is a great concern. Development of a stable powder vaccine against Y. pestis and administration of the vaccine by minimally invasive methods could provide an alternative to the traditional liquid formulation and intramuscular injection. We evaluated a spray-freeze-dried powder vaccine containing a recombinant F1-V fusion protein of Y. pestis for vaccination against plaque in a mouse model. Mice were immunized with reconstituted spray-freeze-dried F1-V powder via intramuscular injection, microneedle-based intradermal delivery, or noninvasive intranasal administration. By intramuscular injection, the reconstituted powder induced serum antibody responses and provided protection against lethal subcutaneous challenge with 1,000 50% lethal doses of Y. pestis at levels equivalent to those elicited by unprocessed liquid formulations (70 to 90% protection). The feasibility of intradermal and intranasal delivery of reconstituted powder F1-V vaccine was also demonstrated. Overall, microneedle-based intradermal delivery was shown to be similar in efficacy to intramuscular injection, while intranasal administration required an extra dose of vaccine to achieve similar protection. In addition, the results suggest that seroconversion against F1 may be a better predictor of protection against Y. pestis challenge than seroconversion against either F1-V or V. In summary, we demonstrate the preclinical feasibility of using a reconstituted powder F1-V formulation and microneedle-based intradermal delivery to provide protective immunity against plague in a mouse model. Intranasal delivery, while feasible, was less effective than injection in this study. The potential use of these alternative delivery methods and a powder vaccine formulation may result in substantial health and economic benefits.
doi:10.1128/CVI.00447-08
PMCID: PMC2681576  PMID: 19261773
25.  Association between the 2008–09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring–Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(4):e1000258.
In three case-control studies and a household transmission cohort, Danuta Skowronski and colleagues find an association between prior seasonal flu vaccination and increased risk of 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu.
Background
In late spring 2009, concern was raised in Canada that prior vaccination with the 2008–09 trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine (TIV) was associated with increased risk of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) (pH1N1) illness. Several epidemiologic investigations were conducted through the summer to assess this putative association.
Methods and Findings
Studies included: (1) test-negative case-control design based on Canada's sentinel vaccine effectiveness monitoring system in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec; (2) conventional case-control design using population controls in Quebec; (3) test-negative case-control design in Ontario; and (4) prospective household transmission (cohort) study in Quebec. Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios for TIV effect on community- or hospital-based laboratory-confirmed seasonal or pH1N1 influenza cases compared to controls with restriction, stratification, and adjustment for covariates including combinations of age, sex, comorbidity, timeliness of medical visit, prior physician visits, and/or health care worker (HCW) status. For the prospective study risk ratios were computed. Based on the sentinel study of 672 cases and 857 controls, 2008–09 TIV was associated with statistically significant protection against seasonal influenza (odds ratio 0.44, 95% CI 0.33–0.59). In contrast, estimates from the sentinel and three other observational studies, involving a total of 1,226 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,505 controls, indicated that prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009, with estimated risk or odds ratios ranging from 1.4 to 2.5. Risk of pH1N1 hospitalization was not further increased among vaccinated people when comparing hospitalized to community cases.
Conclusions
Prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV was associated with increased risk of medically attended pH1N1 illness during the spring–summer 2009 in Canada. The occurrence of bias (selection, information) or confounding cannot be ruled out. Further experimental and epidemiological assessment is warranted. Possible biological mechanisms and immunoepidemiologic implications are considered.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Every winter, millions of people catch influenza—a viral infection of the airways—and hundreds of thousands of people die as a result. These seasonal epidemics occur because small but frequent changes in the influenza virus mean that an immune response produced one year through infection or vaccination provides only partial protection against influenza the next year. Annual vaccination with killed influenza viruses of the major circulating strains can greatly reduce a person's risk of catching influenza. Consequently, many countries run seasonal influenza vaccination programs. In most of Canada, vaccination with a mixture of three inactivated viruses (a trivalent inactivated vaccine or TIV) is provided free to children aged 6–23 months, to elderly people, to people with long-term conditions that increase their risk of influenza-related complications, and those who provide care for them; in Ontario, free vaccination is offered to everyone older than 6 months.
In addition, influenza viruses occasionally emerge that are very different and to which human populations have virtually no immunity. These viruses can start global epidemics (pandemics) that can kill millions of people. Experts have been warning for some time that an influenza pandemic is long overdue and, in March 2009, the first cases of influenza caused by a new virus called pandemic A/H1N1 2009 (pH1N1; swine flu) occurred in Mexico. The virus spread rapidly and on 11 June 2009, the World Health Organization declared that a global pandemic of pH1N1 influenza was underway. By the end of February 2010, more than 16,000 people around the world had died from pH1N1.
Why Was This Study Done?
During an investigation of a school outbreak of pH1N1 in the late spring 2009 in Canada, investigators noted that people with illness characterized by fever and coughing had been vaccinated against seasonal influenza more often than individuals without such illness. To assess whether this association between prior vaccination with seasonal 2008–09 TIV and subsequent pH1N1 illness was evident in other settings, researchers in Canada therefore conducted additional studies using different methods. In this paper, the researchers report the results of four additional studies conducted in Canada during the summer of 2009 to assess this possible association.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted four epidemiologic studies. Epidemiology is the study of the causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations.
Three of the four studies were case-control studies in which the researchers assessed the frequency of prior vaccination with the 2008–09 TIV in people with pH1N1 influenza compared to the frequency among healthy members of the general population or among individuals who had an influenza-like illness but no sign of infection with an influenza virus. The researchers also did a household transmission study in which they collected information about vaccination with TIV among the additional cases of influenza that were identified in 47 households in which a case of laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 influenza had occurred. The first of the case-control studies, which was based on Canada's vaccine effectiveness monitoring system, showed that, as expected, the 2008–09 TIV provided protection against seasonal influenza. However, estimates from all four studies (which included about 1,200 laboratory-confirmed pH1N1 cases and 1,500 controls) showed that prior recipients of the 2008–09 TIV had approximately 1.4–2.5 times increased chances of developing pH1N1 illness that needed medical attention during the spring–summer of 2009 compared to people who had not received the TIV. Prior seasonal vaccination was not associated with an increase in the severity of pH1N1 illness, however. That is, it did not increase the risk of being hospitalized among those with pH1N1 illness.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Because all the investigations in this study are “observational,” the people who had been vaccinated might share another unknown characteristic that is actually responsible for increasing their risk of developing pH1N1 illness (“confounding”). Furthermore, the results reported in this study might have arisen by chance, although the consistency of results across the studies makes this unlikely. Thus, the finding of an association between prior receipt of 2008–09 TIV and an increased risk of pH1N1 illness is not conclusive and needs to be investigated further, particularly since some other observational studies conducted in other countries have reported that seasonal vaccination had no influence or may have been associated with reduced chances of pH1N1 illness. If the findings in the current study are real, however, they raise important questions about the biological interactions between seasonal and pandemic influenza strains and vaccines, and about the best way to prevent and control both types of influenza in future.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258.
This article is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Cécile Viboud and Lone Simonsen
FightFlu.ca, a Canadian government Web site, provides access to information on pH1N1 influenza
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about influenza for patients and professionals, including specific information on H1N1 influenza
Flu.gov, a US government website, provides access to information on H1N1, avian and pandemic influenza
The World Health Organization provides information on seasonal influenza and has detailed information on pH1N1 influenza (in several languages)
The UK Health Protection Agency provides information on pandemic influenza and on pH1N1 influenza
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000258
PMCID: PMC2850386  PMID: 20386731

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