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China sacks six senior officials at food and drug regulator over vaccine scandal

SHANGHAI: China said on Saturday it has sacked six senior officials at its food and drug regulator after a safety scandal at vaccine maker Changsheng Biotechnology Co Ltd revealed failings at the government body including inadequate supervision. In a post on its website, the State Administration for Market Regulation said that among officials dismissed were Ding Jianhua, who headed two departments at the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). the same statement was posted on the CFDA’s website. In July of…

Socially active older women benefit from flu vaccine

TOKYO: Flu shots may be especially important for older women who are socially active, a study from Japan suggests. In a study of people over age 65, unvaccinated women who regularly participated in two or more social activities were twice as likely to report a flu infection as those who didn’t participate in any such activities, the study authors report. At the same time, women who were vaccinated had no additional risk. “It has been thought that vaccine effectiveness is relatively low in elder persons . . . but our…

‘Mutant flu’ could lead to more effective vaccine: study

MIAMI: Experiments in lab animals have shown signs of success for a newly engineered flu virus that may lead one day to a more effective vaccine, researchers said Thursday. Trials in humans are still a long way off, but the report in the US journal Science earned praise from experts who described it as a promising first step toward better prevention of the flu. The World Health Organization considers the flu a major public health concern because it infects up to five million people with severe illness each year and…

Populists target vaccine decree ahead of Italy polls

ROME: Two Italian populist parties running in March elections are promising to scrap a compulsory vaccination law, a hot-button issue after a measles outbreak claimed four lives last year. Under the decree, which sparked heated public debate when it took effect six months ago, children cannot enrol in a creche or kindergarten unless they have been vaccinated against measles as well as nine other diseases. Parents of unvaccinated children aged between six and 16 face fines of up to 500 euros ($610). Read More: Measles…

Oxford team to test universal flu vaccine in world first

LONDON:  A seasonal flu vaccine that would be the first in the world to fight all types of the virus is to be tested in a two-year clinical trial involving more than 2,000 patients by researchers in Oxford. The so-called universal vaccine was developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and Vaccitech, a spin-out biotech company founded by Jenner scientists. Current flu vaccines have to be changed each year to match strains of virus circulating at the time and they do not always protect people that well, especially…

Tailor-made cancer ‘vaccine’ proves safe: trial results

PARIS: Two experimental treatments for skin cancer, tailor-made to target a particular patient's tumours, proved safe in small-scale trials, their developers reported on Wednesday. The vaccines also triggered an immune response to tumour cells, they said, although this does not necessarily equate to a cure. These are the first drug trials in humans with personalised vaccines directed at neoantigens -- molecules, caused by DNA mutations, found in cancer cells. The results of both were published in the journal Nature.…

WHO urges polio vaccine dose cut amid global shortage

GENEVA: Faced with a shortage of polio vaccine, the World Health Organisation urged countries on Friday to resort to smaller, fractional doses to ward off outbreaks of the crippling disease. "We do have a problem with the vaccine in the sense of not having enough of it," Alejandro Cravioto, head of WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), told reporters in a telephone conference. "But the recent evidence that we reviewed shows that even if we give a smaller dose of the vaccine under the skin instead of inside…

Chinese official sentenced 10 years in vaccine scandal

BEIJING: A former official of China's Food and Drug Administration has been jailed for taking bribes from vaccine manufacturers, reports said Tuesday, in a case with echoes of a major scandal that rocked the Asian country last year. Yin Hongzhang, the former deputy director of the administration's drug testing centre, received a 10-year sentence and was fined 500,000 yuan for taking bribes to help vaccine manufacturers gain approval for their drugs, China's Legal Evening News newspaper said. His wife and son earlier…