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2013 News

RPRC Winter 2013 Newsletter

Winter 2013

In this issue:

  • 2013 in Review
  • Save the Date - RPRC celebrates going into Year 3!
  • RPRC Seminar Series: February 19
  • LDMS Training
  • Upcoming RIM Schedule

Download the Winter 2013 Newsletter

RPRC September 2013 Newsletter

September 2013

In this issue:

  • NIAID Approves Additional RPRC Projects
  • 12-0004 RSV Study Kicks Off Year 2
  • RPRC Seminar Series: Looking for Speaker Suggestions!
  • In The News...
  • LDMS Training
  • Upcoming RIM Schedule

Download the September 2013 Newsletter

Can a usable H7N9 vaccine be made? Pending research should offer clues soon.

August 19, 2013

Can a usable H7N9 vaccine be made? Pending research should offer clues soon

Can a usable vaccine against the H7N9 bird flu virus be made? Studies that are about to start should offer clues soon, says the director of the U.S. government program spearheading the work. Four flu vaccine manufacturers have started or will soon start clinical trials on H7N9 vaccines, with four more expected to conduct trials in the late fall or early winter, says Dr. Robin Robinson. The work will cost the U.S. government about $100 million.

Flu vaccine expert Dr. John Treanor says he expects the trials to show adjuvanted H7N9 vaccine will work. "All the avian viruses are tough to generate antibody to," says Treanor, head of infectious diseases at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center. "So I would imagine that a standard, unadjuvanted H7 vaccine will probably not be very immunogenic, just like the H5(N1 vaccine) wasn't. But I don't think there's anything special about H7 that makes it different from anything else. There might be — but at the moment I don't think there's real data that supports that concept." Read more…

Pharmacies expect first flu vaccines

August 16, 2013

The flu season begins in November but the vaccines are already on their way, in some cases, already here at your local pharmacy or doctor's office. Rite Aids in the Rochester area are offering the vaccine and Wegmans stores anticipate having the shots in a few days. “It comes earlier and earlier every year,” shopper Mary Barrett said.

And with the new shipment of drugs comes – what doctors’ say – is better protection. For the first time a new vaccine, Fluarix Quadrivalent will fight against four strains of seasonal flu. Past vaccines only covered three. “It really increases coverage. What the vaccine manufacturers and the scientists have found, they were guessing wrong, which ‘B’ strain to put in the vaccine so since they could safely put in both strains, it made sense to do that,” Rochester General Hospital Infectious Disease Physician Dr. Ann Falsey said.

Researchers Call for Deeper Study of H7N9 Bird Flu Virus

August 12, 2013

In a letter published recently in Nature and Science, a group of prominent flu researchers voiced their support for studies to determine the potential of the new H7N9 bird flu virus to gain or lose traits that would influence its ability to spread from person to person. They believe such research is critical to assess the possible risk associated with the virus, which was first reported in China in early April, and to give public health authorities the information they need to mount an effective and timely response in the face of a pandemic.

University of Rochester Medical Center scientists John Treanor, M.D., and David Topham, Ph.D., are authors on the letter. Read More…

RPRC July 2013 Newsletter

July 2013

In this issue:

  • RPRC Studies - Update
  • RPRC Research in Motion
  • In the News...
  • Changes in Personnel - An Administrative Reminder
  • RPRC Seminar Series
  • Reminder: RPRC Internet Calendar

Download the July 2013 Newsletter

Is the MERS virus worth the worry?

June 26, 2013


Over the last several months, I’ve been peppered with questions from folks wondering what to make of the latest viral threat: Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome, or MERS. Is it all headline hype, or is it worth a little worry? And with news of cases now in Europe, are there special considerations for those whose summer plans involve crossing the Atlantic?

The best way to fight fear is facts. Cases of the acute respiratory illness — caused by a previously unknown virus — continue to climb. The illness gets its name because the first cases were isolated in Saudi Arabia, and the majority have since occurred in that region. To date, there have been 55 cases recognized, of which 32 (58 percent) have proven fatal. And although most have occurred in the Middle East, there have been a handful in returning travelers to England, France and Italy. Several are the result of person-to-person transmission, some of which occurred in health care settings. Read more...

Bird flu - U.S. safe from two new viruses - so far

May 12, 2013

More than 50 travelers just back in the United States from China who had flu-like symptoms have been tested for the H7N9 bird flu virus, federal health officials say. So far, none has tested positive. But the fact that they’re being tested at all shows just how worried the U.S. government is about this new strain of bird flu, which threatens at the same time as a still-mysterious coronavirus from the Middle East. The test kits had to be specially made up and distributed under an emergency provision.

The H7N9 flu can spread silently, as people transmit influenza before they’re sick themselves. If the flu did mutate into a pandemic form, it would probably take at least six months to make enough vaccines to protect large numbers of people. “It may take longer than it takes the virus to spread,” says Dr. John Treanor, a flu vaccine expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “The technology that we have today is such that the bulk of the pandemic disease may have already taken place before a vaccine is in place and can be used,” he added. “The virus can spread very, very quickly. You are in a race against time.” Read more...

RPRC May 2013 Newsletter

May 2013

In this issue:

  • 1st RPRC Annual Meeting
  • RPRC Research in Motion
  • Improvement Ideas - Submit
  • LDMS Training
  • RPRC Seminar Series
  • Reminder: RPRC Internet Calendar

Download the May 2013 Newsletter

URMC Enrolling Patients to Test Live Pandemic Flu Vaccines

April 9, 2013

This spring, infectious disease researchers at URMC will recruit 20 volunteers for a 12-day isolation research study testing live-virus bird flu vaccines. Their hope: Turning up a “marker” of sorts that would let future scientists know – fast – which vaccines are likely to work, and which are bound to fail.

Compared to traditional flu shots, live-virus vaccines, squirted into the nose, have the potential to produce a more robust immune response; after all, they challenge the body to beat back real virus, not just pieces of a “dead” one. For a pandemic scenario, this makes them particularly attractive: It could mean fewer doses are needed to protect a population. The problem is that, while some live-virus vaccines absolutely flourish in the human nose, others fail to thrive.

The upcoming study specifically looks at two strains of pandemic vaccine (H2N3 and H9N2) – one known to blossom in the nasal cavity, the other, not as much. Study investigator Dr. John Treanor’s team will be watching closely to see precisely how and why the “dud” vaccine fails. Read more...

RPRC February 2013 Newsletter

February 2013

In this issue:

  • RPRC Contract Year 2 Goals
  • Submit Your Improvement Ideas!
  • 1st RPRC Annual Meeting
  • RPRC Studies – Status
  • RPRC Seminar Series
  • Supplies and Equipment Purchases – All Personnel including Admins
  • RPRC Internet Calendar