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Study: Coupling injected polio vaccine with more commonly used live oral polio vaccine may eradicate disease

BY Michael Johnsen

LONDON — Re-introducing a type of polio vaccine that fell out of favour in the 1960s could hasten eradication of the disease, according to new research.
 
The study — conducted by Imperial College London and the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India — suggests that the injected polio vaccine, or IPV, which is rarely used today in countries affected by polio, could provide better and longer lasting protection against infection if used in combination with the more commonly used live oral polio vaccine, or OPV.
 
The findings were published last week in The Lancet.
 
Vaccination protects an individual against contracting polio, but they can still be infected by the virus, which replicates in the gut and can be passed to others through contact with infected feces. This has led to serious polio outbreaks in Asia, Africa and Europe over the last 10 years, and is hampering efforts to eradicate the disease.
 
Most vaccination campaigns use multiple doses of OPV that provide some gut immunity, although this wanes over time.
 
"Because IPV is injected into the arm, rather than taken orally, it's been assumed it doesn't provide much protection in the gut and so would be less effective at preventing faecal transmission than OPV," explained Jacob John, associate professor at the Christian Medical College, who led the study. "However, we found that where the children already had a level of immunity due to OPV, the injected vaccine actually boosted their gut immunity," he said. "In the 1960s there was extensive rivalry between the scientists who developed the two vaccines, with OPV eventually becoming the most popular. But it looks as if the strongest immunity can been achieved through a combination of the two."
 
The study involved 450 children from a densely populated urban area in Vellore, India, all of whom had received the oral polio vaccine as part of a standard vaccination program. Half of the children were given a dose of the injected vaccine and half given nothing. One month later, the children were given a 'challenge' dose of the live oral vaccine to simulate reinfection.
 
Their stools were tested after seven days to see if the virus was present, specifically the two remaining serotypes of the virus which are resisting eradication — serotype 1 and serotype 3. In the children who had received the IPV, the researchers found that 38% fewer had serotype 1 in their stool, and 70% fewer had serotype 3, compared with those who had not been given the injected vaccine.
 
"Our findings show that an additional dose of the injected vaccine is more effective at boosting immunity against infection than the oral vaccine alone," said Nick Grassly, professor of Vaccine Epidemiology at Imperial College London, senior author of the study. "This implies that the IPV could be used to boost immunity in people travelling from or to polio-infected countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. It could also replace some of the OPV doses in immunization campaigns to boost gut immunity, particularly in areas of poor sanitation."

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Lindt expands portfolio with Russell Stover deal

BY Ryan Chavis

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lindt & Sprüngli Group announced on Monday that it has reached an agreement to purchase Russell Stover Candies. The Russel Stover and Whitman's brands will complement Lindt & Sprüngli's existing portfolio of premium chocolates, making it the No. 3 North American chocolate manufacturer, the company said.

"This biggest and most important strategic acquisition to date in Lindt & Sprüngli's history is a unique opportunity for us to expand our North American chocolate business and will greatly enhance the group's status in the world's biggest overall chocolate marketplace," said Ernst Tanner, chairman of the Lindt & Sprüngli board of directors and group CEO.

Russell Stover reports annual sales of close to $500 million and has been headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., for more than 80 years. In addition to four chocolate factories, the company runs a chain of 35 retail outlets, most of which are located in the central United States. The company will continue to maintain headquarters in Kansas City. Financial terms of the deal were not released by the company, but Reuters reported that it's around one billion dollars.

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Walgreens expands vaccine availability across Florida store base

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday expanded vaccine availability at all of its more than 800 locations across Florida as new state legislation takes effect to help bring greater patient access to vaccines.
 
Pharmacists in the Sunshine state are now authorized to provide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended meningococcal (meningitis) vaccines for patients 18 years and older, and zoster (shingles) vaccines for patients 60 years and older, in addition to influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations available to eligible patients ages 18 and older.
 
“As some of the most trusted healthcare professionals in communities across Florida, this is an excellent opportunity for our pharmacists to help educate residents about the importance of adult vaccinations and to improve immunization rates through greater access,” said Terry Gubbins, Florida market pharmacy director for Walgreens. “We’ve demonstrated through flu seasons and other health initiatives the important role Walgreens is playing in health care today, providing high quality, affordable care to help more people get, stay and live well.”

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