PHARMACY

Survivors from 1918 influenza may hold key to current vaccine

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Researchers have found that survivors of the 1918 influenza pandemic still have antibodies providing resistance to one of the deadliest viruses in modern history, according to the Associated Press.

The researchers did tests on 32 survivors—all aged 92 to 102—and found that the antibodies remained in their bloodstreams. They also manipulated the antibodies into a vaccine and injected it into mice, which became immune to the virus themselves.

This is the longest that cells targeting specific pathogens have lasted in people, the author of the study said.

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States come out against FDA pre-emption rule in Wyeth case

BY Alaric DeArment

MONTPELIER, Vt. Forty-seven states—including Vermont—want the United States Supreme Court to uphold a ruling against Wyeth that forced the drug maker to pay $6.8 million in damages after one of its drugs caused complications requiring a woman’s arm to be amputated.

The woman, Diana Levine of Marshfield, Vt., received an injection of the anti-nausea drug Phenergan in an artery in 2000. The injection caused artery damage and gangrene that eventually required amputation of her right arm. The jury in a lower court awarded Levine, a musician, $6.8 million.

The case will be argued before the Supreme Court Nov. 3.

Wyeth says it won approval for the drug’s warning label from the Food and Drug Administration, and thus should not have been subject to a lawsuit.

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FDA warns of Byetta risk for severe pancreatitis

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON The Food and Drug Administration has received six reports of hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis in patients taking Eli Lilly’s Byetta, an injected drug used for treating Type 2 diabetes and known generically as exenatide.

All six cases required hospitalization, and two patients died. At the time of reporting, four were recovering.

The FDA warns that patients should discontinue medication use if pancreatitis is suspected, and that there are no signs to distinguish acute hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis associated with Byetta from less severe forms of the disease.

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