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Analysis and Comment (32)

Time to run. Time to run. Mytoenailcameoff

Rabies – a global killer that dog jabs can eliminate

Chacha, a farmer and businessman from northern Tanzania, returned home from market one afternoon to find that his family’s newly adopted puppy had bitten five of his children. The puppy had been playful…
A Liberian nurse disinfects a looted mattress taken from an elementary school that was used as an Ebola isolation unit in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. A Liberian nurse disinfects a looted mattress taken from an elementary school that was used as an Ebola isolation unit in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. AHMED JALLANZO/EPA

Epidemic ethics: four lessons from the current Ebola outbreak

The extent of the current Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has belatedly focused the attention of non-governmental organisations, local and Western governments, and international media. What we haven’t…
Putting HIV under the microscope. Putting HIV under the microscope. NIAID

How HIV co-opts gut bacteria to pose as a familiar infection

One of the most effective methods used by HIV to evade control is to hide from the immune system. We’re getting to know much more about how the virus does this and research has revealed how normal bacteria…
This would be the ideal way to fight HIV. This would be the ideal way to fight HIV. europedistrict

Research may be beating HIV, but vaccine remains a way off

Three decades since the onset of the infection in a global population, HIV care and treatment is looking very different. Given the difficulties involved, it is remarkable that having developed good treatments…
Resurrecting the 1918 flu virus since 2005. Resurrecting the 1918 flu virus since 2005. James Gathany/CDC

Deadly airborne flu virus created in lab – not as bad as it sounds

Influenza viruses that exist in nature and affect wild birds shuffle their genes about all the time, creating new viruses with different genetic combinations. In this way a virus was created that in 1918…
Anthrax in the mail can be deadly. Anthrax in the mail can be deadly. Belga Photo/Yves Boucau

Ten-year research reveals new leads for anthrax vaccine

Anthrax occupies a special role as a feared and potentially lethal disease, but the culmination of a ten-year research project has identified a section of its toxin that could produce an effective new…
A little bit of pain is a worthwhile price for child health and community well-being. A little bit of pain is a worthwhile price for child health and community well-being. Sarah Gilbert

Vaccinations are a vital part of ethical ‘alternative’ lifestyles

Often cited as one of the most important medical breakthroughs in human history, immunisation has been a hallmark of public health interventions for more than 200 years. Globally, an estimated 2.5 million…
There’s no vaccine against persistent attacks on scientific evidence. There’s no vaccine against persistent attacks on scientific evidence. www.shutterstock.com

Climate and vaccine deniers are the same: beyond persuasion

Governments are worried. Vaccination rates are falling under the influence of a campaign of misinformation by a small minority of fanatics. Scientifically there is no debate about immunisation, with every…
Malaria prevention is going beyond the mosquito net. Malaria prevention is going beyond the mosquito net. Gates Foundation

New malaria vaccine has its flaws, but it’s better than nothing

The announcement that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) aims to register a malaria vaccine came on the same day Peter Higgs and Francois Englert were awarded the Nobel prize in physics for predicting the existence…
Asylum seeker children who have tried to get to Australia by boat since the PNG agreement was announced will be sent to Manus Island. Asylum seeker children who have tried to get to Australia by boat since the PNG agreement was announced will be sent to Manus Island.

FactCheck: can children under seven be sent to Manus Island?

“You cannot send children aged under seven to Manus Island because of the issues of inoculation - you can’t do it.” - Opposition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison, press conference, 21 July. Scott Morrison…
The new vaccine scheme sees children receiving their jabs at an earlier age. The new vaccine scheme sees children receiving their jabs at an earlier age. Jovan Mandic/ Shutterstock

Vaccine program changes protect kids, but with fewer ouches

Changes to the National Immunisation Program schedule coming into effect today (July 1, 2013) will see two fewer injections given to young children. The changes represent a more efficient way of delivering…
The benefits of the human papillomavirus vaccine far outweigh risks. The benefits of the human papillomavirus vaccine far outweigh risks. VCU CNS/Flickr

Four things you should know about HPV vaccinations

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine has attracted attention in the past week for two contradictory reasons: the Japanese government has withdrawn its recommendation for the shot, while public health…

A view on: vaccination myths

In recent years there’s been growing debate around the safety of vaccinations – but how much of this is based on untruths? In the latest collaboration between SBS and The Conversation, Dr Rachael Dunlop…
Advances are being made towards a HIV cure but with 34 million affected worldwide there’s still a lot of work to be done to help manage it. Advances are being made towards a HIV cure but with 34 million affected worldwide there’s still a lot of work to be done to help manage it. Wikimedia Commons/C Goldsmith

HIV cure: scientific reality or media hype?

Until a few years ago there was no talk of curing HIV. Research focused on making anti-HIV drugs better, trying to find a vaccine or understanding why they didn’t seem to be working. Another area was public…
The dose makes the poison so fear is stoked by a lack of basic understanding of chemistry and toxicology. The dose makes the poison so fear is stoked by a lack of basic understanding of chemistry and toxicology. Ellen Fitzsimons

‘Toxins’ in vaccines: a potentially deadly misunderstanding

Vaccination is one of the most important preventative measures against serious illness, but its very success may be working against it. With parents no longer having the experience of the devastating diseases…
The ABC’s popular Q And A show revolves around opinion. But not all opinions are of equal value. The ABC’s popular Q And A show revolves around opinion. But not all opinions are of equal value. ABC TV

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning. Secondly…
Infants too young to receive the whooping cough vaccine are at greatest risk. Infants too young to receive the whooping cough vaccine are at greatest risk. flickr/rifqy

Does whooping cough vaccine for parents protect newborns (and who should pay for it)?

Recent news reports say the free whooping cough vaccine for parents to protect newborns will be discontinued because it is not effective. Parents who’ve been told this is an important step to protect their…
Up to one million Africa children die of malaria every year. Up to one million Africa children die of malaria every year. US Army Africa

Genetically modifying parasites to find the best malaria vaccine

The great burden of death and disease caused by the malaria parasite often goes unnoticed in the developed world. But it’s the leading cause of death in children under five years old in many sub-Sahara…
Researchers aren’t sure whether a relatively common environmental chemical compromises our immune response to vaccines. Researchers aren’t sure whether a relatively common environmental chemical compromises our immune response to vaccines. Chris RubberDragon

Is your health at risk from fish and frying pans?

Will our desire for seafood and non-stick frying pans compromise the effectiveness of vaccines intended to protect us from nasty diseases? Research published today in the Journal of the American Medical…
Sometimes it only takes one or two powerfully conveyed stories of disease affliction to spur people into getting their vaccinations. Sometimes it only takes one or two powerfully conveyed stories of disease affliction to spur people into getting their vaccinations. AAP

Vaccinations in the news in 2011

Whenever stories about vaccination hit the headlines, just how deeply we value vaccines becomes strikingly clear. Whether it’s the celebration of new vaccines, the outrage at disease outbreaks, or the…
All vaccines rely on generating an immune response that persists but our understanding of immune memory has some way to go. All vaccines rely on generating an immune response that persists but our understanding of immune memory has some way to go. James Gathany/CDC

Search for the elusive universal flu vaccine

Influenza is never off the news agenda for long. If it’s not the flu season (and it always is in one hemisphere) and the attendant calls for vaccinations, it’s news about vaccines causing problems or new…
Case closed: the MMR vaccine has no relationship with autism. Case closed: the MMR vaccine has no relationship with autism.

Monday’s medical myth: the MMR vaccine causes autism

Few medical myths have spread as feverishly and contributed to so much preventable illness than the theory that the triple measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine might be linked to autism. The tale…
Michelle Bachmann is not an authority on HPV vaccination but may negatively influence the vaccine’s uptake in the United States. Michelle Bachmann is not an authority on HPV vaccination but may negatively influence the vaccine’s uptake in the United States. Gage Skidmore

Michele Bachmann and vaccines: if only we could vaccinate against HPV rumours

Michele Bachmann’s unfounded statement about HPV vaccination and mental retardation couldn’t be further from the truth. But the damage her statements may cause is even more disturbing than what she says…
There’s a temporal link between autism being diagnosed and children getting several vaccinations. There’s a temporal link between autism being diagnosed and children getting several vaccinations. nealeanddalissa/Flickr

Muddied waters: setting the record straight about MMR vaccinations and autism

The lack of scientific literacy in the media causes much harm to public understanding of the role and importance of vaccines. The latest instance revives the same old fears using the same formula that…
In the developed world, people who regularly inject drugs are most at risk of being infected with hepatitis C. In the developed world, people who regularly inject drugs are most at risk of being infected with hepatitis C. AAP

Repeat offender: the strange comings and goings of hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne virus that infects about 3% of the world’s population. It’s a significant cause of both illness and death due to cirrhosis (advanced liver scarring) and liver cancer. By the…
Preventing infection with the Hendra virus remains the most effective measure against the virus. Preventing infection with the Hendra virus remains the most effective measure against the virus. AAP

Hold your horses: Hendra treatment is no panacea

Queensland authorities came under attack yesterday for being unprepared for a Hendra virus outbreak after it was found that they’d only stocked 15 doses of virus antibodies. But the case for stocking up…
Vaccines are history’s best public health tools but developing countries give low priority to health in their budgets. Vaccines are history’s best public health tools but developing countries give low priority to health in their budgets. AAP

Gus Nossal: we can win the war against infectious disease, and here’s how

The Lancet, one of most prestigious medical journals in the world recently published a series of five papers on “the new decade of vaccines”. These were followed by a sixth paper – A call to action for…
With a bacterial base, liquid vaccines could be produced quickly and at low cost. With a bacterial base, liquid vaccines could be produced quickly and at low cost. Flickr/hdptcar

Edible vaccines could help eradicate disease in the developing world

Twenty years after his discovery that peptic ulcers were caused by a bacteria called Helicobacter pylori, Nobel Prize winner Barry Marshall is using the same bacteria as the base of an edible vaccine that…
A person harmed while helping the community attain herd immunity should be compensated. A person harmed while helping the community attain herd immunity should be compensated. AAP

Ending the vaccine blame game: time for a no-fault compensation scheme

When someone is adversely affected by a vaccine in Australia, their only way to receive compensation is through the courts. But this is not the case worldwide. Vaccines undergo rigorous testing to ensure…

Research and News (5)

Boys to receive Gardasil HPV vaccine

Boys are likely be offered subsidised vaccinations against the sexually transmitted, wart and cancer-causing human papillomavirus…

Research Briefs (8)

New approach to cancer vaccines

An international team of scientists has used DNA from healthy cells have been used to create a cancer vaccine to treat prostate…