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scientist using microscope

Another mRNA vaccine cancer treatment — Epstein-Barr virus

The FDA has approved an investigational new drug (IND) application for a novel mRNA therapeutic cancer vaccine, targeting Epstein-Barr virus-positive solid tumors and hematoma in adults. This vaccine, developed by WestGene Biotech, is intended for clinical trials under the name WGc-043 and is designed to enhance immune responses against specific cancer-associated antigens, potentially improving treatment outcomes. The vaccine is not yet approved for general use but is currently undergoing a phase 1 clinical trial in China.

a doctor attending a patient

COVID still has a higher mortality risk than the flu

A recent JAMA study by Ziyad Al-Aly and colleagues using data from over 11,000 hospitalized patients during 2023-24 shows COVID-19 has a 35% higher mortality risk than influenza. Despite frequent mutations of SARS-CoV-2, COVID remains significantly more lethal and causes more hospitalizations than the flu. This undercuts claims that COVID-19 is comparable to influenza in severity.

woman wearing face mask

New COVID variants entering the USA — all about FLiRT

The CDC is monitoring new COVID variants called FLiRT, with strains KP.2 and KP.1.1 now prevalent in the USA. These variants are highly transmissible and may not be effectively countered by current vaccines due to mutations on the spike protein. Symptoms resemble those of earlier strains, but the increased transmission and potential vaccine resistance make them a significant concern, prompting considerations for updated vaccines.

girl getting vaccinated

Debunking RFK Jr and Hooker’s book “Vax-Unvax” – Part 9, hepatitis B vaccine

This article critiques chapter 9 of “Vax-Unvax” by discussing the hepatitis B vaccine, highlighting how authors Kennedy and Hooker use flawed studies to link the vaccine to various health issues falsely. Dr. Frank Han refutes these claims by presenting evidence of the vaccine’s safety and its necessity in preventing neonatal infections and complications like liver failure and cancer in adulthood. The chapter underscores the importance of scientific literacy and accurate information in combating pseudoscience in healthcare.

photo of toddler smiling

California study shows COVID vaccine effectiveness for children

A study in the JAMA Network Open by University of California researchers analyzing over 3.9 million pediatric COVID-19 cases shows significant benefits of vaccination. The California COVID vaccine program reduced infections by 26.3% among children aged 6 months to 15 years and lowered hospitalizations by 24.4% in younger age groups. Vaccinations averted around 376,085 cases and 273 hospitalizations, demonstrating a clear reduction in disease transmission and severity following immunization in children.

Nicole Shanahan

RFK Jr running mate Nicole Shanahan — anti-vaccine tropes

Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a law professor, critiques Nicole Shanahan’s misunderstanding of vaccine compensation systems and adverse event monitoring, following Shanahan’s inaccurate tweets. Shanahan, running mate of anti-vaccine presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., incorrectly identified VAERS as a compensatory body and propagated misconceptions about vaccine injuries and compensation responsibilities. Reiss clarifies the role of VAERS, explaining its function as a monitoring database not involved in compensation, and discusses the actual compensation systems (VICP and CICP), emphasizing their benefits over the tort system proposed by Shanahan. Reiss’s article aims to correct misinformation and advocate for accurate understanding of vaccine safety and compensation mechanisms.

smiling baby lying on bed in room

Mothers protect their newborns with 3 doses of COVID vaccine

A study involving 220 pregnant women found that administering three doses of the mRNA COVID vaccine significantly enhanced protective antibodies in both mothers and newborns, compared to just two doses. The CDC supports COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy due to its efficacy and safety, underscoring the vaccine’s role in safeguarding maternal and fetal health without safety concerns, even in the third trimester.

person holding thermometer

H5N1 flu virus (bird flu) vaccine development and availability

The USA faces a growing bird flu outbreak caused by the H5N1 virus, with potential human infection risks but no confirmed human-to-human transmission yet. While the CDC monitors the situation, they’ve prepared by stockpiling H5N1 vaccines from manufacturers like Sanofi and GSK. However, the current vaccine reserves are limited and primarily for healthcare workers, with mass production waiting until a specific pandemic strain is identified. Furthermore, vaccine production could be challenged by reduced chicken egg availability due to the outbreak, prompting research into egg-less vaccine production methods.

Debunking RFK Jr and Hooker’s book “Vax-Unvax” – Part 8, DTaP vaccine

In part 8 of a series, Frank Han, M.D., debunks a chapter from “Vax-Unvax: Let the Science Speak,” criticizing its outdated references to the DTwP vaccine to discredit current pediatric vaccinations. Focusing on “nonspecific effects,” Han examines sources including Aaby and Stabell-Benn’s claims but finds them unsupported by robust evidence. He promotes continued vaccination, citing proven benefits like reduced mortality and morbidity.