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Forecasting epidemic: GLEAM

on Thu, 01/10/2013 - 16:38
By combining epidemiology and informatics, it is possible to assess scenarios and predict epidemic evolutions, thus allowing policy makers and health institutions to better manage health emergencies. This is the core concept of GLEAM, an online informatics tool that simulates the unfolding of epidemics across the world.

Taking stock of vaccination in Europe

on Sat, 12/01/2012 - 12:15
Two important conferences has been dedicated to review the state of art of vaccinations in Europe. The first of them was organized by the Executive Agency for Health and Consumers (Each) in Luxembourg, on October 15th-16th and whose main question was “Why is it important to be vaccinated?” During the course of the conference, there has been the presentation of the Venice (Vaccine European New Integrated Collaboration Effort) project, aimed to establish an European network dedicated to vaccinations, and the Promovax (Promote Vaccination among Migrants Populations in Europe) project, which was focused on vaccinations amongst the European migrant populations.

The Roche affair

on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 14:50
In an open letter published on the British Medical Journal (BMJ) on November 22nd, Donald MacLean, Roche Life Cycle Leader, says that Roche is going to set up a multi-party advisory board in order to review the totality of data regarding its antiviral Tamiflu. This letter is only the last act of an extended debate that opposed the Swiss global health-care company and the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, concerning the evidence base for Tamiflu efficacy.

Accenture and OHA cooperation for biosurveillance

on Wed, 11/14/2012 - 17:07


The U.S. Office for Health Affairs (OHA) and Accenture Federal Services will cooperate to a biosurveillance project. The aim of this project is the development of a social media analytics tool that may allow to collect and analyze data from social networking and social media sites in real time, in order to improve OHA’s biosurveillance capabilities. The use of the vast amount of data made available by social media – Facebook, Twitter, blogs – could greatly help to better predict a possible national health emergency, to inform citizens and to respond to potential crises.

Vaccine withdrawal and mounting public distrust: an important case study of bad communication in flu prevention campaign

on Mon, 11/12/2012 - 10:11

On Oct 17th, 2012, on the verge of the 2012 seasonal flu vaccine campaign, the Italian Ministry of Health suddenly announced the recall of 2.3 million doses of the Inflexal V flu vaccine, produced by the Dutch company Crucell.


New coronavirus case in Saudi Arabia

on Sat, 11/10/2012 - 11:43
A case of pneumonia caused by a novel coronavirus, temporarily named nCov-EMC, has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Flu and diabetes are linked

on Mon, 11/05/2012 - 10:48

A link between influenza A virus and type 1 diabetes has been discovered by the research team led by Ilaria Capua, group leader of the World Organisation for Animal Health reference laboratory for avian flu in Legnaro, Italy. Type 1 diabetes often appears suddenly after an infection and is caused by an inflammatory response that targets the pancreatic cells that produce insulin, destroying them. For these reasons, a connection between this disease and a viral trigger has been hypothesized in the last 40 years, but nobody managed to demonstrate it.
Capua’s team tested this hypothesis in vivo on

Novartis vaccines prohibited in Italy

on Tue, 10/30/2012 - 11:15


The Italian Ministry for Health and the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) disposed the precautionary and immediate prohibition for citizens to buy the four anti-influenza vaccines produced by Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics S.r.l., due to the unexpected finding of protein aggregates that could theoretically lead to an increase of adverse reaction to the injection.
As it is explained in the AIFA official measure, the quality and toxicological reports presented by Novartis about the four vaccines – Fluad, Agrippal, Influpozzi Adjuvant and Influpozzi Subunit – did not provide sufficient

Moderate effectiveness of US influenza vaccines

on Thu, 10/11/2012 - 22:45
A group of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center found that the effectiveness of US influenza vaccines during the 2010-2011 season was moderate, even if all 3 vaccine strains were well matched to circulating strains.

European preparedness to seasonal flu

on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 11:14
As every year, a new flu season is going to start, and health care professionals and institutions all over the world are preparing themselves to face this annual recurrent epidemic.