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    Researchers: Pneumonia vaccine could use improvement

    Pneumonia is a leading cause of respiratory death globally, despite the fact that many children and adults are vaccinated against the disease.

    A new study out of the United Kingdom, however, reveals that current vaccines may weaken infection or reduce secondary maladies but not necessarily prevent infection with the bacteria that causes pneumonia.

    In a study published in Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine, titled “Adult pneumococcal vaccination: advances, impact, and unmet needs,” researchers identify the shortcomings of the vaccine and possible methods to increase immunity.

    Jeremy S. Brown, PhD, a professor in the Center of Inflammation and Tissue Repair at University College London Respiratory and co-author of the study, said while the report isn’t going as far as to say existing versions of the pneumonia vaccine have poor efficacy, they may prevent some complications of the disease better than the disease itself.
    “The ‘old’ adult vaccine PPV is not effective at preventing pneumonia in adults; but does seem to prevent S. pneumoniae septicaemia, which in adults is usually a complication of pneumonia and makes the disease more severe,” Brown told Medical Economics. “So it’s probably still useful and beneficial but according to the U.K. vaccine committee the cost benefit analysis is marginal.”

    Using the PCV vaccine in children is very effective against vaccine serotypes for preventing septicemia and meningitis, as well as pneumonia, Brown said, while the PPV vaccine for adults prevent septicemia but not pneumonia itself.

    Next: Treating adults with PCV

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Rachael Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare ...

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