Checking infection

Painful influenza shots may soon become a thing of the past

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

a nasal spray vaccine may prove effective in preventing influenza in children. Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (niaid) , Bethesda, usa , have succeeded in controlling the infection with the help of this viral vaccination. They have also developed a sprayer that is capable of delivering a precise dose of the vaccine in the form of tiny droplets in the nasal passage (Molecular Medicine Today , Vol 3, No 11).

The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, usa , and a us -based bio-pharmaceutical company, Aviron, have extended their helping hands in the research. When the researchers vaccinated nearly 1,070 children between the age group of 15 months to 66 years, the overall protection rate exceeded by 93 per cent. Only one child developed influenza after the vaccination as against 18 per cent people who received placebo.

By eliminating the need for a syringe, needle and a nurse to administer it, intranasal vaccines should find more acceptability even among the reluctant adults, especially old people. This trials were conducted at 10 different places by the niaid and Aviron throughout the us.

Influenza also called flu, is an infection in the lungs caused by a virus. It is among the most common diseases. Influenza affects mostly children and old people. It is highly contagious and produce symptoms such as fever, headache, backache, loss of appetite and increased sensitivity to light. Cough soon becomes a major symptom and other features of the disease such as inflammation of the respiratory tract sometimes leads to life-threatening complications.

Even while it is highly contagious, influenza is normally considered a self-limiting disease. But the disease does hit with vigour occasionally. The epidemic of flue during 1918-19 killed about 20 million people, which was more than the total deaths during both the World Wars.

There are four types of influenza caused by four different viruses -- a , b , c and d. Type a is the most common disease among all the four types.

Medication hardly has any impact on the infecting virus. So patients are given medicines only to provide symptomatic relief to reduce fever, pains and aches. This helps shorten the duration of fever and other symptoms by over 50 per cent.

Children are more vulnerable to influenza. They also spread the infection more aggressively. This is the reason that they were especially inducted in the trials, says Robert Belshe, the study leader at the Saint Louis University, Missouri, usa.

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