Navigation Links
Targeting children effective use of limited supplies of flu vaccine and could help control flu spread

Targeting children may be an effective use of limited supplies of flu vaccine, according to research at the University of Warwick funded by the Wellcome Trust and the EU. The study suggests that, used to support other control measures, this could help control the spread of pandemics such as the current swine flu.

As the World Health Organization declares a pandemic global H1N1 swine flu, countries are looking at measures to control the spread of the disease. These measures include the use of antiviral treatment, social distancing (for example, closing schools and stopping public transport) and quarantining infected individuals.

Pharmaceutical companies have also stepped up production of vaccines effective against this particular strain of the virus. However, if the spread of the disease increases significantly in the autumn, as some scientists predict, it is unlikely that supplies of the new vaccine will be sufficient to vaccinate entire populations.

In research published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, Dr Thomas House and Professor Matt Keeling from the University of Warwick's Department of Biological Sciences have used computer modelling to predict the spread of pandemic influenza and to look at ways of controlling it effectively, particularly where supplies of vaccine are not sufficient for universal coverage.

The researchers showed that, as might be expected, the disease is likely to spread fastest in densely-populated conurbations, suggesting that these should be priority areas for tackling the spread. However, they showed that vaccinating entire households at random was an inefficient use of resources; instead, vaccinating key individuals offered sufficient protection to others in their household.

Although a simplification of the complex reality of pandemic flu transmission, the researchers believe their model provides a robust argument for vaccinating children.

"Our models suggest that the larger the household which in most cases means the more children living at home the more likely the infection is to spread," says Professor Keeling. "This doesn't mean that everyone in the household needs to be vaccinated, but suggests that vaccination programmes for children might help control a potential pandemic."

The researchers argue that targeting children for vaccination would not only help protect those at greatest risk of exposure to the virus, but would also offer protection to unvaccinated adults. This so-called "herd immunity" effect would mean that significantly less vaccine would be necessary to help control the spread of the virus than if it were offered to everyone.

"Given that children are generally at particular risk from the disease, we believe that vaccination programmes for the young can be justified," says Dr House. "Although not sufficient to prevent a pandemic in themselves, such steps may support other control measures such as social distancing, antiviral drugs or quarantine."

The current study focuses on household transmissions. In the event of a disease outbreak, other modes of transmission are also likely, such as at work or on public transport. However, data for these modes is harder to come by. Professor Keeling and Dr House, together with colleagues at the University of Liverpool, are currently running, a survey on contact patterns which they hope will help to quantify the relative importance of each context.

"We think it is unlikely that including these other contexts in our model will change the conclusion regarding vaccinating children," says Dr House. "In every city studied, households are seen to play a key role in the transmission of close-contact diseases like influenza."


Contact: Kelly Parkes-Harrison
University of Warwick

Related biology news :

1. Targeting nerve growth factor may cure liver cancer
2. Gene-targeting pioneer Mario Capecchi shares 2007 Nobel Prize in Medicine
3. Yale chemist receives NIH Young Investigator Award for antibody targeting
4. Titanium Group Announces Launch of New Identification Solution Targeting High Growth Retail Sector
5. Tumor-targeting viral therapy slows neuroblastoma, malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors
6. AACR annual meeting showcases developments in understanding and targeting cancers
7. Motor nerve targeting to limb muscles is controlled by ephrin proteins
8. Twin nanoparticle shown effective at targeting, killing breast cancer cells
9. Peregrines PS-targeting antibodies highlighted in AACR Annual Meeting studies
10. Fat still on the childrens menu
11. Many parents at-risk for cancer disclose genetic test results to children
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... 11, 2015   Growing need for low-cost, ... has been paving the way for use of ... discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and ... used in medical applications, however, their adoption is ... to continuous emphasis on improving product quality and ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... , Nov. 10, 2015 ... behavioral biometrics that helps to identify and verify ... Signature is considered as the secure and accurate ... identification of a particular individual because each individual,s ... accurate results especially when dynamic signature of an ...
(Date:11/4/2015)... , November 4, 2015 ... market report published by Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions ... and Forecast 2015 - 2022", the global home security solutions ... bn by 2022. The market is estimated to expand ... from 2015 to 2022. Rising security needs among customers ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today ... Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an ... turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... 2015 , ... International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) closed ... events for pharmaceutical manufacturing: 2015 Annual Meeting. The conference took place in Philadelphia, ... number of attendees in more than a decade. , “The 2015 Annual ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, has officially ... to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has exploded in ... racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because of their ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... FRANCISCO , Nov. 24, 2015  Twist ... announced that Emily Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief ... Jaffray Healthcare Conference on December 1, 2015 at ... Hotel in New York City. --> ... . Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: