Nav: Home

New findings on flu nasal spray

August 15, 2016

1. Flu nasal spray offers similar protection against flu compared to standard flu shot

Findings differ from those that prompted ACIP to recommend that the nasal spray not be used during the upcoming flu season

URL goes live when the embargo lifts

A study conducted in the Hutterite community found that immunizing children with the live attenuated influenza vaccine, the kind found in the flu nasal spray, did not provide better direct or community protection against influenza than the inactivated influenza vaccine, or standard flu shot. The protection, however, was similar in both groups. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Influenza, or flu, is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Vaccinating children against flu can both protect them individually and also protect the community from becoming infected, which is known as herd immunity. Earlier studies conducted in young children suggested that the nasal spray vaccine provided better direct protection against flu than the standard shot, which would suggest better heard immunity as well. However, most comparative flu vaccine studies assess direct protection only.

Researchers conducted a cluster randomized trial in a Hutterite colony where people live communally and are relatively isolated from cities and towns to determine whether vaccinating children and adolescents with the flu nasal spray provided better direct and community protection than the standard flu shot. The authors randomly assigned 1,186 children in 52 Hutterite colonies in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada to receive the nasal spray vaccine and 3,425 children to receive the standard flu shot. They found that the nasal spray vaccine was very similar to the standard flu shot in providing direct protection to children and also in creating herd immunity.

According to the study lead author, Mark Loeb, MD of McMaster University, while these findings did not show superiority of the live vaccine, rather that both vaccines had a similar effect, they differ from recent observational studies showing that the nasal spray vaccine was ineffective, which had prompted the Centers for Disease Control Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to recommend that the nasal spray not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. To reach the lead author, Dr. Mark Loeb, please contact Veronica McGuire at or (905) 525-9140, ext. 22169.

2. Strong evidence lacking to compare management strategies for renal artery stenosis

URL goes live when the embargo lifts

Researchers found a lack of strong evidence to compare the benefits and harms of revascularization using percutaneous transluminal renal angioplasty with stent placement (PTRAS) versus medical therapy alone for atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS). The report is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

ARAS is a narrowing of arteries that carry blood to one or both of the kidneys. It is more prevalent in older people and can lead to hypertension and kidney damage. Treatment options for ARAS include medical therapy - aggressive blood pressure control, statins, and antiplatelets - or renal artery revascularization with continued medical therapy. PTRAS is the current standard for revascularization. A 2007 systematic review of management strategies for ARAS concluded that evidence did not support one treatment approach over another. Since then, two large trials have been conducted. Given the inconclusive prior review and the availability of new evidence, investigators sought to reevaluate the comparative benefits and harms of strategies for management of patients with ARAS and to identify factors that may predict which patients are most likely to benefit from each intervention.

The researchers reviewed 83 published studies to compare the benefits and harms of PTRAS versus medical therapy alone for ARAS. Overall, the evidence did not support a benefit with PTRAS over medical therapy alone in most patients with ARAS. Observational studies did suggest that some high risk patients may have improved outcomes with PTRA and anecdotal evidence suggest that some patients with acute decompensation due to ARAS benefit clinically from revascularization. A reanalysis of available research or more targeted studies may be needed to determine the comparative effectiveness of the two interventions.

Note: For an embargoed PDF, please contact Cara Graeff. The lead author, Dr. Ethan Balk, can be reached through David Orenstein at or 401-863-1862.
Also in this issue:

Getting to Lower Systolic Blood Pressure: Beyond Antihypertensive Therapy

Nadia A. Khan, MD, MSc
Ideas and Opinions

Chlorthalidone Versus Hydrochlorothiazide: A New Kind of Veterans Affairs Cooperative Study
Frank A. Lederle, MD; William C. Cushman, MD; Ryan E. Ferguson, ScD, MPH; Mary T. Brophy, MD, MPH; Lois D. Fiore, MD, MPH
Ideas and Opinions

American College of Physicians

Related Influenza Articles:

How proteins help influenza A bind and slice its way to cells
Researchers have provided new insight on how two proteins help influenza A virus particles fight their way to human cells.
Eating elderberries can help minimize influenza symptoms
Conducted by Professor Fariba Deghani, Dr. Golnoosh Torabian and Dr.
Mechanism to form influenza A virus discovered
A new study by Maria João Amorim's team, from the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, now reveals where the genomes of the influenza A virus are assembled inside infected cells.
Bat influenza viruses could infect humans
Bats don't only carry the deadly Ebola virus, but are also a reservoir for a new type of influenza virus.
New VaxArray publication on influenza neuraminidase quantification
InDevR Inc. announced publication of 'A Neuraminidase Potency Assay for Quantitative Assessment of Neuraminidase in Influenza Vaccines' in npj Vaccines.
More Influenza News and Influenza Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...