Pneumococcal vaccine could prevent numerous deaths, save costs during a flu pandemic, model predicts

October 28, 2008

A new predictive model shows that vaccinating infants with 7 valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7)--the current recommendation--not only saves lives and money during a normal flu season by preventing related bacterial infections; it also would prevent more than 357,000 deaths during an influenza pandemic, while saving $7 billion in costs.

Keith P. Klugman, PhD, professor of global health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health, will present results of the research using the predictive model at the joint ICAAC/IDSA meeting in Washington, DC, Oct. 25-28. (Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy/Infectious Disease Society of America.

Bacterial infections, particularly pneumococcal disease, can follow a viral illness such as flu and cause secondary infections that worsen flu symptoms and increase influenza-related risk. Bacterial infections may have been the cause of nearly half of the deaths of young soldiers during the 1918 flu pandemic.

"We've known for years that bacterial infections can develop after influenza," says Klugman. "Unlike the 1918 flu pandemic, which preceded the antibiotic era, we now have vaccines that can prevent these types of pneumococcal infections. This model shows what a dramatically different outcome we could expect with standard PCV vaccination."

Klugman and colleagues at Harvard University, i3 Innovus in Medford, Ma. and Wyeth Research constructed a model to estimate the public health and economic impact of current pneumococcal vaccination practices in the context of an influenza pandemic.

Since 2000 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Immunization Practices Advisory Committee (ACIP) has been recommending PCV vaccinations for infants and children.

The new predictive model was used to compare the results of no PCV vaccination to the current routine vaccination of infants less than two years old. The researchers assessed the effect of vaccination policies under both normal and pandemic influenza conditions. They included both direct vaccination effects in vaccinated individuals and indirect vaccination effects (called herd immunity) in the unvaccinated. For manifestations of pneumococcal disease, they included invasive pneumococcal disease (meningitis or bacteremia), all-cause pneumonia and all-cause acute otitis media (ear infections). The model's estimates were based on the 1918 pandemic.

The new model predicted that current pneumococcal vaccination practices reduce costs in a typical flu season by $1.4 billion and would reduce costs by $7 billion in a pandemic. In a pandemic, they would prevent 1.24 million cases of pneumonia and 357,000 pneumococcal-related deaths.

"Our research shows that routine pneumococcal vaccination is a proactive approach that can greatly reduce the effects of a future flu pandemic," says Klugman. Countries that have not yet implemented a pneumococcal vaccination program may want to consider this as part of their pandemic flu preparedness."
-end-
The research was funded by Wyeth Research.

Dr. Klugman is a paid consultant for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Emory Health Sciences

Related Influenza Articles from Brightsurf:

Predicting influenza epidemics
Researchers at Linköping University, Sweden, have developed a unique method to predict influenza epidemics by combining several sources of data.

Common cold combats influenza
As the flu season approaches, a strained public health system may have a surprising ally -- the common cold virus.

Scent-sensing cells have a better way to fight influenza
Smell receptors that line the nose get hit by Influenza B just like other cells, but they are able to clear the infection without dying.

New antivirals for influenza and Zika
Leuven researchers have deployed synthetic amyloids to trigger protein misfolding as a strategy to combat the influenza A and Zika virus.

Assessment of deaths from COVID-19, seasonal influenza
Publicly available data were used to analyze the number of deaths from seasonal influenza deaths compared with deaths from COVID-19.

Obesity promotes virulence of influenza
Obesity promotes the virulence of the influenza virus, according to a study conducted in mice published in mBio, an open-access journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Influenza: combating bacterial superinfection with the help of the microbiota
Frenc researchers and from Brazilian (Belo Horizonte), Scottish (Glasgow) and Danish (Copenhagen) laboratories have shown for the first time in mice that perturbation of the gut microbiota caused by the influenza virus favours secondary bacterial superinfection.

Chemists unveil the structure of an influenza B protein
MIT chemists have discovered the structure of an influenza B protein called BM2, a finding that could help researchers design drugs that block the protein and help prevent the virus from spreading.

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.

Read More: Influenza News and Influenza Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.