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Nothing exceeds like success.

Nothing exceeds like success

Vaccines for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps ad congenital rubela have led to more than a 99 percent reduction in these diseases in the United States, but a fall in the numbers of children getting immunized greatly concerns pediatricians, says Samuel Katz of Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. He attributes the trend to young parents who have not lived with the diseases vaccines have nearly eliminated in the past 40 years, and who are thus unaware of their dangers. In addition, he cites a "perverted focus" on the rare complications vaccines can cause and a "failure to appreciate the enormous reduction of disease" due to vaccines. Factors deterring pharamaceutical firms from developing new vaccines, he says, include the large economic investment necessary and the legal risks.

Nonetheless, some new vaccines under development should be available within the next three years, Katz reports. Among them are an acellular pertussis vaccine, expected to reduce some of the adverse reactions associated with the current vaccine (but not necessarily caused by it, Katz says), and a vaccine for Haemophilus influenzae B in infants. The Haemophilus bacterium is responsible for up to 20,000 cases of meningitis in children each year in the United States, and the vaccine now available cannot be given to infants (SN: 9/26/87 p.198). A vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus, the single agent most responsible for illness and death in the first months of life, is also well along in development, he reports.
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Title Annotation:new vaccines under development
Author:Eron, Carol
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 30, 1988
Previous Article:Children and AIDS.
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