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Radio Shows | A Vaccine for Pneumonia (contributing author - David A. Watson, Ph.D.; Texas Women's University) | mp3wmawav

Pneumonia is a generic term for an inflammation of the lungs. Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of microbes and even by chemicals and particles in the air. The most common cause is a bacterium called the Pneumococcus discovered one hundred years ago by the legendary scientist Louis Pasteur. It killed so many of the elderly that a doctor called it "The Old Man's Friend" because it was considered a relatively quick and painless way to die. In the early part of the 20th century scientists discovered heat-killed pneumococci stimulates the immune system to develop antibodies. It worked pretty well for South African miners who were vulnerable to the bug. But then nothing was done with this discovery until the 1980's, when a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia was developed at the Rockefeller University in NYC. Several years later an even more effective version was developed and now anyone over 65 is recommended for the vaccineMany parents know only too well preschoolers get excruciatingly painful middle ear infections. Often they're caused by this same dangerous microbe. So for over a decade scientists worked to develop a third generation of pneumococcal vaccine, this time with an eye to protecting the very young and the very old. But it wasn't easy. The quest was complicated and involved several large-scale clinical trials of the vaccine. Then in the year 2000 a successful vaccine, Prevnar was developed. Since FDA approval, Prevnar has been shown to protect adults and children. For all the work that goes into developing vaccines, the benefits are immeasurable. Today, vaccines remain the most cost effective medical intervention known to prevent disease.

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For more information...

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine - What you need to know.
PNEUMOCOCCAL POLYSACCHARIDE VACCINE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPV) protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. Most healthy adults who get the vaccine develop protection to most or all of these types within 2 to 3 weeks of getting the shot.Very old people, children under 2 years of age, and people with some long-term illnesses might not respond.

Pneumococcal Congugated Vaccine - What you need to know.
PNEUMOCOCCAL CONJUJATED VACCINE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Infection with Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria can cause serious illness and death. Invasive pneumococcal disease is responsible for about 200 deaths each year among children under 5 years old. It is the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in the United States.

Vaccine Information for the public and health professionals: Pneumococcal Vaccine
The first pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine was licensed in the United States in 1977. In 1983, an improved pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine was licensed, containing purified protein from 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria (the old formulation contained 14 types). This pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine is commonly known as PPV23 or PPV. The PPV vaccine is licensed for use in adults and persons with certain risk factors who are over two years of age.

 
 

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