But a new study in PLoS Medicine finds that 30% of nations have prioritized neither vaccine nor drugs in their pandemic influenza preparedness plans.
In the first study of its scale, Lori Uscher-Pines and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, analyzed 45 national plans from both developed and developing countries. Plans from all regions of the world were represented in the analysis.
Of the national plans identified, 49% prioritized which groups in society would receive antiviral drugs while 62% prioritized which groups would receive flu vaccine. This is an unexpected finding, say the authors, since antivirals may be the first--and, perhaps, the only--pharmaceutical intervention available to many countries in a pandemic.
"Because it is estimated to take six months to mass produce strain-specific vaccine," they say, "and global antiviral production and stockpiling is increasing, priority setting for antivirals may prove to be more critical to pandemic preparedness."
The researchers found that that the allocation decisions varied across different countries. While health-care workers were consistently ranked at the top of the vaccine and antiviral priority lists, there was then a wide variation between countries in their choice of who would be next in line (e.g. elderly, children, essential service workers).One striking finding was that of the nations that prioritized who would receive vaccine in a flu pandemic, almost half prioritized children, even though the WHO states in its guidelines: "There is no evidence that use of inactivated vaccine in children will reduce the spread of a pandemic in the community, and this strategy is not recommended" http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/
The authors conclude that "attention to prioritization and its ethical implications may help to reduce death and disease burden, and minimize political destabilization and claims of injustice."
Andrew Hyde | EurekAlert!
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
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