One-third of countries engaged in pandemic influenza planning have not prioritized who should get vaccinations and antiviral medications, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
The study authors performed the largest pandemic-plan review to date, a targeted review of 45 national pandemic influenza plans from developed and developing countries. The study is published in the October 2006 issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.
"Because of costs and the time delay of manufacturing strain-specific vaccines, critical medical resources are likely to be scarce in a pandemic and will require rationing. However, we learned that individual countries have not consistently prioritized population groups for vaccines and antivirals. No countries prioritized population groups to receive ventilators, face masks and other critical resources," said Lori Uscher-Pines, lead author of the study and a doctoral candidate in the Bloomberg School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management.
The study authors included 45 national pandemic influenza plans in their study--19 from developed and 26 from developing nations. In total, the plans would affect 3.8 billion individuals, or two-thirds of the world population. The study found that 28 countries prioritized individual population groups to receive vaccines in a pandemic; 22 prioritized groups to receive antiviral medications during a pandemic.
The failure to prioritize antivirals is an unexpected finding since they may be the first--and perhaps the only--pharmaceutical intervention available to many countries in a pandemic, the authors explain in the study.
Of the 28 nations that prioritized medical resources, health care workers were most frequently ranked at the top of vaccine and antiviral priority lists. After that, countries differed greatly on who should receive top priority--high-risk individuals, such as the elderly and children, or essential service workers, such as communications/telecommunications workers, fire fighters, key government decision makers and energy/power supply workers.
The authors also learned that some countries made children a top priority, despite mixed epidemiological support of this practice and a previous World Health Organization recommendation against it. None of these countries cited sociocultural values in reference to this prioritization decision.
"Prioritization can play a significant role in international preparedness against pandemic influenza. In the absence of explicit WHO guidelines, nations should be encouraged and supported in priority-setting based on individualized pandemic-impact estimates, and should be guided in balancing evidence and ethical considerations," said Ran D. Balicer, MD, MPH, of the Ben-Gurion University, senior co-author of the study.
Kenna L. Lowe | EurekAlert!
How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine
Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center
Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.
Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
23.01.2018 | Life Sciences
23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences
23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy