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Swine Flu News Update

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | September 23, 2009

Fortunately, the use of adjuvants in swine flu vaccines may be a moot point. Studies in the last two weeks have proven that a single shot of the vaccine is enough to confer full immunity on people over the age of 10 years. Health officials had believed two shots would be necessary, prompting concerns over shortages.

Puzzling Substance

Adjuvants are still puzzling substances to many in the U.S. but scientists are now racing to study them. Currently, there is just one adjuvant-based vaccine approved in the U.S., for tetanus and hepatitis B. This vaccine uses a weak adjuvant, dubbed "Alum", for aluminum.

Gardasil, the Merck cervical cancer vaccine, also uses an aluminum adjuvant.

More powerful adjuvants are in the pipeline. For example, An FDA advisory panel recently recommended approval of Cervarix, a vaccine against the virus that causes cervical cancer. The vaccine, made by GlaxoSmithKline, uses an adjuvant that's a bacterial lipid.

Also in the news, CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, M.D. acknowledged that he and a camera operator came down with the H1N1 flu during a recent assignment in Afghanistan. They have recovered according to CNN.

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