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Published On: Fri, Dec 6th, 2013

FDA scientist discusses recent pertussis vaccine study

Last week, a study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was published in  The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that looked at the effectiveness of the acellular pertussis vaccines licensed by the FDA in preventing the disease among those vaccinated.

Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills

Photo credit: CDC/ Amanda Mills

Today, I had the opportunity to talk to the Principal Researcher for this study, Tod Merkel, PhD, a Microbiologist in FDA’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review in the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

During the 14 minute interview (Listen below), Dr. Merkel gave a primer on pertussis, or whooping cough, to include what is pertussis, what are the symptoms, who is most vulnerable and the effectiveness of antibiotic treatment.

Merkel also explained the differences between whole-cell and acellular pertussis vaccines. He noted that because of the minor side effects seen with the whole cell vaccine on the infant, “site of injection” reactions it is not likely that vaccine will make a comeback.

“The purpose of the study was not to suggest that we go back to the whole cell, the purpose of the study was to understand the differences between the two vaccines so we could design, hopefully, a better acellular vaccine”, Merkel noted.

In the interview, Merkel went over more specifics of the study, including their findings and what they concluded from these findings. It’s definitely an important and worthwhile study as researchers attempt to figure out why pertussis is increasing in the United States.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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  1. Vaccine-preventable diseases and the resurgence in the US - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] couple of things concerning the pertussis vaccine are going on. First, an FDA study last year shows that acellular pertussis vaccines licensed by the FDA are effective in preventing […]

  2. California pertussis epidemic rises by another 800 - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] reason for the increase is the use of acellular pertussis vaccines, which cause fewer reactions than the whole-cell vaccines that preceded them, but do not protect as […]

  3. Sacramento County battles pertussis outbreak | Outbreak News Today says:

    […] FDA scientist discusses recent pertussis vaccine study […]

  4. [Magazine article] Long-Term Disease Database Proves the Value of Vaccines | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network « Health and Medical News and Resources says:

    […] FDA scientist discusses recent pertussis vaccine study (theglobaldispatch.com) […]

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