Sarah Loving's blog

Microsoft Research wins award for involvement in pneumonia vaccine study

Microsoft Research has been named as one of the 2013 Computerworld Honors Program Laureates for its involvement in a study in Nepal carried out by Oxford Vaccine Group. The study looked at whether the Nepali vaccination schedule could be adjusted to extend childhood immunity, thus reducing the number of deaths from this serious disease.

First ever synthetic vaccine against viral disease

Researchers from the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford have helped to produce a new vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease, a viral disease of cattle, that does not contain any infectious virus DNA. This has significant advantages over existing vaccine technologies, and has implications for vaccine development against similar viral diseases, including some in humans such as polio and hand, foot and mouth disease.

How dangerous is measles?

In 1962 Roald Dahl's daughter Olivia died of measles encephalitis. Measles causes encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in about one in every thousand children who get it. Encephalitis is still an extremely serious condition which is difficult to treat and almost always requires admission to an intensive care unit.

Soon after Olivia died, Roald Dahl wrote the following account in a school exercise book, which he kept hidden away at the back of a drawer in his writing shed. It describes taking his daughter into hospital after she had collapsed at home.

Meningococcal septicaemia - Charlotte's story

Five year old Charlotte Nott developed septicaemia through type B meningococcal disease infection. In this new short film, her mother, Jenny Daniels, talks about the devastating impact on Charlotte and the rest of her family, and the prospect of a new MenB vaccine that will help to prevent other people going through the same experience in the future.


More info on meningococcal disease.

First ever MenB vaccine available for use

A MenB (meningococcal B) vaccine is available for use in Europe for the first time. The new vaccine, called Bexsero®, has just received a license from the European Commission. The next stage is for the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a recommendation to the government on whether to introduce the vaccine into the UK schedule.

Congenital rubella syndrome

Last week we travelled to the Isle of Wight to meet Ian Capon. Ian, who is 50, has congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), meaning that he has a number of disabilities as a result of his mother contracting rubella whilst she was pregnant.

Before routine rubella vaccination was introduced, 200-300 babies were born with CRS each year in the UK. Ian has significant visual and hearing impairments, and must wear nappies 24 hours a day due to incontinence. Despite all this, Ian lives an independent life, and has a wonderfully positive attitude.

What whooping cough is really like

The UK is currently experiencing a whooping cough epidemic - almost 5,000 people have suffered from the disease so far in 2012. Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is most serious in young babies who are too young to be vaccinated (nine babies under three-months-old have died in the UK this year). It is generally less serious in older children and adults, but it is extremely unpleasant whatever age you are. Below, you can read a description of the disease by ten-year-old Lauren Burnell, who caught it over the summer holidays.


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