Wyeth's pneumococcal vaccine beats expectations

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A vaccine developed to prevent pneumococcal infections is cutting the incidents of common bacterial diseases among both children and adults, reveals new research.

The report's lead author asserts that the preventive treatment from pharmaceutical firm Wyeth is producing positive results "beyond what it was supposed to do" as it has reduced the number of children suffering from repeat ear infections.

Dr Katherine Poehling from the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Centre notes that the Prevenar vaccine has cut levels of ear tube insertion procedures since it was launched in the US and Canada seven years ago, reports Reuters.

"We have seen declines in the incidence of serious infections such as pneumococcal meningitis in both children and adults, as well as the number of children developing frequent ear infections," says Dr Poehling.

Published in Paediatrics, the study involved the collation of data from over 150,000 children in the state of Tennessee and a further 26,400 infants aged between one month and five years in New York.

The vaccination is given to children when they are two, four and six months old.

Last month, Wyeth welcomed the decision from the World Health Organisation to back the inclusion of the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in global immunisation schemes.

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