These drugs inhibit the first and rate-limiting step of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS). Since the 1970s, scientists have been trying to develop potent inhibitors with acceptable oral bioavailability. Continue Reading
Infant respiratory distress syndrome (IRDS), also called neonatal respiratory distress syndrome or respiratory distress syndrome of newborn. It is also known as hyaline membrane disease (HMD), is a syndrome in premature infants caused by developmental insufficiency of surfactant production and structural immaturity in the lungs. Genetic problem with the production of surfactant associated proteins may also cause this disease.
Premature birth is defined as being born before 37 weeks’ gestation. The lungs of infants born this early can’t produce surfactant, a liquid that coats the lungs and prevents them from collapsing. Most babies with respiratory distress syndrome show signs of breathing problems within the first hours after birth.
IRDS affects about 1% of newborn infants and is the leading cause of death in preterm infants. The incidence decreases with advancing gestational age, from about 50% in babies born at 26–28 weeks, to about 25% at 30–31 weeks. The syndrome is more frequent in infants of diabetic mothers and in the second born of premature twins.
IRDS is distinct from pulmonary hypoplasia, another leading cause of neonatal death that involves respiratory distress.
The symptoms usually appear within minutes of birth, although they may not be seen for several hours. Symptoms may include:
- Bluish color of the skin and mucus membranes (cyanosis)
- Brief stop in breathing (apnea)
- Decreased urine output
- Nasal flaring
- Rapid breathing
- Shallow breathing
- Shortness of breath and grunting sounds while breathing
- Unusual breathing movement — drawing back of the chest muscles with breathing
Surfaxin (lucinacant) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to prevent respiratory distress syndrome. It is the fifth FDA-approved drug for IRDS, was evaluated in clinical studies involving nearly 1,300 premature infants. Most side effects involved the breathing tube used to administer the drug. Adverse reactions included tube reflux or obstruction, skin paleness and the need for dose interruption. Surfaxin is produced by Discovery Laboratories, of Warrington, Penn.
- Discovery Labs Wins Approval with Lung Drug for Premature Infants (wire.kapitall.com)
- FDA Backs Respiratory Distress Drug for Babies – New York Times (nytimes.com)
FluMist Quadrivalent, a vaccine to prevent seasonal influenza in people ages 2 years through 49 years, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. FluMist Quadrivalent is the first influenza vaccine to contain four strains of the influenza virus, two influenza A strains and two influenza B strains.
In virus classification influenza viruses are RNA viruses that make up three of the five genera of the family Orthomyxoviridae:
The type A viruses are the most virulent human pathogens among the three influenza types and cause the most severe disease. The influenza A virus can be subdivided into different serotypes based on the antibody response to these viruses. The serotypes that have been confirmed in humans, ordered by the number of known human pandemic deaths, are:
- H1N1, which caused Spanish Flu in 1918, and Swine Flu in 2009
- H2N2, which caused Asian Flu in 1957
- H3N2, which caused Hong Kong Flu in 1968
- H5N1, which caused Bird Flu in 2004
- H7N7, which has unusual zoonotic potential
- H1N2, endemic in humans, pigs and birds
Like the already approved FluMist (trivalent), the quadrivalent vaccine contains weakened forms of the virus strains and is administered as a spray into the nose. Each year, the FDA-approved seasonal influenza vaccine includes three strains of influenza virus, two strains of influenza A and one of influenza B.
During a typical influenza season, there may be two different influenza B strains circulating, or the B strain selected for inclusion in the trivalent influenza vaccine may not be the influenza B strain that eventually circulates causing illness. The inclusion of a second B strain in FluMist Quadrivalent increases the likelihood of adequate protection against circulating influenza B strains.
Oseltamivir an antiviral drug, slows the spread of influenza virus between cells in the body by stopping the virus from chemically cutting ties with its host cell; median time to symptom alleviation is reduced by 0.5–1 day. The drug is marketed under the trade name Tamiflu, and is taken orally in capsules or as a suspension.
As of December 15, 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 314 samples of the prevalent 2009 pandemic H1N1 flu tested worldwide have shown resistance to oseltamivir.
- FDA Approves First Quadrivalent Vaccine To Prevent Seasonal Influenza (bioresearchonline.com)
- Influenza A Virus In Fruit Bats (medicalnewstoday.com)
A new blood-thinning medication called semuloparin reduces the risk of blood clots in people undergoing certain cancer treatments, new research shows.
When people with cancer are treated with chemotherapy, they have an increased risk of developing blood clots (venous thromboembolism). These clots can be dangerous, and have the potential to cause heart attacks or strokes.
This new drug reduced the risk of blood clots by 64 percent, according to the study, which was funded by Sanofi, the drug’s manufacturer. Sanofi was also responsible for the analysis of the study’s results.
Semuloparin, which is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, didn’t appear to increase the risk of excessive bleeding, which can be a side effect of blood thinners.