A new study finds that a new type of flu vaccine can also help reduce pneumonia and bronchitis in adults

A new study presented Thursday at the American Society of Microbiology’s annual meeting provides evidence that Pfizer’s Prevnar 13, a vaccine against the pneumococcal infections, can offer a partial protection against a particular strain…

A new study finds that a new type of flu vaccine can also help reduce pneumonia and bronchitis in adults

A new study presented Thursday at the American Society of Microbiology’s annual meeting provides evidence that Pfizer’s Prevnar 13, a vaccine against the pneumococcal infections, can offer a partial protection against a particular strain of the flu virus.

The information, although preliminary, gives more color to the benefits that Prevnar 13 can deliver to patients at risk for pneumococcal pneumonia, a life-threatening infection that cuts its victims’ life expectancy by about 20 percent and nearly doubles the risk of developing heart failure.

Prevnar 13 is indicated as a fourth line of defense in the United States for children younger than 4 years old who have previously been treated with two rounds of Prevnar and an additional round of pentavalent vaccine, and for adults 50 years and older who are already protected against pneumococcal infections.

There is no licensed preventative vaccine for the common cold or the flu.

Currently, there are no proven vaccines for the common cold, a disease that claims more than 300,000 lives in the United States every year.

Prior Prevnar trials demonstrated that Prevnar is not harmful to children, but studies like the one presented Thursday in London found that it has been effective at reducing human deaths from pneumococcal pneumonia and bronchitis.

The new study, led by Dr. James Gower of the MRC Sanger Institute in Britain, analyzed data from more than 50,000 adults in 42 countries and found that the vaccine had a dose-response rate that was equivalent to an estimated 37.6 percent reduction in infections caused by the pneumococcal relative to a control group.

The findings, being presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Microbiology in London, do not mean that Prevnar 13 protects against two strains of the virus common to colds and the flu, but against one strain common to the pneumococcal virus that tends to cause colds.

But if this one strain is enough to provide protection, it might point to a broad range of benefits that Prevnar 13 offers. The association of pneumococcal pathogens and lung conditions, including pneumonia, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is well known, and vaccination would provide a great deal of protection for sufferers.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, the CDC’s standard pneumococcal vaccine for infants, offers the most comprehensive protection against pneumococcal pneumonia. The most recent estimate by the CDC found that about half of Americans ages 14 to 75 and about 34 percent of children younger than age 19 were protected against pneumococcal pneumonia through their general care.

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