Hear from the scientist who discovered the meningitis vaccine

Don’t miss this chance to listen to and speak with Dr. Rappuoli, the developer of the Meningitis B vaccine that you received last winter! It will be an incredible lecture that you don’t want to miss with a Q&A session designed to give students an opportunity to engage in a discussion about the vaccine with the developer himself. The event is co-sponsored by the Princeton Public Health Review and the Woodrow Wilson School.
Join the event on Facebook and spread the word!: https://www.facebook.com/events/1401903213422241/

Public lecture: “Towards a Meningitis-free world” – Rino Rappuoli, PhD

Thursday, Apr. 24 – 4:30pm – 6:00 – Lewis Thomas Laboratory Auditorium (LTL 003)
Public reception to follow

Rino Rappuoli is Global Head of Vaccines Research for Novartis Vaccines & Diagnostics. He discovered and developed the Meningitis B vaccine recently administered at Princeton.

This event is free and open to the public.


Meningitis Forum–Get Your Questions Answered

Want your questions about meningitis answered? After reviewing the literature, consulting information from the CDC, and/or speaking with experts, an editor from PPHR will respond to posts on this page within 48 hours. We encourage all questions as well as a productive discussion about the situation on campus.

Check it out here: https://pphr.princeton.edu/forums/forum/open-anonymous-forum-for-meningitis-outbreak-princeton-university/

DISCLAIMER: The Princeton Public Health Review is not affiliated with the CDC and is a publication operated by undergraduates. While editors’ responses will be based on thorough research, please bear in mind that our views might not necessarily coincide with those of the University or the CDC.

Exclusive Q&A with CDC’s Head of Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch Dr. Thomas Clark

Recently, a student at Drexel passed away from meningitis caused by the serogroup B bacteria which caused an outbreak here at Princeton. The student had been in close contact with Princeton students a week before becoming ill. Further studies revealed that the bacterial strain in the Drexel student was the same as the outbreak strain at Princeton, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Find out about the concerns regarding the transmission of the bacteria and further steps to be taken directly from Dr. Thomas Clark, head of the meningitis vaccine initiative at CDC.

PPHR: Are there any concerns about spreading the disease even after students are vaccinated (both doses)?

Dr. Clark: Yes. When it comes down to it, we study vaccines and learn if they work or not, and whether they are effective at protecting against disease in people. Continue reading

How far should they walk?

We have accepted that there currently exists no cure to HIV/AIDS, simply antiretroviral drugs that can dramatically slow its effects. Along with these drugs, education, and lots of preventative measures against it, the proportion of the population living with HIV/AIDS should be minute. As residents of a developed nation where we can find doctors’ offices and hospitals on every other corner, we never think about what would happen if there was no healthcare facility nearby and we had no car to drive to the nearest one, or even a computer to look up its location. This is the major issue plaguing the fight against HIV/AIDS, and in rural areas where few resources are available, we are no closer to solving it.

The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), launched in 2003, was founded for the purpose of reducing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in 15 focus countries in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. Continue reading

The impact of restrictions on pain relief

Late last year, the Food and Drug Administration published an official online statement, proposing new restrictions that will make regulations on some of the most commonly prescribed pain medicines, such as Vicodin, stricter. According to the official statement, the “FDA has become increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reached epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States1.”

The classification of “epidemic” is not an exaggeration. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there were more than 36,000 deaths from drug overdoses in 2008, and most of these deaths were the result of prescription drug overdose2. Continue reading

Q&A with President Emeritus Harold Shapiro: Public health and policy–what does it involve?

The full scope of Public Health’s responsibilities is something which is continuously being debated.  Many things come to mind when we think of public health. Compulsory vaccines, combatting epidemics and outbreaks all come to mind. But who makes these decisions? And how are the ethical concerns evaluated and dealt with by the state and federal governments? Additionally, how is public opinion taken into consideration when evaluating the ethics behind key scientific discoveries? Below is a Q&A with Professor Harold Shapiro who is former President of Princeton and professor in the departments of economics and public policy. He has served as the chair of the National Bioethics Advisory Committee established during President Clinton’s administration.  He has dealt with issues of cloning and embryonic stem cell research—two of the most prominent ethical and moral questions raised by developments on the scientific frontier in recent years.

Find out what he has to say about ethical protocols, ethical issues as well as his view of public health and bioethics in the following Q&A. Continue reading

Call for papers

UPDATE: As a result of requests, we have extended our deadline to MONDAY, MARCH 31 @ 11:59 PM!

Have you submitted a paper for a class? Is it now gathering figurative dust on your hard drive? Take a few minutes to share it with us, and your ideas could potentially be published and appreciated by other students, faculty, and more.

PPHR is a student-edited publication intended to showcase the outstanding global health research performed by Princeton University undergraduates and to provide a forum for any and all health-related discussions. We encourage academic works of all forms and from all disciplines.

We are soliciting papers, research articles, opinion pieces, creative works, academic term papers, junior independent work, and senior theses related to health and/or health policy. We want to emphasize that these pieces can be written from scientific, social scientific, or humanities oriented perspectives, and mulitidisciplinary work is encouraged. If you’ve written anything health-related for a class, no matter the format or topic, we encourage you to submit your work. We will be able to find space for high-quality submissions of any type in either the print or online editions of our journal. We are now currently accepting submissions for our 2014 issue.

Please upload your work on our website (http://pphr.princeton.edu/submit/) by SATURDAY, MARCH 15 @ 11:59 PM! Alternatively, submissions can also be received via email at pphr@princeton.edu. We look forward to reading your work!

A Critical Look at Bexsero

Although a host of different bacteria, viruses, and fungi can all potentially cause the onset of meningitis, the eight Princeton cases have all been determined to be the work of N. meningitides serotype B1. In a void of FDA approved vaccines, the University is turning to Bexsero, the work of the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Because, left untreated, the effects of meningitis can escalate to permanent brain damage, hearing loss, and death2, there has been clear opportunity for vaccine development to reduce this risk. Continue reading

The Benefits of Bexsero at Princeton

In the past few weeks, Princeton University has found itself a hot topic in the media for what has now been described as an outbreak of meningitis B1. Although Princeton currently requires all students to be vaccinated against meningitis, the current vaccine does not protect against serogroup B. There is no currently approved vaccine against serogroup B, but Bexsero, a Novartis-produced vaccine that has been licensed in Europe and Australia, has been granted special approval for use on our campus, due to the nature of the outbreak.

It has been particularly difficult to make a vaccine against meningitis serogroup B. Continue reading

Q&A with Head of CDC’s Meningitis and Vaccine Preventable Disease Branch Dr. Thomas Clark

Meningitis is an infection in the membrane layers surrounding the brain and the spinal cord called the meninges. It is airborne and is spread through close contact such as coughing or sneezing. The outbreak is related to type B (serogroup B) meningococcal bacteria which is the cause of the eight cases of meningitis at the University. The vaccine Bexsero has recently been developed and licensed in Europe and Australia to protect against type B (serogroup B) meningococcal disease. As has been announced by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Princeton University, the meningitis cases have been declared to be an outbreak. As a result, the CDC is importing Bexsero for use among students at Princeton University.

PPHR spoke with Dr. Thomas Clark, the head of CDC’s meningitis and vaccine preventable disease branch. Continue reading