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Display of Domain III from Dengue 2 Envelope Protein on HBsAg Virus-like Particles Vectored by Measles Virus

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Dengue virus infects millions of people every year. Yet there is still no vaccine available to prevent it. Here we use a neutralizing epitope determinant on the dengue envelope (E) protein as an immunogen to be vectored by a measles

Dengue virus infects millions of people every year. Yet there is still no vaccine available to prevent it. Here we use a neutralizing epitope determinant on the dengue envelope (E) protein as an immunogen to be vectored by a measles virus (MV) vaccine. However the domain III (DIII) of the dengue 2 E protein is too small to be immunogenic by itself. In order for it to be displayed on a larger particle, it was inserted into the amino terminus of small hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg, S) coding sequence. To generate the recombinant MV vector and verify the efficiency of this concept, a reverse genetics system was used where the MV vectors express one or two additional transcription units to direct the assembly of hybrid HBsAg particles. Two types of recombinant measles virus were produced: pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P and pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S)N. Virus recovered from pB(+)MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P was viable. An ELISA assay was performed to demonstrate the expression and secretion of HBsAg. Supernatant from MVvac2(DIII-S,S)P infected cells confirmed that hybrid HBsAg-domain III particles with a density similar to traditional HBsAg particles were released. Characteristics of the subviral particle have been analyzed for the successful incorporation of domain III. The replication fitness of the recombinant MV was evaluated using multi-step growth kinetics and showed reduced replication fitness when compared to the parental strain MVvac2. This demonstrates that viral replication is hindered by the addition of the two inserts into MV genome. Further analysis of MVvac2(DIII-S)N is needed to justify immune response studies in a small animal model using both of the generated recombinant vectors.

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2014-05

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Fools and Madmen: Public Health and Personal Autonomy in Vaccination Practices

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Vaccine opposition is a growing problem in developed countries where dropping vaccination rates threaten general public health by laying the foundation for resurgence and reemergence of previously eradicated infectious diseases. This thesis argues that the current movement is only the

Vaccine opposition is a growing problem in developed countries where dropping vaccination rates threaten general public health by laying the foundation for resurgence and reemergence of previously eradicated infectious diseases. This thesis argues that the current movement is only the most recent incarnation of opposition that has co-evolved with vaccine practices for the duration of their mutual histories. Part one provides a historical context for the current movement using the example of the development and deployment of the smallpox vaccine as a representative timeline of vaccine acceptance and opposition. Part two describes the current movement in the United States and the United Kingdom, interprets the reasons for the conclusions drawn by vaccine-concerned parents, and provides a framework for public health officials to approach the issues.

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2013-12

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Between persuasion and coercion: situating mandatory influenza vaccination policy of healthcare personnel (HCP)

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Vaccinations are important for preventing influenza infection. Maximizing vaccination uptake rates (80-90%) is crucial in generating herd immunity and preventing infection incidence. Vaccination of healthcare professionals (HCP) against influenza is vital to infection control in healthcare settings, given their consistent

Vaccinations are important for preventing influenza infection. Maximizing vaccination uptake rates (80-90%) is crucial in generating herd immunity and preventing infection incidence. Vaccination of healthcare professionals (HCP) against influenza is vital to infection control in healthcare settings, given their consistent exposure to high-risk patients like: those with compromised immune systems, children, and the elderly (Johnson & Talbot, 2011). Though vaccination is vital in disease prevention, influenza vaccination uptake among HCP is low overall (50% on average) (Pearson et al., 2006). Mandatory vaccination policies result in HCP influenza vaccination uptake rates substantially higher than opt-in influenza vaccination campaigns (90% vs. 60%). Therefore, influenza vaccination should be mandatory for HCP in order to best prevent influenza infection in healthcare settings. Many HCP cite individual objections to influenza vaccination rooted in personal doubts and ethical concerns, not best available scientific evidence. Nevertheless, HCP ethical responsibility to their patients and work environments to prevent and lower influenza infection incidence overrules such individual objections. Additionally, mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies respect HCP autonomy via including medical and religious exemption clauses. While vaccination as a prevention method for influenza is logically sound, individuals’ actions are not always rooted in logic. Therefore, I analyze HCP perceptions and actions toward influenza vaccination in an effort to better explain low HCP uptake rates of the influenza vaccine and individual objections to influenza vaccination. Such analysis can aid in gaining HCP trust when implementing mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies. In summary, mandatory HCP influenza vaccination policies are ethically justified, effective, scientifically-supported method of maximizing HCP influenza vaccine uptake and minimizing the spread of the influenza virus within healthcare settlings.

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2016