The Michigan Daily - Orientation Edition 2003 - 5
'U' Prof's flu vaccine
gains FDA approval
By Ern Saylor
January 06, 2003
A flu vaccine may soon be available to the public in the form of a nasal
spray thanks to the work of University epidemiology Prof. Hunein Maassab.
Reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December, FluMist
was deemed safe and effective for healthy people ages five to 49.
If approved by the FDA when it comes under review again next month,
FluMist could be available to the public in time for the September 2003 flu
season, Rochford said. It would be the first flu vaccine available to the public
in the form of a nasal mist.
"The positive recommendations of the FDA committee reviewing FluMist
are most welcome," Maassab said in a written statement. "I believe that more
people will use the nasal spray vaccine than a vaccine that must be injected.
This should reduce the overall risk of flu."
The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Commit-
tee requested more data on the efficiency of FluMist for people 50 to 64
years old. Concerns included possible reactions to other vaccines given to
} children and the risk of FluMist causing pneumonia or asthma.
University assistant epidemiology Prof. Rosemary Rochford said
that the FDA was just exercising caution and added that the recom-
mendation looks good.
While current vaccines use inactive viruses to trigger immunity, FluMist
is made with a weakened but live influenza virus. It adapts the virus to the
cool temperatures of the nasal passages, but not in the warmer temperatures
in the lungs where the disease develops. FluMist is a trivalent vaccine,
designed to fight three strains of influenza.
The vaccine is administered to a patient through a painless spray into each
nostril, twice a year for children and once for adults. According to the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control, about 70 million people currently get the flu
vaccine, yet influenza remains a serious public health issue facing the coun-
try, killing 20,000 Americans each year and hospitalizing 100,000.
Maassab began his research on influenza at the University in 1956 when
he was an assistant researcher in the department of epidemiology. Inspired
by his mentor Thomas Francis Jr., who had overseen the U.S. Army's flu vac-
cine program during World War II, Maassab spent the next 40 years of his
life developing cold-adapted strains of influenza.
'U' research expenditures rise to $656
million, increase of 10.8 percent
By Kylene Kiang
October 02, 2002
University research expenditures reported for the
2001-2002 fiscal year amassed to nearly $656 million -
approximately 30 percent of the University's $2.13 bil-
lion total budget - affirming the University's standing
as one of the nation's leading research universities.
Expenditures increased by 10.8 percent from the last fiscal
year, marking the largest percent increase in more than 10 years,
according to the report released at the end of September.
Preliminary expenditure figures for schools with the
largest programs for research include the Medical
School with $238 million; Engineering, $129 million;
Institute for Social Research, $84 million; LSA, $54
million; and Public Health, $34 million.
Increased research funding from a number of private
foundations and government organizations were a major
factor in this year's total expenditure increase. Funding
from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
and the National Institutes of Health - which contribute
nearly half of the sponsored program funding for
research in the life sciences - increased by 17 percent.
Funding from government organizations rose by 12.4 per-
cent as non-federal contributions rose by 9.2 percent.
"Our outstanding research performance attracts faculty of the
highest quality and provides our students with a rich learning
environment," University President Mary Sue Coleman said in a
written statement. "Our prominence as the nation's leading
research university supports the state's economic infrastructure
and serves as a powerful new magnet to new ventures."
More funding for research not only denotes enhanced
opportunities for faculty, but directly benefits research expe-
riences for graduate and undergraduate students.
LSA senior Kristal Vardaman attributes her interest in
Researchers work in a solid state laboratory in the Electrical
Engineering and Computer Science Building on North Campus.
research to programs like the Undergraduate Research
Opportunity Program, which pairs students with faculty
researchers. Vardaman said her research work with the
Department of Medical Education was a strong influence in
her decision to pursue a career in public health.
"Not very many schools offer undergraduate programs in
research, so it was a great way to get involved in the school
and to get to know a faculty member," Vardaman said.
LSA senior Tiffany Buckley, who has been in the UROP
program for four years, said that although she intends to pur-
sue work in a non-science career field, her study of circadian
rhythms has instilled her with skills that may be applied
inside as well as outside of the laboratory setting.
THE I VERSITY'UNIONS ARTS & PROGRAMS
THE MICHIGAN LEAGUE
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