Mar 7, 2017

Vaccines prevented 200 million cases of disease in the USA from 1963 to 2015

 2017/03/05 by The Original Skeptical Raptor  The Original Skeptical Raptor

Lest we forget, vaccines are one of the greatest medical inventions of all time. Without them, we would see cemeteries filled with children who would have died before they were even five years old.  In fact, the best evidence we have tells us that vaccines prevented 200 million cases of diseases in the USA alone in the five decades since 1963.
A recent study, published in AIMS Public Health, estimates that around 200 million cases of polio, mumps, rubella, measles, adenovirus, hepatitis A and rabies have been prevented in the U.S. from 1963 through 2015 as a result of widespread vaccination. The study, authored by Leonard Hayflick and S. Jay Olshansky, two leading experts on public health and infectious diseases, also discloses that about 450,000 deaths have been avoided in the U.S during this period, although other studies put that estimate of lives saved at a much higher number.
Dr. Hayflick discovered the human cell strain, WI-38, in 1962 which was critical to the safe manufacturing of vaccines, which became widespread in 1963. According to the article, the vaccines produced from the WI-38 cell line prevented almost 4.5 billion occurrences of the diseases, and stopped them from returning to infect us. Dr. Hayflick developed the foundation that allowed the world to have relative safe and very effective tools to prevent infectious diseases.
Prior to the development of WI-38, anti-virus vaccines were grown in monkey cells, which had some issues that made many question their safety, although most of the concern appeared to be overblown. However, once the WI-38 was available, it became easier to develop and produce vaccines for many viruses.
Drs. Hayflick and Olshansky wanted to see what effect that seminal event had on public health. And the numbers were incredible.

Vaccines prevented 200 million cases of disease – the study

“Given the acknowledged large, positive global health impact of vaccines in general, I was curious what contribution my discovery of WI-38 in 1962 had in saving lives and reducing morbidity, since a large number of viral vaccines in use today are made with my cell strain or its derivatives,” said Hayflick.
Hayflick and Olshansky conducted a study to discover the total number of deaths and diseases prevented by vaccines that were produced with WI-38 cells through 2015. To reach an estimate, they used data regarding the number of cases and deaths for each disease – polio, mumps, rubella, measles, adenovirus, hepatitis A and rabies – that occurred in the USA in 1960. This was a legitimate starting point for data, prior to the vaccine era that was to follow in 1963. It was also the last year when vaccines were not widely available for the prevention of those diseases.
To reach the total number of lives saved and diseases prevented, the researchers multiplied the number of years vaccines have been prevalent by the number of deaths due to the disease.
The results are amazing:
DiseaseYear
Introduced
Pre-vaccine
annual cases
(U.S., 1960)
Pre-vaccine
annual deaths
(U.S., 1960)
Cases averted
or treated with
95% coverage
Deaths
averted with
95% coverage
Poliomyelitis196336,1105,8652,547,045413,692
Measles1969-70530,21744034,137,12928,329
Mumps1967162,3443910,792,3172,593
Rubella196947,745173,073,9811,095
Varicella
(chicken pox)
1995-964,085,120107133,691,8073,436
Hepatitis A1996117,3331373,674,9884,291
Rabies197418,00010,000,000
Adenovirus196411,138375,619
Total (U.S.)5,017,0076,603198,292,887453,435
(Note – pre vaccine cases and deaths were adjusted for larger population size using 1960 as a baseline.)
Without vaccines, we’d see 1,000 annual deaths from measles every year. Without vaccines, we’d see nearly 10,000 annual deaths from polio. Without vaccines, we’d see 200 or more deaths this year from chickenpox, which some people brush off as a minor disease with itchy skin.
And remember, these are numbers just for the USA. Worldwide, the numbers could be 20X higher. The number of cases of diseases prevented over this time could be in the billions, while saving millions of lives. No wonder vaccines are considered one of the greatest advances of science and medicine.
The authors point out something important the diseases vaccines prevented:
It is possible that the anti-vaccination movement has arisen among younger generations, in part, because they cannot bear witness to the tragedy of disfigurement, morbidity, and death caused by viral and bacterial diseases. However, as the 2015 outbreak of measles in California reminds us, the diseases our ancestors feared so much have not gone away—they lay dormant in many parts of the world where they resurface on occasion as a constant reminder of their existence. They will return if we lower our guard and allow herd immunity to drop below threshold levels. So as a potent reminder of their devastating impact, we provide images of what poliomyelitis, measles, and smallpox (three examples among many) does to human bodies. The anti-vaccination movement is a wake-up call to reinforce defenses against the diseases that plagued humanity from the beginning.
When I was young, my parents thought it was incredibly important that I got vaccinated. Why? Simply because they remembered all the diseases that ravaged communities and young lives, and they knew that vaccines were the best protection against this times. Even I remember a handful of kids in high school who still bore the effects of polio, and I cannot imagine any parent who ever want their children to be harmed by such a disease.
In case you missed the headlines, let me remind you again. Vaccines prevented 200 million cases of disease in America over five decades. As Dr. Hayflick puts it, “there is no medication, lifestyle change, public health innovation, or medical procedure ever developed that has even come close to the life-saving, life-extending, and primary prevention benefits associated with vaccines.”
Vaccines save lives.

Mar 6, 2017

Why Virginia should look at medical marijuana



Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 2:15 am
When a judge talks, it’s usually best to pay attention.
So when retired Roanoke Circuit Court Judge Richard Pattisall came to see us recently, we naturally listened. When he suggested that Virginia should legalize medical marijuana, that definitely got our attention. After all, here’s a man who’s sent people to jail for drug offenses.
Pattisall had a very particular reason for why he thinks   should take this step, one that he laid out in a recent commentary on these pages: Jobs (and the potential to tax the crops.) Specifically, that’s jobs in the coalfields, a part of the state where he grew up and still has an affinity for.
His rationale: Medical marijuana is becoming more accepted — it’s now legal in 28 states (though not Virginia) and the District of Columbia. If states are allowing marijuana as a treatment for certain medical conditions, it’s got to be grown somewhere. Why not Virginia? And why not in a part of the state that’s desperate for jobs?
Pattisall has not, we assure you, been smoking something. There really is an economic development argument to be made for medical marijuana. When Illinois legalized medical marijuana in 2014, small towns across the state were clamoring for a marijuana “cultivation center” to locate in their community. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had a company say, ‘Hey, we want to bring in 50 jobs and we want to bring in tax revenue to your school,”’ Liz Skinner, the mayor of Delavan (population 1,163) told the Chicago-based Daily Herald. When Revolution Enterprises finally opened its “cultivation center” in Delavan, it instantly became the largest private employer in the town.
Perhaps here’s a good place to stop and clear up some misconceptions. Medical marijuana isn’t the same as “recreational” marijuana. It also isn’t necessarily consumed by smoking a joint. There’s an entire industry springing up to turn the essential ingredients into capsules, chewables, sprays, ointments and even, umm, suppositories. Somebody’s got to do all that processing. We’re talking small pharmaceutical operations here, not Cheech and Chong with a bunch of rolling papers.
Also you notice we use the phrase “cultivation center.” That’s not meant to be a euphemism. We’re not talking open fields of pot. The “cultivation centers” are greenhouses, with some pretty strict controls. The Chicago Tribune last year took a tour of one of the state’s 19 “cultivation centers” and described these security measures: “The Joliet facility has 144 security cameras monitoring its 40,000 square feet, with a feed to Illinois State Police. Every plant is tagged with an identification number to track it from seedling to sale.”
The finished products at Cresco Labs are held in “bank-style vaults” until they’re ready to be shipped. Those deliveries resemble the way armored vehicles handle cash or other sensitive shipments: “Drivers deliver the products in locked boxes to any of 40 state-authorized dispensaries. Each time, workers at the retail stores must call Cresco to get a special code to open each box.”
The director of the state program regulating the medical marijuana industry is a former police officer who told the Tribune “there have been no major criminal incidents associated with the program, such as theft of medical marijuana or sales to people who aren’t certified.”
The opposition to medical marijuana is mostly a philosophical one. We’re unlikely to resolve that today, although we will point out that such opposition is dwindling.
Even the otherwise conservative congressman from Southwest Virginia — Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem — is in favor of medical marijuana. This year, the Virginia General Assembly took up a bill that would have opened a crack in state law to allow medical marijuana for those suffering from cancer, glaucoma and 10 other conditions. It was sponsored by a Republican, state Sen Jill Vogel of Fauquier County. It even passed the Republican-controlled Senate by a robust 29-11 before dying in a House subcommittee.
Is it possible that someday House Republicans will be persuaded that allowing capsules, chewables, sprays, ointments and suppositories laced with THC isn’t the same as telling Virginians “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em?”
Let’s skip over the politics and cut to the bottom line: What’s the potential economic impact?
Let’s turn again to the Chicago Tribune: “Once mature, Illinois’ medical marijuana companies should employ at least 1,000 people … potentially 2,000 including ancillary jobs. Nationwide, the cannabis industry is expected to employ 46,000 to 60,000 people this year in dispensaries, cultivation centers, testing labs and infused product makers.”
Let’s go with the smaller of those figures: 1,000 jobs. That’s not enough to make a difference in the state’s overall economy, but it’s more than enough to make a difference in a small community — or several small communities. Those 19 Illinois “cultivation centers” average 52 workers in each one. Question: How many localities in rural Virginia would like a company to show up that created 52 jobs in a growth industry? Answer: All of them, we suspect.
It’s also instructive to read what the mayor of that one small Illinois town told the Journal Star newspaper in Peoria about the public response to the Cresco Labs “cultivation center” in her town: “The outcry has been close to nil, and I’ve heard more from residents on this issue than any other during my eight years as mayor,” Skinner said. “I’ve had one negative phone call and two negative emails. Everyone I’ve spoken with on the streets or in church has been positive.”
Now let’s look at that higher figure of potentially 2,000 jobs in Illinois. That’s an interesting number for this reason. Do you know how many coal miners are left in Virginia? Just 2,483. Medical marijuana is not going to replace coal. No single thing is going to replace coal. It will take lots of creative thinking to build a new economy in the coalfields, or anywhere else in rural Virginia, for that matter.

Is that an argument for rural legislators in Virginia to look anew at medical marijuana? If you can get past the giggles, and look at it simply as a highly regulated industry dealing with a strictly controlled pharmaceutical product, why wouldn’t this simply be an economic growth measure?

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