Adekunle Dawodu, MBBS, FRCPCH

Maternal vitamin D supplementation alone to prevent vitamin D deficiency in breastfeeding mothers and their infants 

In this ongoing randomized controlled trial funded by Qatar National Research Fund to evaluate the effect of maternal vitamin D supplementation alone to prevent vitamin D deficiency in Qatari breastfeeding infants and their mothers, Adekunle Dawodu, MBBS, FRCPCH, in collaboration with researchers in Doha, Qatar found a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in the first 60 consecutive enrolled mother-infant pairs. 76% percent of the mothers and 84% of the infants were found to be vitamin D deficient at enrollment in an environment with abundant sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with lack of sunlight exposure and inadequate vitamin D intake. This is an important finding because it supports a justification to evaluate a combined mother-infant vitamin D supplementation strategy to prevent vitamin D deficiency in this high-risk population.

Elizabeth Schlaudecker, MD, MPH

Dr. Schlaudecker's research continues to focus on the immunologic responses to maternal immunization. After completing a comprehensive epidemiologic study of the etiology and seasonality of viral respiratory infections in rural Honduras, her interests have shifted to prevention of these infections with maternal immunization.

Her recent work has demonstrated an altered isotype profile in pregnant women compared to non-pregnant women consistent with a decreased response to the vaccine. She is working in Dr. Sing Sing Way's laboratory with the mentorship of Dr. Fred Finkelman in the Division of Immunobiology, and with the support of a K12 Child Health Research Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is also investigating a novel respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine in pregnant women with Novavax, Inc., and the immunologic responses to immunization in breast milk with Cincinnati Children's NIH-supported Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU).

Mark Steinhoff, MD

In tropical regions, influenza circulates for many months of the year, which makes the policy of using influenza vaccine during the flu "season" not feasible. Mark Steinhoff, with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, and in Nepal, have designed and are carrying out a prospective placebo-controlled trial of year-round influenza immunization in pregnancy. The study was carried out for two separate annual cohorts with a total of 3,600 women, and surveillance has just been completed. Preliminary evidence shows that the vaccine was effective at least part of the year and further analysis is being carried out.

Dr. Steinhoff's group was one of several groups involved in the evaluation of a new respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine designed for use in pregnancy to protect the newborn infant. The strategy of maternal immunization to prevent RSV is likely to be a new approach to reducing severe respiratory illness in infants.

Steven Black, MD

The Risk of Narcolepsy following Adjuvanted Pandemic Influenza Vaccine 

In this U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded study, Dr. Steven Black, and colleagues, will evaluate the risk of narcolepsy following adjuvanted influenza vaccines. Three such vaccines were used during the 2009-2010 pandemic and one was associated with an increased risk of narcolepsy in children in several European studies. The goal of this project is to expand the scope of prior studies to include the other two adjuvanted vaccines by performing studies in Brazil, Taiwan, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain and Argentina. The results of this study will inform the future use and selection of adjuvants for future pandemics.

Global Vaccine Safety Initiative Pilot Data Linkage Project 

This is a World Health Organization (W.H.O.) sponsored pilot to evaluate existing infrastructure regarding feasibility of a global consortium to evaluate vaccine safety concerns. Participating sites include eight sites in Latin America plus sites in Iran, Albania, India, Uganda, South Africa, Singapore, China and Australia.