Select Committee on Science and Technology Fourth Report


APPENDIX 5: GLOSSARY AND ACRONYMS

GLOSSARY

  

Adjuvant

    Substance added to a drug (such as a vaccine containing specific antigens) in order to stimulate a better immune response by the body, thereby reducing the required dose of antigen.
  
Algorithm
    Step-by-step instructions to be followed in order to solve a problem (e.g. to make a diagnosis).
  
Amantadine
    M2 inhibiting antiviral drug.
  
Antibody
    Protein produced by the immune system, which binds to a specific antigen, and when produced in sufficient numbers will eliminate antigens of this type from the body.
  
Antigen
    Substance, often a protein, foreign to the body, that stimulates the production of antibodies by the immune system.
  
Antiviral
    Drug that is effective against a virus; may work by inhibiting proteins on the virus surface which are important to the virus getting in and out of the host cell.
  
Attack rate
    The proportion of the at-risk population who become infected or develop clinical illness during a defined period of time such as an epidemic or pandemic.
  
Avian influenza
    Infection in birds caused by the influenza virus.
  
Epidemic
    Outbreak of disease affecting a much greater number of people than is usual for the locality, or that spreads to regions where it is ordinarily not present.
  
H1N1 etc.
    Subtypes of the influenza virus, so called by reference to their haemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) antigens. A total of 15 different H and 9 different N antigens have been identified, though within each of these subtypes there are many further variations.
  
Haemagglutinin
    Antigen (protein) on the surface of the influenza virus that allows it to bind onto and attack healthy cells.
  
High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (HPAI)
    The more deadly forms of avian influenza (such as H5N1), leading in many cases to the rapid death of entire flocks of poultry.
  
Low Pathogenicity Avian Influenza (LPAI)
    The less deadly forms of avian influenza, often producing a relatively mild infection.
  
M2 inhibitor
    Antiviral drug that probably works by preventing the virus from entering host cells.
  
Neuraminidase
    Antigen (protein) on the surface of the influenza virus that allows it to break out of infected cells.
  
Neuraminidase inhibitor
    Antiviral drug that limits the action of the neuraminidase proteins in the influenza virus.
  
Oseltamivir
    Neuraminidase inhibiting antiviral drug marketed under the name "Tamiflu".
  
Outbreak
    Significant increase in occurrence of infection.
  
Pandemic
    Epidemic widely distributed in space, usually involving several countries or the whole world.
  
Prophylactic
    Preventative (of treatment).
  
Prophylaxis
    Treatment to prevent the onset of disease.
  
Reassortment or recombination
    The mixing of human and avian influenza viruses, though simultaneous infection of an animal susceptible to both strains—such as a pig—leading to the production of a new virus sub-type incorporating both human and avian influenza virus genetic material.
  
Recombination
    See reassortment.
  
Reproduction rate
    The average number of secondary cases of infection to which one primary case gives rise throughout its infectious period.
  
Rimantadine
    M2 inhibiting antiviral drug.
  
Zanamivir
    Neuraminidase inhibiting antiviral drug marketed under the name "Relenza".

  

  

Acronyms and abbreviations
BRCBritish Retail Consortium
COBRA Cabinet Office Briefing Room A, location of the Civil Contingencies Committee
DefraDepartment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
DfIDDepartment for International Development
EMEAEuropean Medicines Evaluation Agency
FAOFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
FSAFood Standards Agency
HHaemagglutinin
H1N1 etc.   See Glossary
HPAHealth Protection Agency
HPAIHigh Pathogenicity Avian Influenza
IODInstitute of Directors
LPAILow Pathogenicity Avian Influenza
NNeuraminidase
NIBSCNational Institute for Biological Sciences and Control
NIMRNational Institute for Medical Research
OIEWorld Organization for Animal Health
PCTPrimary Care Trust
RCGPRoyal College of General Practitioners
RoReproduction rate (see Glossary)
SARSSevere Acute Respiratory Syndrome
UNUnited Nations
UVIGUnited Kingdom Vaccine Industry Group
vCJDVariant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (human form of BSE)
WHOWorld Health Organization




 
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