Tuesday, September 27, 2005

September 26 Flu Update

Apologize for lateness, connectivity problems.

They are saying 42 flu cases in Indonesia, with 10 lab confirmed cases. There are now a total of six deaths.

Crofsblogs on the questionable translations of this report.

ABC News on the sixth death.

Recombinomics on the sixth death. Note also, that Recombinomics is always looking for 1918-style misdiagnoses that aren't in the numbers.

CIDRAP on the new death reports, and other news across the horizon.

The UN says that bird flu funding is perilously low, as countries focus on stockpiling Tamiflu rather than human and animal containment strategies.

The Foreign Minister of Australia says that Indonesia has been caught off guard by the bird flu, but is making progress now.

Hungary claims it could make 50M bird vaccines.

In Iran, they fear wintering waterfowl will bring bird flu. (Apparently, it was illiteration day at Reuters.)

In Russia, 14 towns are still under quarantine.

Bird flu affecting share prices in Indonesia, though not too much.

Time Magazine on how Indonesia's luck ran out on bird flu.

Jamaica considers its bird flu response, noting that it doesn't expect help from major countries who are unable to help themselves.

More communities could use this. The University of California-Davis is doing a community briefing on the bird flu today (Tuesday)

Interesting little snippet, as Tourism New Zealand wonders what it would do with foreign tourists in the event of a bird flu outbreak.

Countries are scrambling to track down tamilfu.

Helen Branswell, as usual, hits the nail on the head with this probing, insightful story on factors that are keeping new, cheaper antivirals from market.

Formulas for new, inexpensive influenza drugs that could expand the world's tiny arsenal of weapons against pandemic flu are gathering dust because the pharmaceutical industry isn't interested in developing them, scientists say.

They believe governments should fund the testing and development of the drugs, side-stepping big pharma and bringing them to market as cheap generic medications.

And they point to the story of Relenza - one of only four flu drugs currently sold - as evidence public-sector involvement will be needed if crucial new flu drugs are ever going to hit pharmacy shelves.

Mark von Itzstein, who led the team that invented Relenza, says he has three compounds that are ready to be tested in animals and could be available on a commercial basis in three to five years for about $10 a treatment course. (Relenza and the more popular Tamiflu sell for about $55 in Canada.)

But under the existing profit-driven model of pharmaceutical production, where the next sexual dysfunction drug is more highly prized than a new life-saving antibiotic, cheap flu medications simply aren't on the priority list.

Effect Measure on the Indonesian situation, and on actions finally being taken by that nation. (Note the quote of the day: "As long as you can't confirm something, it must not be happening.")

Effect Measure also found this excellent BBC report on the cultural bias against culling in Indonesia, equating it to killing people's pet dogs and cats in the US.

As I have said elsewhere, the flu virus will always find our political, cultural and moral weaknesses, like water finds a crack in the ceiling.

Crofsblogs on the problems with openness in fighting the flu--first Ibsen reference ever on this blog.

Crofsblogs on a NEJM article on probably H2H in Thailand.

Crofsblog has this on a National Geographic story on Killer Flu.

Dateline Jakarta, bird sales down, fish sales up (Crofsblog)


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