Sunday, December 18, 2005

December 17 Flu Update--Is the NIH considering a live virus vaccine, US Market Says 65 Percent chance of someone IN US catching bird flu by March 2006

You may be familiar with INTRADE, a website where people can "bet" on upcoming events. Its a sort of futures market that has successfully predicted several items during 2006. Well, they say there is a 65% chance that someone in the US will have bird flu by March.

On the vaccine front, NIH is studying a nasal vaccine for flu that uses live virus.

And if it works, this new vaccine frontier may not just protect against the bird flu strain, called H5N1, considered today's top health threat. It offers the potential for rapid, off-the-shelf protection against whatever novel variation of the constantly evolving influenza virus shows up next _ through a library of live-virus nasal sprays that the National Institutes of Health plans to freeze.

"It's high-risk, high-reward" research, said Dr. Brian Murphy, who heads the NIH laboratory where Dr. Kanta Subbarao is brewing the nasal sprays _ including one for a different bird-flu strain that appeared safe during the first crucial human testing last summer.

As the flu continues to break out in the Ukraine, they are considering stepping up flu controls.

Meanwhile, Romania had its 18th outbreak.

12 more dead Swane were found in Astrakhan, Russia.

Want to see the private sector get involved in fighting the flu? About 60 food companies, including Tysons, McDonald's, and Yum were in Thailand to help share their expertise on food safety. Their goal, protect their business by stemming the tide of bird flu.

“The McDonald’s people and people from Cargill and others are very focused in response to all of us from the U. N. and government people saying we would like to work with you,” David Nabarro, the U. N. ’s New York-based avian flu coordinator, said in an interview Thursday from Bangkok, where he addressed the meeting. There is cooperation from companies which “have a vested interest in responding better to avian influenza and preparing properly for the pandemic.”

Food companies have a financial interest in curbing the disease’s spread. A nationwide survey of 1, 007 U. S. adults on Oct. 14 by Opinion Research Corp. for the Center for Consumer Freedom found nearly half of Americans mistakenly believe that they can contract bird flu by eating chicken.

Vietnam says the number of communes hit by bird flu has been cut in half.

Fake Tamiflu was seized at customs in San Francisco.

A reader sent me this link to the Lac Du Bonnet Leader, of Lac Du Bonnet, Manitoba. They're doing the hard planning work there now, but, like most people, struggle with where bird flu falls on any specific model of Federalism.

Finally, a must read from Helen Branswell, who writes one of those 2005 year in review pieces.

The world seemed unimpressed. That is until a vicious tempest named Katrina taught a humbled American administration how little it could do to mitigate the crushing impact of Mother Nature's wrath.

Suddenly the experts' warning – there's no greater potential natural disaster than a bad flu pandemic – began to resonate with frightening clarity.

And just about then, migratory birds began to die on the fringes of Europe, stricken by the same virus that had sickened nearly 120 people in four Asian countries, killing roughly half those who fell ill. A month later, the world's most populous country, China, admitted it had joined the list of nations – now numbering five – with confirmed human cases of H5N1 infection.

A backburner issue was white-hot news.


At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Intrade is actually betting there is a 65% chance a BIRD will have H5N1 in the U.S. by March, not that a human will.


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