Thursday, February 16, 2006

February 16 Flu Update

An Australian company says it has an effective vaccine at 15mg, using an adjuvant. That's about half the previous lowest total. Obviously, progress on the vaccine front is the best news at all.

Meanwhile, in the US, there is testing for a bird flu vaccine in children, which, given mortality rates, is important.

Another company is using a booster to increase the effectivness of Tamiflu.

John Barry, author of the most influential flu book ever written, which can be purchased in a link to the right, has an excellent historic reminder. In 1918, the first wave of flu wasn't the killer, it was the second wave. If that happens again, we may have more valuable time to prepare.

The President of Albania says that his government's anti-flu measures are working, despite being surrounded by bird flu nations. (Time will tell.)

The EU is launching more measures to fight the bird flu.

The representatives, who met in Brussels for a two-day meeting after the outbreak of deadly H5N1 bird flu in some EU member states, agreed to set up a 3km protection zone and a 10km surveillance zone around the outbreak spot.

"Within both zones, all poultry and captive birds must be kept indoors, on-farm biosecurity measures must be applied, the movement of poultry and other captive birds both within and from the zones should be restricted, and wild bird hunting and the assembly of birds must be forbidden," said the European Commission.

This appears to be an offical Q&A document on why the EU is implementing its measures.

News article on restrictions within Germany.

In Europe, Slovenia now has the bird flu. Its swans (again), and the fifth EU nation this week alone.

CIDRAP summarizes the European emergent cases.

A former health minister in Italy says the PM is irresponsible raising the bird flu alarm--his current health minister disagrees.

Its confirmed--the Uncle in Iraq died of bird flu.

ProMed has this from WaPo--is their a genetic factor in bird flu mortality--in the host?

With 4 cases confirmed or suspected, her family represents one of the largest clusters of bird flu among humans in the world. It is also notable in sharing a characteristic with nearly all the other family clusters: Those infected by the virus were related to each other by blood and not by marriage. This raises the possibility that genetics play a role in determining who among those exposed contracts the often-lethal disease.

"It's intriguing," said Sonja J. Olsen of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Bangkok, who has studied family clusters of avian influenza. If a biological explanation were ultimately proved, she added, "perhaps we could identify people at genetic risk."
ProMed surveys the scene from Europe to Africa.

More from Niger, where dead birds are raising the fear of the bird flu.

Multinational Corporations say they are doing their part to prepare for bird flu.

J.W. Marriott Jr., who heads global lodging group Marriott International Inc. (MAR.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said his properties were outfitted with masks, rubber gloves and special detergent to clean surfaces.


"The difficulty here is that nobody really knows what could happen. Nobody really knows what the treatment is, or what good prevention is. So we're left with trying to do our best with making our employees aware, providing flu shots, providing sanitation products, handwashes and so on.

A Dutch company is going to supply 30 million doses of avian vaccine for use in birds.

A flu update by Bhutan.

Florida held a bird flu conference, with the idea 20,000 people in the state could die in a pandemic.

This is fascinating. A VC firm is putting $200M in companies that develop technologies that fight infectious disease. A harbinger...or a bubble.

Here's a press release on a comapny with cell based vaccine technology that can be produced in weeks.

Tamiflu has arrived in Jakarta...

Speaking of Indonesia, Effect Measure isn't guessing where a pandemic might not start, but if he was, Indonesia might be on the top of the list.

A health official on Prince Edward Island says that society would be in chaos, and 200 people there would die in a pandemic.

Speaking of all these "projections," Effect Measure reminds us that no one really knows (even David Nabarro), just as no one really knows how many more mutations are needed (even David Nabarro). Revere teases us that he has an idea what the virus has to do to move on to humans, but isn't saying yet.

Recombinomics shows a report from Germany that infected swans were non-migratory, the avian flu may have been there for months.

Recombinomics also notes that its more birds than we think, and not just swans, which are big and easy to find.

Recombinomics with a technical article on...what else...recombination.

A loyal and alert leader sent me this--Korea is selling an air conditioner which has a filler coated in kimchi extract to kill the bird flu...I wonder how it smells.


At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you missed the article about Indonesia declaring it has had a total of 6 family clusters, more than any other nation, and wonders if this indicates limited H-H. To flu watchers this doesn't represent any real change over what we've been seeing for several months, but I suspect it may indicate the WHO is starting to lean toward upping the official 'stage' from 3 to 4.


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