Tuesday, May 02, 2006

May 2 Flu Update

Robert Webster, flu guru, says that its unlikely bird flu will hit US in 2006, historically Europe is not a pathway to the US, and smuggled birds are a bigger risk than migratory birds. (Note that he says it will eventually come).

ProMed reports on this, with an interesting mod comment.

Further news today says that it will be hard to keep the bird flu out, because of the latency period between being infectious and showing symptoms. (My view, in fact, is that the flu will get to the US in the lungs of a human being, not a bird.

Risk Management Solutions says that companies using 1918 as a worst case planning scenario are underestimating the potential threat. There is a 20% chance it could be worse.

Egypt says its last human cases have recovered.

At the same time, reports of a 13th case have surfaced there.

Dr. Ross of Marin County (CA) says old-fashioned flu bigger risk than bird flu.

ASEAN and Japan are planning to work together on bird flu. This includes a wise $30M investment in Tamiflu. (Idea is, stop it before it hits your shore).

More of the US bird flu plan will be revealed soon.

Vical announces that its DNA vaccine is 100% effective and cross-protective against multiple strains when tested in mice and ferrets.

Vical Incorporated (Nasdaq: VICL - News) announced today that the company's lead three-component influenza (flu) DNA vaccine candidate provided 100% protection in mice and ferrets against lethal challenges with a highly virulent (Vietnam/1203/2004) H5N1 avian influenza virus in studies conducted by Richard J. Webby, Ph.D., at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Additionally, in these and earlier studies in mice, simplified versions of Vical's vaccine candidate using only two of the three components provided high levels of protection against multiple human flu strains and against the H5N1 avian flu strain, which is important because a pandemic could arise from a strain other than H5N1.

The market was happy to see this from Vical.

This story plays up the St. Jude angle to the Vical research.

More financial problems in the poultry industry.

WHO continues to push the rapid containment plan.

The Seattle Times keeps pumping them out...this is a story on the computer model saying plane restrictions won't help.

Montrose County is doing its bird flu prep.

BioPharm article says investments in bird flu are looking up.

The Nieman Watchdog at Harvard has a feature: "questions the press should ask." Today is vaccine supplies.

The CDC of Taiwan says that although drugs and masks are past their expiration date, they should still work.

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