Wednesday, July 26, 2006

July 26 Flu Update

Today's big news is on the vaccine front. GlaxoSmithKline has reported strong success in developing a flu vaccine. Not surprisingly, GSK used an adjuvant to bring dosage levels down (and production capacity up), but it still required two seperate doses.

In a release, the company said it was able to achieve the level of protection demanded by regulators using two separate doses of 3.8 micrograms each of the antigen, and an ingredient called an "adjuvant" that allows the company to use less antigen.
Here's the key question...what about cross-protection? If the virus mutates, what are the chances this virus still protects. Here is what GSK says.

Asked by BBC Radio if the vaccine could handle a possible mutation in H5N1 that increases its likelihood of spreading between people, JP Garnier, the company's chief executive officer, replied: "If you had a mutation that is closely connected to the H5N1 virus, the answer is probably yes."

Official company press release.

Thailand confirms bird flu death of 17 year old man, reported yesterday.

Promed with news on the cases in Thailand. As you will recall, a large number of cases were outstanding...5 have now been diagnosed as seasonal flu, according to reports.

These reports identify an 8th suspected human case of H5N1 avian influenza in Thailand. However, 5 other suspected cases previously reported have now been diagnosed as cases of seasonal influenza virus infection.

Official WHO report on this death.

CIDRAP on the death.

China is getting ready to test the man who died in 2003, and is now said to have died of bird flu...causing a major controversey in the medical community. China has invited WHO to observe the tests.

Three children were tested for the bird flu in Turkey, but they were negative. However, note this social dynamic.

Three children suffering from what doctors suspected was the bird flu were transferred to Van University Hospital from Hakkari Hospital, where their health condition had initially worsened.

When the parents of the children refused to transfer them to Van, police intervened and forcibly transferred them to Van University Hospital.

Ghana has been declared a model for how to fight the bird flu.

South Africa culls ostriches, but it's H5N2.

Bulgaria is continuing to test for bird flu.

Bulgaria has also declared three areas to be bird flu free.

North Dakota is stockpiling Tamiflu.

Recombinomics on the growing reach of the Qinghai strain.

Marion County, IL, held its first bird flu summit meeting. Their group will continue to meet quarterly.

A local Ontario physician is urging local businesses to prepare for the bird flu.

Employee illness and absenteeism will easily rise to 35 per cent or higher, supply chains will be disrupted, and customers will also be ill.

"For most of us, that's a huge impact," she said of the high levels of absenteeism.

Nolan added at the same time more employees and customers are ill, increased demand for their service will be added.

"Let's ask ourselves these tough questions now," she said. "It's the responsible thing to do."


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