Sunday, September 10, 2006

September 10 Flu Update

Sorry no update this AM. Extreme connectivity problems--much chatting with Comcast Tech Support.

What makes the flu interesting to me is its savage beauty...the mystery of what makes it so deadly. Nature today published more research on this topic. Helen Branswell on the case:

The severe disease that H5N1 avian flu provokes in people appears to be caused by the virus's ability to replicate at unusually high levels for a prolonged period - an overwhelming assault that triggers a massive and devastating immune system response, a new scientific paper suggests.

According to the article, the answer is to stop that replication before the disease reaches the "tipping point." But do we have the right tools--neurominidase inhibitors like Tamiflu--especially given that the peak replication times hits just as the disease becomes symptomatic?

"The question I worry about is whether treating patients now with neuraminidase inhibitors may be very much like shutting the barn door after the horse is already out," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

CDC regrets its role in keeping Chinese flu sequences from going public--or so it says in the Chinese papers.

The World Bank is helping Romania prepare for the bird flu.

Pandemic preparation continues in Tennessee.

Youngstown, OH looks at bird flu as part of its overall homeland security program.

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