Thursday, November 02, 2006

November 1 Flu Update

Now that we know that the Fujian-like strain is widespread across Asia, WHO has criticized the Chinese for not being open and transparent about it. Helen Branswell reports.

LA Times story on the Fujian-like strain that quotes Dr. Niman of Recombinomics.

Finally, Effect Measure weighs in on this, wondering on what it means. It includes the questions of why vaccinating birds is thought to be successful in Vietnam but not in China.

Recombinomics with his take on what this all means.

Remember the big scare when a man showed up in Australia with flu symptoms, and had been to Cambodia....then it turned out he was a drug mule? This is an excellent story on how healthcare workers improvised their response to this potential crisis.

"He had come from Cambodia, he had a respiratory illness, on the plane he had been acting a bit differently and often people who are hypoxic can act strangely … In fact, he had become comatose prior to leaving the plane," Rawlinson says.

"We have to ask ourselves, 'Is this hypoxia because they have got pneumonia, is it about drugs, alcohol, is it some other illness such as malaria?' "

I think this is an important effort--to the extent that the migration vs. smuggling issue of how bird flu spreads has been resolved. Britain is getting better understanding of the migratory patterns in its nation.

More credits to Vietnam for its bird flu program.

Tamiflu is launching a major advertising program this year. Some people wonder if the drug is worth all the hype.

The company's tactics drew sharp criticism from a Harvard Medical School professor who said it is irresponsibly promoting Tamiflu. Dr. Jerry Avorn , who is the author of "Powerful Medicines ," called Tamiflu's effectiveness marginal. Such advertising misleads consumers by overstating the drug's "slender" benefits, he said.

"It's not as if this somehow cures the flu or treats the flu. It just will shorten the symptoms by a day or so," Avorn said.

He also worries that the drug's indiscriminate use could reduce its value when the stakes are highest: Combating a perilous avian flu outbreak.

Cibola County, NM, estiamtes it could have 74 deaths in a pandemic.

Bird flu as economic development driver??--Ithaca NY talks about its new bird flu test being a job creator.

Not in Indonesia, where bird flu is hampering poultry production.

Another vaccine press release, this one for an inhaler-based vaccine delivery system.

A Tuscan mallard is found to have low path bird flu....

though not before culling was underaken.


At 7:49 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


So. Let us get it straight on the Swiss company, Roche - they are revving up their advertising campaign for Tamiflu, to drive up demand. What for ?
Just last month, top scientists at WHO concluded and reported two important findings. One, that the low level of H5N1 viruses found in birds appear to be naturally resistant to oseltamivir (AKA T-A-M-I-F-L-U). Number two, they cautioned world governments against stockpiling intermediate type H5N1 vaccines, because there is no credible evidence that a pre-pandemic vaccine based on a certain strain, would protect against the ensuing lethal version. I would recommend at this point that people might as well save their valuable money and stock up on instant ice tea.

Further, let's face the facts. Tamiflu is presently a controlled substance and unavailable to 99% of the population without a physician's prescription in the U.S. The only way you can acquire it is if you are already positioned in the health care profession, or want to take your chances ordering off the internet at one of the very questionable websites that offer it, without a prescription. The government has purposely stockpiled millions of doses that it will eventually distribute, according to 50 disparate state plans. Enough for only about 25% of the population. Be prepared to get hosed people, if you are in the other 75%. You probably won't ever see one Tamiflu pill during a pandemic crisis.

But, if you happen to live in Indonesia, Thailand, China, or Cambodia, they are passing it out like candy. Go figure.



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