November 16 Flu UpdateThe US government had stockpiled enough flu vaccine doses for 4 million people. However, in storage, the vaccine is degrading, and there is now only enough for 3 million people. CIDRAP reports.
Hall said not very much is known about the shelf life of flu vaccines, "because the main experience is with seasonal vaccine. At the end of the season the vaccine that's not used is thrown away. We don't keep it around, so no one really knows how long it would stay good for." With many flu virus strains circulating at any given time, seasonal flu vaccines have to be adjusted every year to match the strains expected to be dominant.
Recently, HHS recommended respirator usage for healthcare workers during a pandemic. However, clinicians are worried about supplies, which they say are strained now. CIDRAP reports.
ProMed on the two mutations required to make a flu virus a pandemic strain.
Effect Measure also comments on this story. What he says is that researchers have a tendency to overstate their conclusions for the media, because the real conclusion from most studies (especially about nature) is usually not great copy, because they simply cannot be conclusive and often require additional work.
President Bush is going to tour the facilities Vietnam used to launch its much lauded bird flu program.
Elsewhere at the APEC meetings, people are urging that bird flu still be a priority.
There are some new outbreak areas in Northern Egypt.
Recombinomics notes that H5N1 is being found in surveillance in the US, though it is low path.
Surveillance is being done in Northern California.
Nacogdoches, TX, had a pandemic exercise.
A panel discussion at MIT is reported here--the gist is that science is gaining ground on the flu virus.
A focus group in Kansas was held to discuss a pandemic response.
A trial is being held in China for people accused of selling fake flu drugs.
This columnist is glad that a pandemic didn't hit before his Thanksgiving dinner.
This blog post talks about the "hype laden" pandemic scare.