November 21 Flu UpdateHelen Branswell on the US decision to buy more pre-pandemic vaccine. A US official responds to the criticism that the virus could mutate and render the vaccine less effective or ineffective....
"We're doing this for preparedness. And we started this because we wanted to make sure that companies and the (vaccine) regulators had experience with making pandemic-like vaccines at full commercial scale," Dr. Bruce Gellin, director of the U.S. National Vaccine Program Office, said from Washington.
Gellin said the U.S. government understands the H5N1 virus will continue to mutate, as all flu viruses do. But he said it is important to learn what implications that has on the effectiveness of vaccines that aren't a perfect match for later strains.
"So while we know there's a possibility that the vaccine we're making might not have the full effect that the perfectly tailored pandemic vaccine would . . . there's still the possibility that it could provide some protection," he said.
Branswell also writes about a triage protocol developed in Canada which will determine who gets care...it carefully considers whether the elderly should be given priority.
CIDRAP with more on the discovery of the two mutations needed for flu to become human-human.
Recombinomics had reported a potential outbreak in the Sudan. Note, here, some confirmation from ProMed, though reports of a human case are doubted.
Citing "receded" bird flu fears, the Dutch are now letting poultry outdoors again.
More outbreaks--this time in household poultry--in Egypt.
Austria has an option to buy 16 million doses of vaccine.
The Council on Foreign Relations has some new flu information. Highlighted by the always stimulating Laurie Garrett, the report (and podcast) emphasizes that we are still a long way from where we need to be.
Alberta has spent $30M on bird flu equipment and supplies.
Meanwhile, the US has donated equipment to Botswana.