November 24 Flu UpdateA new antiviral is out--Peramivir. Note: it must be injected.
Peramivir has two important advantages over the other therapies. Tamiflu, which is taken orally, and Relenza, which is inhaled, are difficult to administer to unconscious patients. Peramivir does not have this problem because it is injected, and the first human studies have shown that it also reaches the bloodstream in higher concentrations and remains active for longer.
The new drug would also provide a valuable alternative if a pandemic strain were to evolve resistance to Tamiflu, the front-line treatment that has been stockpiled by many countries, including Britain. Some H5N1 viruses have already shown resistance to Tamiflu, and if such a strain became dominant the drug would become useless. This week, a report from the Royal Society urged the Government not to rely on it exclusively.
ProMed reports that the reported avian case in Sudan was negative. Note the mod comment that they warned us to be careful on this one in the first place, and then the mod takes a shot at the media.
ProMed on the South Korea situation.
More on the NEJM studies...quick tests for bird flu are often inaccurate.
ProMed posts on the NEJM articles as well.
To date, surveillance in Ohio has revealed no bird flu.
Canada has added to its bird flu drug stockpile with more Relenza.
A researcher from Mass. went to Alaska to held in the surveillance effort and he spoke to the Pembroke Watershed Association.
A similar story from a woman on faculty at Central Michigan University.
Brunei and Malaysia continue to fight the bird flu.
South Korea says its bird flu was low path.
Revere writes on the international readership of flu blogs...noting that his readership has a strong Northern Europe contingent. He even ran a cool map.
A cranky professor asks if taking a "chicken little" approach to bird flu was right. (Perhaps the professor should acquaint himself with the work of Peter Sandman.)
We all saw the infamous "shelter in place" warning the US embassy sent to US Nationals living abroad...telling them to be prepared to survive on their own for 12 weeks in a pandemic. Rachel is a 26 year old living in Belgrade, and here is her reaction to the email.