Thursday, November 09, 2006

November 8 Flu Update

The WHO Director-General election is over. Hong Kong flu expert Margaret Chan will held the organization.

Effect Measure comments on the choice of Dr. Chan.

The WHO has urged Chinese Scientists and non-Chinese scientists to stop squabbling, share data and work together.

Nick Zamiska of the Wall Street Journal also has this story--from the context that the rift shows the difficult road China has in doing this work in a single-party state.

WHO reminds its readers that it will be importantly to continually monitor poultry vaccines to check for mutations.

GSK is projecting that a couple "important" countries will order large quantities of pre-pandemic vaccine.

Recently, we blogged that the Chinese had identified a part of the flu virus that made it virulent. Effect Measure chimes in about the potential importance of the research.

Still, this is very interesting and elegant work. It directs our attention to NS1 and its ability to inhibit interferon production as a characteristic sufficient to turn an avirulent virus into a virulent one. It is like a big sign in the ground that has the letters, Dig Here, written on it.

Imogene has received an R&D grant to develop "technology that enables identification of naturally infected and vaccinated birds."

India is lowering its expected poultry exports due to the flu.

India is looking at developing poultry health standards to protect against its poultry stock from bird flu.

A national influenza drill is being held in New Zealand today.

Scott County, VA officials say they are ready in the event of an influenza pandemic.

Here's another positive vaccine press release from a pharmco.


At 7:20 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I abhor politics so I won't comment on the Margaret Chan appointment. We will just have to sit and wait and see how much of a China puppet she really turns out to be.
The Revere discussion in Effective Measure was interesting, but as it points out, with all the gene sequence research, very little is actually new discovery.

But I can comment on the latest of quite a few national influenza pandemic enhanced table-top like exercises taking place - this time in New Zealand. We've already seen these activities in Great Britain, Australia, Hong Kong and several other countries and they have conducted similar important exercises. Where is the United States on this ? I think the answer is: it isn't. Unfortunately, the U.S. has taken the approach to treat influenza pandemic readiness like a one time catastrophic event, exactly like a hurricane or terrorist threat. Worse, it has delegated all functional planning responsibility onto the states, hence we have 50 inconsistent stove pipe plans, most of them insufficient right down to the community level. Some of them are down right unrealistic. I point this situation out, because we are very likely to end up with 50 Katrina-like situations during a moderate-to-severe pandemic. And the planning situation even gets worse - all government agencies and the DOD (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) all have disparate influenza plans, that are either incomplete to date, incongruous, and relate only to their specific defined missions - which doesn't necessarily directly benefit you or me. And these federal plans have not been integrated with the commercial business, state, and community plans.

The U.S. should immediately initiate a national integrated table-top influenza pandemic exercise, so these blaring inconsistencies can be spotted and corrected. Until this happens, it might be wise for everyone to contemplate what needs they should acquire if "shelter-in-place" orders are mandated during quarantines. This is where the U.S. is currently headed, by default.



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