December 14 Flu UpdateThe New England Journal of Medicine is prepared to report that vaccines for bird flu do not need to be a perfect match in order to be effective.
Suzanne Ohmit of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and her colleagues found that in the fall of 2004, Sanofi-Pasteur's FluZone vaccine was 77 percent effective and MedImmune Inc.'s Flumist worked in 57 percent of the cases even though the flu strain making the rounds that year was not selected for the vaccine.
Experts speaking in Indonesia urged the world to "beef up" its bird flu protection systems. The quote listed below gets to the nitty gritty of planning that people usually miss...
Drugmakers told the conference they were trying to get around simple but daunting logistical problems in developing H5N1 vaccines for humans. "Syringes and needles will be in short supply in the event of a pandemic," said James Young, president of research and development at MedImmune Inc, which markets a nasal spray vaccine that fights the common flu. "We are looking at changeable tips -- after spraying into the nose of one person, you can change the tip and go to the next person," he said.
Here Reuters recounts the ravages of past epidemics as a sidebar to the story above.
CIDRAP with an interesting story...the Institute of Medicine studied whether community interventions (covering your mouth, quarantine, etc) would help in a pandemic. The answer: maybe a little.
North Korea claims to have a vaccine for birds.
Myanmar continues to monitor bird flu.
The US has issued a warning that the bird flu could still mutate and cause a human pandemic.
The stories are trickling in from the Truth for America's Health Report on state preparedness. Here is Florida's.
Effect Measure on the report on the nation's preparedness.
Recombinomics notes that the Qinghai sequence has been found in the South Korean birds. He asserts that this demonstrates that the disease is being spread by wild birds.
An avian influenza committee ("The Akwa Ibom public enlightenment committee for mass awareness on Avian Influenza") is "taking off"
In China, the Vice Premier has urged the state to increase its efforts in bird flu prevention.
Korea Air reports people still selecting chicken for their inflight meal.
Harvard held a discussion group on the overall public health system, following along a common theme from Effect Measure....
The global response to bioterrorism and AIDS is increasing health system capacity in a way also useful if avian flu strikes, according to experts attending an interdisciplinary conference on Asian flus.
The bad news, however, is that vast disparities in health care systems still persist and, despite the expanding capacity in recent years, bird flu could still have a devastating impact.
For the fluwonks, I suppose this document might be interesting reading...an Illinois Schools guide to what to do during a pandemic.
Here's the actual document.