Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7 Flu Update

From Nature, a weakness in the virus has been identified that could open the door to new therapies.

The CDC is hosting a two day meeting next week on how to minimize the impact of a pandemic.

Efforts are still underway to turn around the bird flu situation in Africa.

"This continent is affected by quite a number of development and humanitarian challenges, some of which are very well known, including malaria and HIV," David Nabarro said ahead of a global summit on bird flu in Mali, West Africa, starting on Wednesday. "I think African heads of state would be forgiven for saying 'Well, thanks for coming and telling us about this challenge -- we will add it to our list'," Nabarro said.
The Swiss say that their vaccinations in the zoo were successful.

Ministers at the Global Health Security Initiative are saying that the outbreak in S. Korea proves that bird flu has not gone away.

Poultry producers in Ivory Coast say that the government has invented or overplayed the bird flu threat in order to manipulate poultry prices.

A city in China has increased bird flu surveillance at its borders.

Rumors of an outbreak among birds in Azeri. are said to be proven false.

Revere finds a recent article in the Journal of Immunology disturbing. I'll let him explain why.

The Cox inhibitors are among the most used for the symptoms of cold and flu. This means that when you start to feel lousy and fill yourself up with aspirin or ibuprofen, you could also be interfering with this "recall response" of your immune system. In effect, you would be canceling or at least diminishing your immunity.

CBS News blog writes that the bird flu has left the media's radar--but not the author's.

Fla_Medic blogs on this same topic.

A new report in London's bemoans the lack of preparation among business for bird flu.

Recombinomics on recent Chinese sequences which do not include the Quinhai sequences.

One of the major issues with the flu--how will a pandemic effect cultural this case, in Africa.

They are prepared and reassured in Concord, MA.


At 10:15 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Good well balanced reporting today on events.

The commentary out of Florida from FLA_medic, although a bit tedious, raises some good questions. This guy is very good at summarizing the key issues, questions and uncertainties associated with a pandemic. His observation about the State Dept's pre-positioned supplies, and the implication that this indicates an expectation of pandemic... well, yes. That's the word being whispered louder on the beltway these days. Get ready. I'll let you and FLA_Medic in on a little secret (but nobody else), follow the State Dept releases closely over time, and you will know when to expect an actual pandemic is about to start. Bookmark them and watch the releases closely. Put it at the top of your desktop. If you read between my lines and know its charter and functions, you will get the importance this comment. Just because the press doesn't place avian flu in the headlines, doesn't mean the specter has passed. It only means the media, as usual, is concentrating on arcane hype about Hollywood, sports, and sex - the usual drivel that pumps up talking-heads ratings and sells papers.

The three Reuters articles, essentially about Africa and the mountain of health, social, cultural and religious problems being faced there, indicates the further futility in funneling vast amounts of cash to that place. It's a bottomless pit of human misery and dispair. I'm not against financing an effort there, but seldom has large influxes of money ever resolved these kinds of problems anywhere. The best the WHO can do in Africa, is like Malaysia: set up temporary stop-gap culling, stick the chickens with a diluted vaccine and use disinfectant measures, and shovel out the Tamiflu. Other than that, H5N1 is going to continue to percolate uncontrollably in those places.

I found the Effective Measure article intriguing. It does appear that scientists need to sort out the efficacy of Ibuprofen and asperin with avian influenza, and its relationship to preventing or increasing hypercytokinemia. Most of us never considered this a dilemma in our mind. This should be a major push in the medical research world, I would think. Myself, I'm a sauerkraut and weinersnitzel person. I would also recommend that everyone hang strands of garlic around their neck to ward off the normal influenza - this seems to work for me, people stay away during peak influenza season. I plan on tripling the garlic if a pandemic breaks out. For sanitizer, I have purchased large quantities of Windex - I saw in a movie once where this stuff cures and kills all germs, viruses and even helps burns.

Regarding Henry Niman and his recombinomics article about more avian gene sequence analyses... I have concluded that the complex work he does and documents is vitally important to science. However it may take history the next 50-100 years to figure out the significance of it and who he was.

The news articles out of China and Switzerland are interesting. Both countries are efficiently fixated on the pandemic problem, with totally different perspectives. My guess is, look for many more infrared thermographs to pop up at airports and control checkpoints throughout the western world, as time goes on and we grow some kahunyas. Of course, in the U.S and Canada, it would take an act of Congress and the provincial governments to approve their use, since thermographs obviously will violate some idiot group's sensitivities.

All in all, I rate your blog an A- today Orange - low daily pay, but as my aunt Sofi in Heidelberg use to say when I was little, "you'll get your final reward in Heaven, Wulfie, be patient"


At 11:23 AM, Blogger Orange said...

There was never a day in school when I was sorry to get an A-!!

Your information about the State Department is very interesting. I think you are right that the specter has not passed...if anything, it is closer than it was last year, when it was in the media.

As always, thanks for the kind words and for reading. I'm enjoying doing it, which is its own reward, though I'd be happy to get whatever I can in heaven, too.

At 2:14 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


The threat has far from passed.

Up to date information about pandemic planning has many sources, but mainly emanates from two sources - directly from government agencies and their spokespersons, or from the commercial media or entities, sometimes it's hard to tell the difference. If one can be called an "insider", then you conceivably have access to what is happening inside the government circles and agencies. This enables one to have a little better grasp of what the current thinking is, what national priorities are and when it shifts. The commercial media throughout the world, prints or promulgates what information it can sell, mainly guaged by public interest. The key thing to understand, is that all government agency information (and intitatives) is very carefully screened, scripted and approved, before release. Why? Because of national interests, security and Congressional oversight. If this situation is frustrating to caring and inquisitive individuals, like FLA_medic, who seems like a smart guy, it's understandable.

Further, some agencies such as HHS, CDC, and USDA, for example, are chartered to take the lead in health, animal and human services pandemic planning activities in the US. The DHS and FEMA, deal with disaster planning and recovery. There are also many more involved with all these activities. The pandemic planning information from these few alone, is a pretty steady stream. Add the WHO into the mix, it all has a tendency to be a bit confusing, almost approaching information overload.

Finally, and a long way to the point, there are very special purpose agencies, like DOD, Dept of State, National Security, NASA and a host of others - which you very seldom hear from, because of their unique purposes and missions. This is not to say these particular agencies are not involved in pandemic planning, in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. Do they have experts and scientists who weigh in on the subject - you bet. For example, are they using their supercomputers and acumen to run sophisticated predictive models and support the federal planning and decision making ? Affirmative.

The problem is,simply, it's hard to plan for and hit a moving target.



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