February 15 Flu UpdateNick Zamiska of the WSJ has an article in today's paper about bird flu vaccines. It is a must read. Notes that even as vaccines are being developed, questions arise. Do you cut regulatory corners when a pandemic is only theoretical? Do you take production capacity away from seasonal flu to make a pandemic flu vaccine? Here's the key question.
The current vaccines are based on strains of the H5N1 bird-flu virus
from recent years; should the virus mutate, as it would need to do to
spread among humans, it isn't clear that it would fully protect people.
Still, some experts think the current vaccine probably would protect
against severe illness and death, even if the victim still got sick.
Governments are proceeding on that assumption, and millions of doses
have been produced.
Bird flu has been found in three new villages in Turkey.
Surveillance in US has shown no evidence of H5N1 in migratory birds, leading to evidence in favor of the poultry trade argument.
ProMed surveys the world....including an interesting post on what poultry farmers should do to protect their flocks.
A lab in the Philippines is designed to help fight the bird flu.
South Korea is also launching a major effort to prevent bird flu.
The Socialist Party of Britain says that the government puts profits ahead of health.
The World Bank is donating $2M to Armenia to fight the bird flu.