Friday, April 27, 2007

April 27 Flu Update

The EU says it is ready to approve a cell-based vaccine. This kind of production could eventually make a big difference in future pandemics.

CIDRAP has this story as well.

Russia Doc warns of Bird Flu Summer...AgSec says country is ready.

CDC holds bird flu "war game." They say it is like '24' without violence.

In the script, a student infected with a new strain of H5N1 virus returns from Indonesia where a bird flu outbreak is under way. He dies but not before infecting others, including members of a swimming team.

On Day One, 12 people contract the disease in four states and 25 percent die, a rate that shows the virus to be particularly lethal.

Border guards are told to be on alert in Pakistan.

The saga is over. Florida lawmakers budgeted $0 for Tamiflu, the only state not to participate in the Federal program.

The Wisconsin College of Medicine has a developed a website that will use bioinformatics to let people track known bird flu sequences.

Try it's free and fun.

More on the Roche/Tamiflu production issue. Apparently, Roche ramped up production, and then governments quit ordering as the pressure to "do something" about bird flu waned. Roche thinks this is a bad move--surprise?

Revere blogs the Tamiflu issue, noting that it would take Roche four months to ramp back up to full capacity. He then questions the free market approach to producing this drug.

ProMed on Malaysian fears of bird smuggling. Note mod comment on how smugglers will adjust if necessary.

Article from France touts national leadership in Tamiflu stockpiling.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your first two article about cell-based vaccines are quite interesting, when one thinks about the realities of a pandemic situation: one, there simply isn’t going to be the eggs (let alone poultry) available to scale up for a pandemic vaccine rapidly under the current antiquated methods, and two, it makes more sense to develop cell-based technology now, while there is time to do it (perhaps there is time).

The most important aspect of cell-based technology, especially for seasonal influenza vaccines first, by companies like Novartis, I suspect is the manufacturing technology can be most likely fully automated, to increase capacity significantly, in very short order if necessary during a pandemic. With illnesses of production workers widespread during a pandemic, a fully automated developed process is critical. If we can do for automobiles and TV’s, we can surely manage to automate cell-based vaccines.

I think it is great that the CDC publishes these public affairs announcements about their “pandemic war games”, however, the real problem I see, is that there are a lot us who are really skeptical about the leadership and decision making acumen at the CDC. With no current articulated integrated national strategy for control and containment of a pandemic in the US and Canada, it is easy to see that the CDC will default to a political type agenda, procrastinate with late decisions, or indecisions, or descend into just plain bureaucratic gridlock, during the onset of a pandemic. I can tell from their approaches to their simulations, they are treating the event situations like a Hollywood made for TV drama, trying to manufacture too many decisions real-time, and treating a pandemic situation like a localized SARS or anthrax epidemic.

They clearly, yet, don’t appreciate the significant decisions that they will have to make quickly, within hours and days, of a full blown pandemic. The article states that the CDC is still pondering whether or not to “consider a containment model” – my God folks, this ought to be fun to watch. I will submit if the CDC and their Director don’t get their act and realistic checklists together before hand, then during a pandemic USNORTHCOM, FEMA and DHHS and the Whitehouse, will blow past her immediately, and make the critical decisions and recommendations, on the spot.

Finally, regarding your article about Florida lawmakers budgeting zero for Tamiflu purchases: what is there left to say ? They can’t seem to count their hanging chad’s there, the largest amusement park in the US officially openly caters now to “alternate lifestyles” and weddings (ol’ Walt is turning over in his grave over this, I’ll bet), and if there was ever one state that’s guaranteed to get hit with more severe hurricanes in the near future – this is it.

We can only hope the constituents of the great state of Florida remember who their legislator’s names are, when the pandemic emerges. They will be the ones who royally screwed them the most. They will be the ones who are first at the head of the federal line for Tamiflu tablets.

Talk about “disenfranchisement” – this is it.



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