Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19 Flu Update

Bird flu continues to rage in Northern Vietnam.

Scientists in Britain worry about H7, not H5.

Feedback is good from a pandemic drill in New Zealand.

Dhaka is culling birds as well.

Bird flu is back in Ghana.

Bird flu has been found in Siberian Ducks.

ProMed on the re-emergence of the flu in Vietnam.

CIDRAP reports on its ongoing conference, today about what "virus ownership" could do to the flu vaccine system.

It is not clear whether Indonesia and its partners could assert enforceable property rights over isolates from their territories, according to several intellectual-property experts.

Under US law and the voluntary International Patent Cooperation Treaty, natural organisms such as wild-type viruses cannot be patented, said Gerry Norton, PhD, a flu virologist who heads the intellectual-property group at the Philadelphia law firm Fox Rothschild.

"There has to have been an 'act of man' to have changed the thing found in nature," he said. "To be patentable, it has to be new, it has to be useful and it has to be something that didn't exist before."

Revere blogs on a pandemic prep article from Canada...calling again for a public health system to deal with this--and any other--shock to the system.

Usual high quality Helen Branswell story on development of new anti-virals to open a new front against the flu.

Later this week, scientists will present an update on work to bring to market a new drug, provisionally called T705, which targets the polymerase protein. Hayden said Phase 2 clinical trials will begin in Japan later this year.


At 6:45 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Two of your articles really stick out today.

First, the Science Daily article points out our biggest fears – that the pandemic strain that surfaces in the future, may not be the highly publicized and watched H5N1 – it could well be an avian variant, like H7N2. Or it could be any other reassorted or recombined mutant “sleeper” strains, or even a particular sub-clade of H5N1. The bottom line is that we cannot ignore any of these possibilities. We cannot dismiss the possibility also that when a pandemic emerges, it will have to waged on several major geographical fronts, and it could also further evolve and change molecular composition, permutations and virulence, with the passage of time (waves of differing characteristics). There easily could be a repeat of 1918 on the horizon, or worse.

My second comment is on the CIDRAP article: people have to realize that Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari has no intention of complying with the 50 year established traditional rules and laws when it comes to property rights and the identification of emerging virus strains and compliance. Her goal is complete control over the novel viruses within her own country, the resultant vaccines produced, and her goal is to exclusively manipulate their use within her own country. She’s actually improved upon the Chinese model of passive non-cooperation (resistance) and Machiavellian deception.

She has no intention of contributing Indonesian developed vaccines to the WHO international stockpile. She wants the authority and flexibility to inoculate her country at the time of her own choosing, and she has a total disregard for the plight of other non-Muslim countries. It’s not even about “rich versus poor countries” – this was a calculated red herring thrown out by her to obfuscate the real strategy.

Any negotiations with Indonesia, by the WHO, on the subject of viral isolates and sharing, must be comprehensive, specific, iron-clad and 360 degree enforceable. This is especially true when it comes to virus sharing, stockpiles, manufacturing capability, and baseless property rights and ridiculous patentability assertions.

And international public health leaders want to avoid a confrontation?

This is exactly what is needed and where the situation is headed.

An old Chinese proverb goes like this: You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.



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