Tuesday, July 17, 2007

July 17 Flu Update

A US government report says that the US has completed many elements of its pandemic plan, but many hard ones are still in place, including rapid tests and hospital capacity.

NY Times on bird flu prep going on.

“The reality is that there are tremendous challenges to sealing our borders to begin with,” said Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, special assistant to the president for biodefense, “Secondly we believe that if a pandemic virus emerges anywhere in the globe, it is inevitable that it will arrive here in the U.S. irrespective of the actions we take at the borders.”

CIDRAP on the US Report--says 86% of objectives have been met.

On the other hand, Ghana says it is ready to fight the bird flu.

This will surely energize the blogosphere. Margaret Chan says a pandemic can be prevented.

The Czech Republic is preparing to ask the EU for support in the fight against bird flu.

Migratory birds in Siberia have bird flu antibodies.

China (yes, China) touts the value of teamwork against bird flu.

A Mayor in the Philippines is waging a fight against bird flu in his town.

Mississippi residents are told what it will take for them to be ready for bird flu.

People in New Zealand are reminded of what they would have to survive in a pandemic.

Effect Measure blogs this question--what would the implications of being able to distinguish natural and induced immunity in birds?

Roche has approval for some new doses of Tamiflu.

St. Jude's receives major grant for flu research.

1 Comments:

At 6:43 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

What is really interesting from your articles out of Washington and the NY Times is that they both reiterate that “ a pandemic is inevitable”. A year or two years ago, I’m not so sure that we would have seen this phrase being used.

Also note that in the oncoming weeks, the fed’s will be releasing their “priority list” that will detail who would receive the first lots of flu vaccines in the event of an outbreak. (My inside skinny is that I hear they are going to start in reverse alphabetical name order…”W’s” first, and “O’s” last). On a serious note, if the Bush administration had enough sense to pull out of the quagmire called Iraq (notice I didn’t call it a rat hole this time), we would have plenty of discretionary money to fund extra capacity in its hospitals and health care facilities, and well as a first class surveillance and reporting system. But, alas…

The Margaret Chan (WHO) article was indeed quite controversial. I believe she feels she has an obligation to be optimistic about the pandemic threat, given her position as WHO Director General, however, most of us absolutely would disagree with her at this juncture saying that “there is still time to prevent a bird flu epidemic”. Quite the contrary, based on our dismal track record with HIV, Polio, West Nile, and TB (alone), the odds are a pandemic is on the horizon.

Speaking of which - in the Mississippi and New Zealand articles about pandemic preparation, notice the advice being given to have “a week or two supply of water and non-perishable food”. The White House, ala Dr. Rajeev Venkayya, has mentioned several times publicly that they are anticipating and planning for a severe pandemic, or a worst case scenario of some magnitude. If this is the case, a week or two supply of food and water is insufficient and won’t cut it. (of course you’ll never hear anyone publicly say that a person better be able to provide for their own security and protection also).

Finally, on Revere’s excellent article about differentiating infected from vaccinated animals and poultry – it’s fairly obvious that the current methods and procedures of vaccination being used in Asia and China are part of the worldwide problem – not part of the solution. I agree with several of his reader’s comments: if you can’t see the H5N1 and drive it underground, the vaccination control systems being used fail abysmally. In addition, you never will get 100% coverage and protection, and if the vaccines have been so good, why are we still having continuing bird flu re-infestations there ?

It doesn’t add up and never did.

Wulfgang

 

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