Monday, July 23, 2007

July 23 Flu Update

Promed on the new case from Egypt. Woman was exposed to dead household birds, based on report.

Pig flu is in Northern Vietnam. Two people have died. It remains to be seen if this is related to bird flu.

Meanwhile, bird flu has struck in Central Vietnam, too.

As everywhere, vets are on the front line in Vietnam.

Vietnam will test its human vaccine on people in August.

Sanofi is launching plans to triple vaccine production capacity in PA.

Baxter is testing new flu technologies that would allow vaccine to be made in a "vat" not an egg.

EU Ok with children's dosage for Tamiflu.

No outbreak there yet, but Kenya is reminded it is still vulnerable.

Interesting--flu vaccine from the perspective of radiologists.

U of Penn ethics blog on vaccine development.


At 7:03 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Your news from Vietnam doesn’t look good: both avian and now pig flu appears now to be endemic in their environment, and they are scheduling their first human bird-flu vaccine trials on 600 humans, starting in August. (that’s one week from now and no official word or confirmation yet on how Madame Supari’s human trials are progressing in Indonesia). That’s now two countries officially pressing forward with human vaccines in the Asian area.

Of course China probably has most probably been preparing human vaccines, and even inoculating its Army, for years now, but won’t tell anybody.

Note in the Vietnam articles that attribution for the PRRS virus was given to the US (mid 1980’s), but nary a word about China, where allegedly the disease has been out of control for the last twelve months, according to all news accounts from various sources. It all becomes rather curious when politics and international intrigue are taken into consideration.

It also seems (to me) there may be a real conflict of interest in the Vietnamese veterinarians who are not paid by the government, and are forced to make their living selling medicines to the local farmers. Something just doesn’t sound right and one would think the Vietnam government would remedy this situation.

Your radiology article is quite fascinating and reveals several of the overwhelming challenges that the medical community will be faced with during a pandemic, that we have known about for at least two years: understaffing, lack of facilities and equipment, what to do with masses of infected patients, and the age old dilemma – priority of life saving care – who gets it and when ?

I have said this many times in your blog… Wulfgang is glad he will not be a physician during an epidemic. It is my personal belief that doctors will not be able to have enough personal and physical protection if we have anything greater than a 1918-like pandemic. Even the National Guard will not be able to protect them, because quite simply, since there will be no vaccine available for the average citizens (like you and me – unless your somehow extremely privileged and not saying so), there will limited Tamiflu and deliveries, there will be extremely limited access to medical care (there already are horrendous waiting lines in almost every emergency room in the nation currently), and there will be strict control of the few remaining available ventilators – it will not take the common citizen long to know who is the most sought after person in society who is the real life saver.

It won’t be politicians, or first responders, or mayors, or FEMA, or even a little ol’ Red Cross lady… it will be a doctor. People will try to obtain a physician or qualified medical person at all costs, if they feel their precious loved ones are dying.

Unfortunately, that’s the way things could be.



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