Monday, August 20, 2007

August 20 Flu Update

A 2-year old is hospitalized in Indonesia with bird flu.

ProMed confirms the housemaid death in Indonesia reported yesterday.

ProMed also has this on whether asymptomatic birds can fly long distances.

St. Jude identifies genetic markers that can be used to determine whether bird flu has made the transition to human flu.

Pharma report on unclear flu prognosis, unclear vaccine prognosis.

Emergency officials in South Africa just trained for three days on the bird flu.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Three excellent articles today.

Your St. Jude article about the use of bird/human virus strain markers is probably one of the most fascinating articles you’ve posted in quite a while. The good news is that with these human markers, I have no doubt we will be able to predict the probabilities and time coordinates of a “most-likely” pandemic emergence. (One can never have enough empirical data to calculate risk and probabilities, and model the likelihood of a pandemic occurrence). One would also speculate that the Fort Detrick, Md folks are already on top of this, and are feeding this info into the military defense and intelligence network. Just a hunch….

I found the Promed article equally as interesting, but in a different circumspect way: are scientists focusing too much effort on analyzing migratory birds ? For example, in the bird flu endemic environments that we are all aware of, like Indonesia perhaps, shouldn’t we be expending considerable effort ascertaining and investigating what the extent of other H5N1 infected mammalian hosts or possible vectors ?

I think we should – because I don’t think anyone really has a clue what other culprits are thoroughly infected. (flies, mosquito’s, feral cats, bats, dogs, horses waterways, pigs, come to mind). Maybe the CIA knows.

Your third article, “Pipeline Review”, which summarizes the tremendous hurdles involved with the manufacturing a viable pandemic vaccine in sufficient quantities, is quite excellent. In my view, the absolute best we can all hope for with the present H5N1 pre-pandemic vaccines, is an adequate degree of “cross-protection”.

And the worst case picture - we will have no cross-protection, and if that is the case, people had really better hope they have their major prep’s in order to be able to sit things out for a good while.

No more fast food drive thru’s, no more soccer games, or cheer leading practices for a while, moms out there. And for dads – well, no more ball games or poker parties with the boys.

It will all be about getting to know your neighbors and friends a lot better.



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