Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28 Flu Update

OK, here's the proof. Bird flu has gone human-human.

The chain of infection involved a 10-year-old boy who likely caught the virus from his 37-year-old aunt who had been exposed to dead poultry and chicken feces.

Researchers say the boy then probably passed the virus to his father.

"It went two generations and then just stopped, but it could have gotten out of control," said biostatistician Ira Longini, co-author of the study. "The world really may have dodged a bullet with that one, and the next time we might not be so lucky."

Clinical trials begin on DNA vaccine.

More news from Germany. The birds were kept indoors.

Revere blogs on a test for flu that could predict prognosis, and be used to triage scare medical resources.

The Journal of Wildlife Diseases has a supplement on avian flu. ProMed has the abstracts.

Vietnam says it has gone to "great lengths" to contain bird flu.

The UAE also has launched prep for the bird flu.

The Philippines have set up some more flu monitoring stations.


At 6:27 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


You know, I accept the fact that the experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have supplied independent verification (and validation) to the questions that have been lingering well over a year now: we dodged our first H2H2H pandemic bullet in Indonesia. One has to wonder what other information the WHO epidemiologists and Indonesians are withholding ? (I guess we all have our further suspicions about what is actually transpiring in China and Asiatic countries – and we will found out in the near future, I suppose). History will view a few of these independent assessments, as clear warning signs of a pandemic, which were ignored.

Your Vical article about Phase I vaccine trials – pretty interesting actually. Here’s the bottom line of things though: the scientific capability to develop an effective pre-pandemic broad strain H5N1 type vaccine to protect people, also exists with several other good companies, just like this one. But the real thorny issues remain unchanged – manufacturing enough vaccine in large quantities, when to pronounce immunization to the masses, and how quickly a follow-up matched pandemic vaccine can be produced, distributed, delivered and injected – these major issues all have to be resolve, in order to have any effect on the life cycle of a pandemic of large proportion. These are the real show stopper problems.

My thoughts on Germany and Europe in general are not good: they obviously have several probable problems which they may not actually realize: (1) contaminated poultry facilities, (2) wholly inadequate surveillance and inspection procedures (even the UAE has a better wild bird monitoring program), and (3) inadequate government oversight via lack of health or veterinary inspectors. This adds up to them not knowing how widespread the H5N1 virus is in their environment really is. Even the Philippines have far more avian influenza diagnostic labs than I suspect German has.

My final comment is on Revere’s article, “Gene test on flu prognosis”. Here again, let’s cut to the chase quickly: testing patient’s genes (or protein patterns) in the middle of a pandemic is not even logistically feasible, even though theoretically, it’s probably not a bad idea. It will be hard enough to buy a jar of peanut butter during a pandemic, let alone attempt anything like gene testing. Fugheddaboudit, it’s not practical.

Tom DVM, captures the situation best in his comment to Revere – “a pandemic equals pandemonium”.



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