Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24 Flu Update

A four year old child has died in Indonesia.

Bird flu breaking out in Vietnam again.

Research indicates that flu hits children's lungs faster--this would seem to run counter to the cytokine storm theory.

Nabarro speaks what many believe is true--we are 2-3 years away from being ready for a pandemic.

New Scientist says that there may be a new drug that could lead to a universal flu vaccine.

CIDRAP on the US pandemic plan that says who gets vaccine first, reported here yesterday.

Revere on the US pandemic plan....lining up for a vaccine that doesn't exist.

OIE report from Myanmar.

Bird flu exercise held in Nebraska.


At 8:46 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Nice set of articles. I see that children are continuing to die on a weekly basis now in Indonesia and we still have the seven youngsters under observation in Riau province in Sumatra. And if this news isn’t alarming enough, bird flu outbreaks are still occurring in Vietnam, regardless of their humongous poultry vaccination efforts.

But your real news for the day is focused in two other areas: the WHO comments from Dr. David Nabarro and the comments from CIDRAP and Revere on the US prioritization of vaccines during a pandemic situation.

First, the easy one: I believe when Dr. Nabarro states that “two or three more years of hard work are required to ensure that the world can cope with a pandemic”, what he really means that this is the additional time needed in order to develop critical influenza vaccine manufacturing capability. More bluntly, we need three more years to develop more plants and vaccines, to be able to roll out the gigantesque amounts of pandemic vaccine required, at the onset of a pandemic. If a pandemic occurs before that time, nearly every country in the world is royally hosed.

My second comment, if you will indulge me, is regarding the controversy surrounding Revere’s article whether or not deployed military personnel should get vaccinated with a pandemic flu vaccine. I don’t believe anyone has any major quibble with any of the other categories developed by the HHS tiger team. So far, it all looks like a reasonable, sane and logical set of priorities. Also, I don’t believe anyone has any doubt about Revere’s medical or scientific acumen – it’s right up there with the best. However, his comment and rationale for not inoculating our front-line soldiers in uniform, is flawed.

They are serving their country at great personal sacrifice and deserve every medical opportunity and ounce of respect we can afford. Do I condone this crazy illogical war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan ? Absolutely not – it is one of the biggest mistakes this country has every made. We are fighting the wrong enemy, in the wrong countries, for the wrong reasons. It dismays me to think of all the lives, money and resources that will be wasted on this effort. And I am one of the biggest war hawk’s, with actual personal experience in combat, that anyone can find. Maybe we can extract ourselves from this insanity with the advent of a new administration in the near future, but until then, our troops in uniform are our national warriors and we must support every single one of them. And this includes all the inoculations we can provide to them. One of them can have my dose, when and if it comes down to it. (By the way, about the only thing I would agree the present US Administration has gotten right, is their assessment of the Iran situation, and it has little to do with Iraq or Afghanistan – if somebody doesn’t take out the Iranian nuclear reactors in the next two years, those Iranian nut jobs led by Ahmadinejad, will loose a nuke on US territory or western interests – and we cannot allow this to happen. He’s the closest thing to Adolph Hitler that I can recall from my history lessons)

So who’s our real enemy? The country we buy our toys from – China. The Bush Administration seems hell-bent on taking the US to self destruction, squandering our power in half-fought wars in the middle east and exporting our manufacturing base to our future enemies in China, and in short, practically begging for Darwinian retribution. The doctrine of war against terrorist groups, rather than against the nations themselves who sanction such people, is merely an illusion. The real battle of this century will be with China, and it will begin as the next cold war, with the leaders on both sides denying that a conflict even exists. But in a world of scarce resources and threats of pandemics, industrial giants can only dissimulate for so long. The Chinese are not like the Russians – and they are most assuredly not like the US when it comes to war, either cold or hot.

When push comes to shove, the Chinese are fully capable of destroying half of their population to wipe us off the face of the earth. As Mao once said, “If nuclear war kills half a billion of our people, we will still have half a billion left” And then he laughed. But Mao was not joking.

In my view, war with China is inevitable. Why we are screwing around in Iraq and Afghanistan, and missing the big picture, escapes me. Oh, and incidentally, it doesn't have to be a nuclear war with them, it can be an H5N1 pandemic - they still will have half a billion people left (we won't).



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