Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30 Flu Update

CIDRAP on the sick 3-year old in Indonesia.

University of Wisconsin is completing its $12.5M flu lab, with enhanced biosecurity....

Ten-inch walls made with crack-resistant concrete. Outlets sealed with silicone.Sensors for broken windows. Infrared surveillance beams. Redundant air handling systems. A back-up generator.

Part 4 of the CIDRAP vaccine series--adjuvants. (You know you are a flu junkie if this topic is exciting to you).

"We have H5N1 to thank for opening up the flu research field, which was absolutely creeping along," said Dr. Arnold Monto, a flu epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, who has long research experience with live-attenuated vaccine. "We've always known that flu vaccine was good, but not great—not a 21st century vaccine with 95% protection—but there was a feeling that it was good enough. But H5N1 changed the risk-benefit ratio so that we are willing for instance to work with adjuvants, which may have theoretical risks but certainly may well afford tangible benefits. We're going to learn a whole lot about the immunology of protection that we haven't learned in the past" (see Bibliography: Monto 2007).

Australian region prepares for worst in bird flu pandemic.

Hey...nobody said it would be easy. Bird flu in China is raising the cost of duck down padding.

"Threats" Website looks at bird flu.

Sure, we make fun of people who compulsively wash their hands. But during a pandemic......


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


And the reports of illnesses and deaths of little children keep on rolling in from Indonesia, almost on a weekly basis now.

Anybody else besides me see a developing trend here?

Your Part 4 CIDRAP article is just as informative and interesting as the first three (I guess I’m a “half-junkie”). I have felt all along that the ONLY way we will have a fighting chance at developing enough pandemic vaccines for the populations of the world, is via adjuvants. The obvious problem, unfortunately, is that the US government has not even given the tiniest thought to relaxation of the myriad of laws and regulations governing their approval, or even considered the implementation of “fast track” approval. It will take the declaration of an actual pandemic international emergency by the WHO and CDC, plus a presidential declared national health emergency to spur our bureaucrats into action.

Then it may be too late – we will have to pretty much “go” with what we have available at the time, with the use of known adjuvants – to spin the vaccine production lines up.

The blog site article you published on “The Next Step in Bird Flu Mutations”, really got me thinking about what stage the mutated H5N1 virus is really in at the present time. My opinion, based on the stat’s and reports over the last year or two from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Egypt ? We are as virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka says: really only one mutation away from a pandemic. The virus is unquestionably infecting younger people disproportionately in these countries, eerily similar to the well documented first hand reports of the 1918 pandemic. This has been the particular pattern in Egypt and Indonesia for many months now, with many cases not be reported at all, or being misdiagnosed, resulting in a tremendous “underreporting situation”.

Further and most importantly, since it seems that published scientific studies and important research lag 6-12 months after critical virus mutations and resistance factors are occurring, in my view, we may not actually have consistent human-to-human transmission yet (in fact I doubt we have), but we are on the cusp of seeing this phenomenon occur. We are down to a simple mutation now.

I am absolutely convinced that smart people like Henry Niman, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, David Nabarro, Michael Leavitt, Julie Gerberding and Michael Osterholm, either already know this, or suspect this is true, and are waiting until further research and evidence provides substantiation. This is why they are insistent that the world be prepared as best they can be. They know it’s coming.

While I would be one of the first to believe that attenuation will occur once this virus becomes highly transmissible, I think people will be absolutely shell-shocked at the resultant attack and fatality rates they are going to be seeing. For example, the average actual SARS CFR of a few years ago was only 10-12% (believe it or not), and the H5N1 actual CFR worldwide average is running an astounding 60%. Even if H5N1 attenuates down to 20%, it will still vastly exceed 1918 and SARS., and we are talking a virulence even much worse than Ebola.

That’s how bad I believe this virus will be. SARS and the Ebola will look like pussycats.



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