Saturday, November 03, 2007

November 2 Flu Update

In Indonesia, the parents of the three year old child with bird flu have removed the child from the hospital, against medical advice. (Compliance will be a problem during a pandemic)

Margaret Chan issues warning in China--pandemic threat still exists.

6,000 chickens culled in Bangladesh after bird flu scare.

An additional province in Vietnam has been hit with bird flu as well.

CIDRAP on poultry outbreaks, including Pakistan as well.

Article in Lancet says that Africa has little to no hope of meeting WHO bird flu standards.

CIDRAP reports on GAO report on US pandemic prep.

The US will hold pandemic town halls in five US sites.

Clinical vaccine trials are being held at Stony Brook University.

Local reports aims to educate readers in Nigeria about bird flu.

Canada announces its plans for how to handle bird flu in pandemic poultry.

Canada also talks about the North American infectious disease plan.

CIDRAP reports on this as well.

Article in Alabama aims to do the same.

The University of Nebraska-Kearney is holding a bird flu Town Hall.

You have to remember that emergency workers sent to deal with the bird flu have worries, too. Here, two police officers are suing their force for not protecting them in UK during a pandemic scare.

CIDRAP wraps out its outstanding bird flu series....

Part 6 on novel technologies...

Because they contain live virus, live-attenuated vaccines provoke multiple types of immunity. In studies they have been shown to protect against both the strains from which vaccine candidates were derived and against drifted (slightly mutated) strains as well—characteristics that make them highly appealing to pandemic planners (see Bibliography: Belshe 2004). They also grow in eggs at a much higher volume than inactivated vaccines (see Bibliography: Monto 2007). But their live-virus content is responsible for the vaccines' greatest potential danger: the possibility that they might lead to reassortment between the vaccine virus and circulating flu strains.

and Part 7 on a "Manhattan Project"

Those calling for a Manhattan Project–like effort say that what is needed is much broader than what NIAID or all of NIH could deliver. It requires active coordination among all the federal health agencies along with cooperation from congressional funders, plus parallel efforts in other countries. "Pandemic vaccine development has been viewed primarily as a vaccine problem that should be addressed with better science," Fedson said, "but fundamentally it is a global public health problem that requires better management" (see Bibliography: Fedson and Dunnill 2007: From scarcity to abundance).

And, they say, it is urgent that such an effort be established soon, because there is no way of predicting accurately when a pandemic might arrive. If it arrives soon rather than later, the lack of vaccine in most of the world will create a divide between haves and have-nots that could corrupt international relations long after the pandemic ends.


At 5:45 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I would like to comment specifically on your two CIDRAP topics: one article points the pathway that clearly needs to be taken so that a pandemic vaccine can be developed in time to be of any real use; the other article really highlights what the major problem is.

First the CIDRAP Manhattan Project article – this concept will get no argument from any well informed scientific circles, in either the private or public sector - there is a desperate and urgent need for an integrated, multinational cooperative effort to develop a vaccine, post haste. Without sufficient vaccines, or the ability to produce them in massive quantities, Dr. Osterholm is absolutely correct in his assertion that the limited quantities on hand would cause benefit only to a very limited number of people, and a “crisis of leadership around the world”. Actually, I believe he is vastly understating what those of us who work in government believe will happen: unless something changes quickly, an unmitigated disaster on a world proportion will occur which has never before been seen in the annals of history.

The second CIDRAP points out what is wrong with the situation: specifically, the Department of Homeland Security, who is supposed to be coordinating the various designated US critical infrastructure components. They are incapable of performing this task because they are a bloated, non-functional, non-integrated federal bureaucracy, comprised of 87,000 different governmental jurisdictions and homeland security responsibilities, at the federal, state, and local level. Its organization structure looks like a electronic circuitry board gone haywire: it has 16 major departmental components, 10 offices under the Secretary, and 6 major advisory panels and committees which are further broken into countless subcommittee’s. For example, one in particular the “ The Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities Committee”, is subdivided further into 17 “Coordinating Councils” and 8 additional “Interagency Council Subcommittees”.

The entire bureaucratic organizational structure of the DHS looks like it was designed by a drunken Southern Baptist preacher. And people wonder why we can’t visibly see a coordinated national pandemic policy and vaccine preparation effort. Right now it’s pretty much each government agency doing “what it believes is right”, due to lack of national leadership, inconsistent guidance and undue emphasis on “terrorism”.

Make no mistake about it, if a severe pandemic occurs, which I believe will happen, the Secretary of Defense, along with the military, is prepared to step in and temporary take control of the situation. It will have no choice.

The first part of the 21st century will go down in history as a series of disastrous events for the United States: the invasion of Iraq, an influenza pandemic (or substitute MRSA, XRTB, Ebola, Dengue, Anthrax, or any other suitable deadly virus), water depletion (we should already be building water pipelines to divert water sources alternate locations), energy depletion (we should be bringing new nuclear power plants on line to replace our aging facilities), and the looming crisis in health care. We’ve already lost most of our industrial and manufacturing base – so I won’t mention that – it’s already been permanently lost to third world countries.

The CIDRAP series of articles have been enlightening to all of us. Unfortunately in the political climate we are presently in, a nationally coordinated and well funded pandemic influenza vaccine effort, like the Manhattan Project, is a pipe dream.



Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home