Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 20 Flu Update

Sorry for no update....other things intervened

US and Indonesia square off at world flu conference.

John Lange, U.S. special representative for avian and pandemic influenza, said "there should not be a one-to-one relationship between sharing of a particular sample and accruing a specific benefit".

"Countries that do their duty and share information and samples should not expect to receive something concrete each and every time they share," he said.

Revere blogs this issue, noting that solutions exist, but may never be executed.

It is not clear this problem will be resolved. There is no reason it must be resolved, only many good reasons why it should be resolved. In my view, the international community is reaping the whirlwind of its profligate use of the intellectual property system and in some sense is getting what it deserves. Indonesia has the virus and we don't. They make the call.

UK confirms second case of bird flu in animals, and there is apparently a new outbreak in a Saudi Arabian market (ProMed)

WHO SG Chan says that we have been given a gift--warning of a pandemic. And preparedness is the key.

“Vulnerability is universal,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said today at the opening in Geneva of the Intergovernmental Meeting on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness. “A pandemic will, by its very nature, reach every corner of the earth, and it will do so within a matter of months.”

UK held some culls at farms that ended up testing negative.

The EU is imposing tighter bird flu controls on the UK.

The United Arab Emirates is preparing to ward off bird flu.

The UK is preparing to ask farmers to pay their share of the costs of managing animal diseases.

If we had a pandemic, we'd be 10 billion doses of vaccine short.

OIE says that India is bird flu free.

Pacific Island Nations are meeting about bird flu.


At 8:58 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Well a happy pre-Thanksgiving to you and everyone. I am on travel typing this from a laptop, so my comments will be short and rough.

Having read all of your articles today, I believe it should register on everyone’s mind that we are now at a crucial pivotal point in the pandemic planning decision tree: we must decide three things, and do it quickly. First, we have to determine how to satisfy Indonesia so the West has access to the latest H5N1 strains. Second, the West has to bite the bullet and fund global production centers that are capable of cranking out tens of billions of pre-pandemic and pandemic matched vaccines on a very short timeline. And most importantly, third, the West must take control of the pandemic manufacturing and planning process before the entire system collapses and is thrown into chaos. It all amounts to the television show, “Deal Or No Deal”, and if we have to bring in Howie Mandel, we should do so.

Why the urgency ? Because unless the leading developed powers of the world act quickly (US, Russia, China, W. Europe, M. Eastern oil rich nations), we may well see the biggest economic, health and social catastrophe to hit mankind since the history transitioned from oral tradition to written scripts. The situation is becoming just that “cancer-serious” in my view.

Remarkably, we have another significant hurdle which must be decided: the estimated realistic number of worldwide fatalities that would most like result from a severe pandemic must be made public. And one hundred million people number as mentioned in the PR Newswire article, as estimated by the Influenza Vaccine Strategies for Broad Global Access study, isn’t it. A mere one hundred million worldwide deaths, mostly in underdeveloped countries, isn’t going to merit anybodies attention. The number of one billion people at risk, will get total attention from world leaders, funding, and cooperation amongst the superpowers. I personally believe the one hundred million estimate of the Who sanctioned study to be an absolute 1918/1957/1968-like combination best case scenario. It is totally inconsistent with internal US CDC, State Dept and DOD planning estimates.

The bottom line is this: the developed nations of the world have the resources to resolve the vaccine production and capacity problem, and we should do so now, immediately.

It is very apparent that even if we pooled our resources now, it would still take another five to seven years to ramp up to the required production levels.

We must act now and buy our way out of this dilemma. We can make that decision and eat our turkey now, or later we will be eating infected crow.



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