Monday, November 26, 2007

November 26 Flu Update

Nature is reporting that a post-conference deal is being negotiated that might result in sharing of virus samples.

CIDRAP says a deal was elusive but work planned to continue (note, probably posted before news from above).

ProMed says egret in Hong Kong was H5N1, more outbreaks in Saudi Arabia, and outbreaks in Burma.

Another province in Vietnam reports mass chicken deaths.

Kuwait says it is prepared for bird flu.

States using seasonal flu vaccine to prepare for pandemic is detailed.

Sanofi is building a new vaccine plant in China.

Bangladesh warns people to keep their poultry away from migratory birds.


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Regarding your first article about “Indonesia edges to sharing bird-flu viruses”, I guess it all depends on whether you view the glass as half full, or half empty. (What glass?)

Just casual observation, it appears that bird flu is breaking out on several continents, almost simultaneously: South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and Burma. Also, despite their best efforts at poultry vaccination, Vietnam seems to be losing the battle.

This is just speculation on my part, but I doubt that Sanofi-Aventis is the only company that China has struck a deal with to buildup influenza vaccine manufacturing capabilities. With well over a billion people plodding around there, it has to be considered one lucrative vaccine market – the real “mother lode” – there’s probably enough potential business there to keep any vaccine manufacturing company in the black for the next five centuries.

Finally, my last comment is about your “free flu shot exercise” article out of Arkansas, which describes their amazing success at vaccinating over 100,000 citizens in three days. Quite a number of states have conducted these drive-by flu shot exercises over the last twelve months, but in my view, they should be concentrating more on the practical and fundamental end of things. For example, they should be stocking up with basic medical supplies, including surgical masks, respirators, syringes and needles. And they should be conducting combined emergency service coordination exercises within their jurisdictions. And they should be conducting intense discussions with suppliers to ensure that their food, materials and services supply lines are kept in tact and working during any type emergency, not just a pandemic. Drive-by vaccination exercise give a false impression of community preparedness.

My opinion: mass drive-by vaccinations are fine, but a vaccine won’t be ready for many months, maybe even a full year, after a pandemic starts grinding in. Will the citizens be going to hospitals, only to find there are no supplies, medicines and equipment available ? Will the emergency providers even have enough PPE to sustain them, for months on end if need be ? Will communities even have enough basic uninterrupted food supplies available to sustain them for weeks or months at a time ?

These are all very difficult issues that have to be strategized and attended to before a pandemic comes blasting through communities for weeks and months.

And it all costs money. I’d rather be serious and spend the money on food, medical supplies, antivirals and emergency pre-coordination, rather than mass drive-by inoculations. In fact, just send me the needle, heck, I’ll inoculate myself and save the gas.



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