Sunday, May 18, 2008

May 17 Flu Update

Now India is putting conditions on how it will share flu viruses.

The Netherlands and France are about to get permission to vaccinate poultry flocks, and the EU is approving it.

Human volunteers in Vietnam have gotten their second dose of flu vaccine.

If you travel away from the United Arab Emirates, don't try to bring eggs back.


At 6:08 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I find that quite interesting and a little tragic that India’s Ramadoss is “teaming up” with the psychotic Supari of Indonesia, in demanding that WHO provide “benefits” in the form of access to cheap vaccines, before they will supply sample strains of the H5N1 virus. While we have watched the Indonesian government over the last three years reach new levels of incompetence in managing their bird flu infestation problem, it appears that India is following down the same path. Since January of this year, India has failed miserably to even come close to eradicating the virus in its north eastern states of West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab and Kashmir. And India has no poultry vaccination program – so it appears they indeed are firmly embedded in the endemic category now, just like Indonesia. The commonality of both countries is that they suffer from extremely weak, inept and corrupt central governments, are grossly over populated and poverty ridden, and display no indication of any central commitment to the resources required to stop the virus from spreading. Both countries are nearly totally dependent on poultry as a source of cheap protein to feed its masses of people.

Lacking any internal bird flu strategy, both countries will only cause further polarization of the countries that have been participating in good faith in the 50 year old Global Influenza Surveillance Network. The timing couldn’t be worse: the price of oil (which fuels all economies) is at an all time high with no end in sight, agricultural production is declining due to drier weather patterns, the world supplies of fertilizers, grains and feed stocks are waning as the prices of each zoom to meteoric new highs and supplies diminish, more rice producing countries are refusing to ship excess rice out (over half the entire world’s population depend upon rice for cheap food) to needy third world countries, and to make matters worse – both India and Indonesia face the potential complete decimation of their one primary source of meat to feed their poor – poultry.

One simple observation to make about this developing scenario is this: from a strategic national interest position, why would the powerful western countries of Europe and North America agree to establish and fund a gigantic never-ending free stockpile of pre-pandemic H5N1 type vaccines (and other medicines) for these two grossly overpopulated countries who are becoming obvious poster-children for irresponsibility?

It is my firm belief that all countries on this planet have a moral duty and obligation to behave responsibly toward others, including the US, when it comes to world health. However, when countries perceive that a pandemic threat is imminent, they will naturally choose to preserve and save their own populations first, regardless of the refusals of India and Indonesia to provide disease strain samples. Their refusal to cooperate will not guarantee them anything, in fact, it does almost assure that they will not be given any special consideration.

On second thought, maybe Bill Gates with all of his money, is willing to throw a couple of billion dollars of his personal money their way to break this stalemate (he just visited Indonesia to discuss this subject about a week ago), but I guess that’s his business. (I'm a MS stock owner and I sure wouldn't want that guy giving company contributions to these two weenies)



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