Wednesday, May 28, 2008

May 27 Flu Update

CIDRAP reports....Indonesia claims that 112 countries support its virus sharing stance.

Scientists at Los Alamos have developed a mathematical model to study how H5N1 evolves, hopefully providing real time tracking of the progress to human transmissibility.

“What we wanted to create was a mathematically rigorous way to account for changes in transmissibility,” said Bettencourt. “We now have a tool that will tell us in the very short term what is happening based on anomaly detection. What this method won’t tell you is what’s going to happen five years from now.”

EU research helps develop more knowledge on how the flu virus hijacks cells.

Nepal has banned bird sacrifices at Hindi temples, according to this report.

Helen Branswell has the story on H7 viruses coming closer to adapting for humans. More of a warning...the virus is constantly evolving. (Also, this virus is more common here in North America.

China grants patent to yield enhancing technology for vaccines.

Has Australia excluded general practice physicians from its pandemic planning.

Producing flu vaccine is seen as big economic opportunity.


At 6:21 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


I see Siti Fadilah Supari is still continuing her crusade to disrupt the 50-year old WHO virus sharing system (which incidentally, up to now, has worked quite well for all countries of the world). Regardless of what she or Indonesia say publicly, privately they want compensation in the form of some “quid pro quo” arrangement for their sample isolates of H5N1: if it talks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck… then it is a duck. The words - politics, pandering, perniciousness, paranoia and the looming threat of a pandemic - best describes Indonesia's standoff position (112 alleged nations agreeing, not withstanding).

With the added threat of H7 subtype avian virus, it seems we now have at least two viable candidates for an influenza pandemic. Because of this potential double-whammy, the Los Alamos National Laboratory complex mathematical rigorous model which predicts avian virus probabilities of actually becoming high transmissible, is more important than ever. If the model is actually capable of predicting the likelihood (probability) of an influenza pandemic real time – this is exactly what is required – the ability to “make the call” and take preventative action on short notice. I have a feeling (as many people do) that H5 and H7, aren’t the only bad guys that would like to adapt to the human respiratory tract.

Regarding your article about China granting patent protection to Microbix for its vaccine enhancement technology, I find it absolutely astounding that only four countries in the entire world have the capability to produce enough influenza vaccines for their own populations: Canada, France, Belgium and Australia. Not one of the designated economic or military “super powers” of the world possesses this critical manufacturing capability.

This means, in my view, unless we have fair warning of an imminent influenza pandemic via sophisticated predictive mathematical and behavioral models (like the Los Alamos model), AND continued H5 and H7 viral isolate sharing and cooperation by all countries – then the production of available pandemic vaccines most likely will go to the highest bidder, or to those nations with the biggest club.

In a real pandemic situation, all nations will do whatever is necessary to acquire the life saving influenza vaccine. They will buy it at exorbitant prices if necessary to save their populations, or they will take what little vaccine exists by military force, or they will attempt to take the actual manufacturing capability away from those who have it.

One way or another, in my opinion, no militarized and industrialized nation will sit idle while its citizens drop like flies.



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