Wednesday, July 02, 2008

July 1 Flu Update

Blog at Discover magazine looks at the flu, and especially at H7's move toward human form.

Last week US scientists reported that H7 viruses from recent poultry outbreaks in North America are starting to bind the human form of sialic acid, and losing their ability to bind the bird form. Even worse, an H7 was even isolated from a man with the flu in New York in 2003 and it bound most effectively to the human form [New Scientist blog].

Sinovac vaccine trials hit phase II.

Diocese in UK is recognized for its pandemic plan that gives guidance for the role of faith communities in a pandemic.

Story covers UPenn study on how a new kind of vaccine provides cross-protection by "tricking" the immune system

Hong Kong has resumed live chicken sales.


At 6:09 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


Did you notice in your first Discover science article, the “Indonesian paradox” that seems to be growing larger as each month passes ? Health minister Siti Supari proclaims that only 18 people have been infected with bird flu so far in 2008, and this shows an improving trend over the 27 reported in 2007, and much better than the 35 deaths in 2006. However, the UN FAO is on record this year as criticizing Indonesia for its “failed efforts to control the disease”. Quite a credibility gap developing there I would say. It goes without saying, that Supari’s latest attempts to further suppress the number of reported H5N1 human illnesses and deaths is recognized by the world over as irresponsible and just plain stupid. Sprinkle in the added threat of the H7 poultry virus, which seems to be binding easier to human sialic acid, and the moral of the Indonesian bird flu story seems to be: All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure (Mark Twain).

When I read your Sinovac Phase II Trail article, I found myself in absolute amazement: their randomized double-blind trial is going to involve 140 children between the ages of 3 and 11. What parent in their right mind is going to authorize or approve this experimental vaccine procedure for their infant children ? I wouldn’t. I must admit, I would certainly volunteer myself for the trial study (in a heartbeat)… but never offer up my infant children. No way. It’s one thing, as pointed out in your University of Pennsylvania article, to vaccinate macaques, mice and ferrets (different animal species) with new DNA and cell influenza vaccines, but experimentation with human infants is quite another. True: all drugs and vaccines have to be eventually tested in humans for efficacy, but I find it very very difficult to imagine any parent offering up their small infants as human guinea pigs.

Your real “article of the day” in my view, was the Independent Catholic News piece about their two protocols, “Planning for a Flu Pandemic” and “A Checklist for Dioceses on Pandemic Flu Preparation”. First, one never hears about similar initiatives from any other world religions (that I am aware of), and second, I guess it takes sharp clergymen like Deacons Donnelly and McManus to point out the following…The greatest security threat to mankind is not terrorism or climate change, but the ever present threat of a flu epidemic.

When you stop and think about this, it holds a lot of truth. Too bad you can’t get the Bush Administration and our Congress in the US to realize this.



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