Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 25 Flu Update

People following the flu virus know about NS1, the influenza protein that is believed to play a key role in infection. Researchers from the University of Texas and Rutgers have done some apparently important work on identifying the structure of NS1.

The researchers have determined the three-dimensional structure of a site on an influenza A virus protein that binds to one of the human protein targets, thereby suppressing a person's natural defenses to the infection and paving the way for the virus to replicate efficiently. This so-called NS1 virus protein is shared by all influenza A viruses isolated from humans, including avian influenza, or bird flu, and the 1918 pandemic influenza virus.
A seminar is being held in Chicago for businesses looking to prepare for a potential pandemic.

Fear of bird flu is causing the Philippines to curtail a regional "bird trapping" activity.

Strains of flu in Indonesia and Bangladesh are similar.

The military needs to be "ready" for disasters.....check this opinion piece out, as follows:

The message was simple. "It's about being prepared for the first 72 hours after an emergency-situation occurs. We want people to consider how they'll notify their families and where they'll meet," she said.
An alert reader shipped this along....did you know that deadly toxins are shipped via Fed Ex? Military leaders are reviewing safety rules and suspending lab activities in the meantime.

Mike the Mad Scientist at Scienceblogs writes about the bacterial aspect of influenza, which was recently published.

Bird flu fight gets publicity in Sierra Leone.

Cameroon is also re-launching its poultry industry after a bird flu scare.

1 Comments:

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...

Orange;

Your UT article about the discovery of the three dimensional NS1 protein binding pocket structure is one of the best pieces of news I’ve read in a long time. The good news is that hopefully these kinds of scientific findings will lead to more potent antiviral drug developments. Of course the bad news is that it takes normally years to develop, conduct trials, get FDA approval, and manufacture these future medicines. Unfortunately, we may not have that kind of luxurious timeframe at the rate H5N1 is mutating and other seasonal strains are gaining resistance to Oseltamivir.

I believe Mike the Mad Scientist and I would get along great: countries of the world need to consider a far more comprehensive war strategy to prepare for deadly epidemics and influenza pandemics: like pre-priming the populations, vaccinating against S. pneumoniae, stockpiling larger quantities of antibiotics for secondary infections, dramatically increasing vaccine manufacturing capacity in the US, and developing rapid diagnostics for bacterial and viral infections. I am absolutely convinced that we need a modern day well-funded public health “Manhattan Project” in the US, that would dwarf the administration’s DHS silly terrorist and border patrol initiatives (fencing), by re-channeling and reprogramming all the hundreds of billions of dollars wasted in Iraq and economics bailouts of mortgage malfeasant’s. Note: Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc., ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell profits alone from one quarter, could probably fund the entire initiative.

I liked your AP article about the military temporarily halting FedEx shipments of deadly toxins. (important note: how dumb and insecure is that?). Word on the street is that DOD and DHS are really worried about the possibility there are other rogue scientists (ala the Ft Detrick Ivins character) working in high-level bio-research/defense labs who shouldn’t be. The Personal Reliability Program is their way to identify and weed out the national security risks who pose a liability. Interestingly, why these individuals who handle the deadliest toxins on earth are not REQUIRED to take annual national security lie detector tests and under go psychiatric and medical evaluations – is beyond comprehension. People in the intel world are. How Ivins was allowed to handle and research anthrax germs for so long is equally as baffling and indicates a huge gaping hole in our internal national security procedures. It looks like a complete overhaul and re-engineering of oversight of the process is in order.

Every family should adopt the “Ready Army” philosophy when it comes to family emergency preparedness (I absolutely believe this is not over reacting): they should have an emergency supply of money, food and supplies, and have a pre-planned rendezvous place, as well as simple means to communicate that is not a commercial cell-phone or internet connection (I have long range WT’s). They should actually have TWO discrete family emergency plans – one to stay in place, and one to evacuate on short notice.

I know we do. If we had to evacuate within 15-30 minutes notice, we have enough food, clothing, water purification tablets and basic medical supplies to sustain us (each family member) for up to two weeks, all pre-stuffed/packaged into several large carry bags. Actually, we have been perfecting this capability for over two years now and will continue to refine things.

Wulfgang

 

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