Wednesday, August 27, 2008

August 26 Flu Update

Revere has this blog post that is the most important news of the day. Are St. Jude's, the CDC and NIH seeking an international patent for a vaccine based on Indonesian vaccine. Isn't that what we have been critical of Indonesia for doing?

Novavax has a new, novel vaccine that has some encouraging reports, making the company a bunch of headlines this morning.

A new type of bird flu vaccine that uses a mock version of the virus appears to protect people against infection and is safe enough to continue testing, Novavax Inc. said on Tuesday.

One thing I have always worried about in a pandemic is the spectre of mandatory vaccination. See here for people who are wary of even garden variety vaccines.

Sharp has a new air purifier.

Geese shot during hunting season will be testing for bird flu in New York.


At 6:26 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


This is one of those rare occasions that I disagree with Revere’s excellent blog post.
Government agencies and/or their employees file tens of thousands of patent applications every year for uniquely patentable revised and re-engineered processes, new procedures, methods, techniques and products, under existing US patent law. The last I heard, pristine occurring viruses and microbes of nature were not patentable, but genetically altered sequences by mankind were. One can take the moral high-ground and argue all day about the ethical, social and monetary aspects (royalties, payments, consideration, etc) and alleged violations of public trust (rich vs poor), but that is not sufficient or relevant in patent courts. I will confess though, the revelation that the US has openly denied any interest in patents related to GISN materials for several years, and we find out that a patent was applied for by the CDC and St. Judes in February 2006 – is a bit hypocritical. If the patent were filed in the best interests of Europe and America’s, for international public health reasons and made in good faith, then this would be acceptable in my view.

This is also one of those occasions when I am at odds with you Orange. Maybe I am mis-reading your statement about the “specter of mandatory vaccination” during a pandemic. I am 100% in favor of mandatory vaccination of all individuals in the event of a deadly influenza pandemic, but only if it represented or exhibited the pathogenic and virulence characteristics of 1918, or SARS or perhaps Ebola. These are deadly situations that could literally change the course of man kind and represent a threat to our very survival. Measly influenza pandemics on the scale of 1957 or 1968 (I lived through them both, got ill, and am obviously still kicking today) do not in my viewpoint pose an international health emergency or threat of any sizable magnitude. Neither would they (or should) necessitate compulsory vaccination – if individuals want to assume the risk of not being vaccinated in those scenarios, then that is their right. (viewed unconditionally as their problem and conscience to deal with it). However, the re-emergence of measles, rubella, mumps, influenza, tetanus, whooping cough, chicken pox and polio amongst children in recent years, indicates a severe health problem may be developing in society.

I think I’ll get one of those new fangled Sharp anti-bird flu air purifiers, if they ever start manufacturing them at a reasonable cost. I am a bit skeptical about their H5N1 protection claims. All I can say, is if I buy one, it better darn well work if I actually need it. If it malfunctioned and I succumbed to the bird flu, I’d still come back to haunt the Sharp executives for stealing my money. They'd pay...


At 8:47 AM, Blogger Orange said...

Wulfgang, I wasn't very clear with my point. I'm in favor of mandatory vaccination in a situation where the pandemic is clearly coming....but I believe that attitudes like those cited in the story, anti-government fears, conspiracy theorists, and people who remember the swine flu situation will make compliance a problem and cause huge political problems.


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