Monday, October 03, 2005

'We Are in Real Trouble' - Bird flu pandemic risk: "I understand that the U.S. has ordered about 6 million doses. But the U.S. government has estimated it needs at least 20 million doses.

"At the current rate of production, by the end of 2006, there would be enough Tamiflu for 1.5 percent of the world’s population. If the company revved up production to the maximum, it would hit two percent. So it would take 10 years at maximum production to make enough for one out of five people."

"It’s not as if those at the highest levels of government are unaware of the threat. So why haven’t we done more to prepare?
My response to that depends on my mood in a given moment. There are times when asking that question will get steam pouring out of my ears and I’ll be a raving lunatic. And at times I become more cynical… When [former President Bill] Clinton ordered a multi-agency study on emerging threats, pandemic flu was number one. It is not new that the scientific community has been warning about it. What is new is that we are well past a warning. We have got [figurative] ambulances rolling through the streets with sirens wailing saying: Get out of the way, there’s trouble coming!"

6 comments: said...

What do you think can be done?

Influenza mutates constantly. You cannot create effective immunizations far in advance because of the rate of mutation. If you create a vaccine for Flu A and store it, it won't be effective against flu A1 that pops up six months later.

Bernard said...

Ramping up production of tamiflu seems urgent, and otherwise following the recommendations of the WHO and preparing to stop or mitigate the pandemic must be a high government priority around the world.

In the longer term a ban on 'factory farming' of animals might be in order. Factory farming leads to the spread of mass disease in animals and to stop this farmers resort to mass dosings of antibiotics. This leads to the development of resistance. For example, amantadine is now useless against bird flu because of resistance developed. said...

Good idea. I'm glad you're on top this for us. We need to mitigate that pandemic through setting urgent priorities around the world and by banning bad things.

Banning bad things is always a good place to start.

As we all know, words are more important than deeds. And better yet, if those words call for someone else to take action. It implies I have done my part if I call you to do something. It's even better if I call for the GOVERNMENT to take action because the GOVERNMENT is omnipotent. And a subtle point here is that calling for government action seems to imply that the speaker is included because government is us (of and for the people).

Calling for action with words (written and electronically published words at that) accomplishes much more than if you shut your mouth and personally did just one tiny little actual deed.

Especially if it "seems urgent" to say the words and the words were recommended by "the WHO".

No, The Who. Townsend and Daltrey. You know: "Who are you? Who? Who?"
I'm Jeff, who are you?
What are you talking about?

No. It's WHO. World Health and all that.
Oh, sorry. I get it now. said...

By the way. How about if you just wash your hands and wear a mask?

The Troll said...

Bush read you post and decided to get busy.


Big Gav said...

Jeff - are you in favour of this proposal to militarise public health work ? Even the Cato Institute is starting to baulk at some of this stuff - we're on a very slippery slope now...