Bird Flu - Archives
November 2nd - November
Tamiflu – Difficult or
Easy to Make?
An argument that Tamiflu
manufacturer Roche Holding has been using, to ward off attempts by rivals to
launch their own production of the drug, is that it is extremely difficult
to manufacture. As the Wall Street Journal
In early October,
with world-wide concern about bird flu spreading, the Swiss pharmaceutical
company was under mounting pressure to allow other manufacturers to produce
the antiviral drug as well. Roche resisted, saying Tamiflu…was too difficult
for other companies to manufacture. Roche even pointed to a potentially
"explosive" chemical step in the production process and said repeatedly that
it would take several years for anyone else to make Tamiflu.
But a growing number of
countries and companies are claiming they could quickly produce quantities
of the drug, if allowed by Roche....continue
reading Tamiflu – Difficult or Easy to Make?
Another Case in Thailand
has reported its 21st case of human infection, a one-year-old boy who is
expected to recover.
Hits the Middle East
presence of the H5N1 flu virus in a migrating flamingo. It is the first
confirmation in the Mideast.
Bird Flu –
The New Bio-Weapon?
Strategy Page website,
which specializes in the analysis of military matters, has published a short
Flu as a Bioweapon,” examining the prospects that terrorists might try
to smuggle infected birds into the US with the aim of damaging the American
international monitoring of poultry and migratory birds, the real threat of
an avian flu outbreak is likely to be as a result of bird smuggling. There
is an enormous international black market in birds. Most of the trade
provides misguided animal lovers with rare or exotic specimens, but part of
it goes to supply birds for cockfighting enthusiasts or forbidden treats
such as the rare ortolan for hungry gourmets. The 330,000 birds that are
legally imported into the U.S. every year go through a rigid quarantine
system that included veterinary testing. But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service estimates that between 80,000 and 100,000 more come in illegally,
and thus without the rigid screening….What worries counter-terrorism
officials is a coordinated movement of birds ill with avian flu, with the
intention of causing great economic loss to American domestic and wild
birds, as well as increasing the risk of the avian flu mutating into a more
lethal (to humans) version.
Consumption - How Much Will It Fall?
daughters of one of my wife’s best friends now refuse to eat chicken,
fearing bird flu. They know you don’t get bird flu from cooked poultry, and
in any case they know you don’t get bird flu here in Australia. But better
safe than sorry.
I suspect a
lot of people around the world are starting to think like that. Are global
chicken sales about to nosedive?....continue
Chicken Consumption - How Much
Will It Fall?
November 10th, 2005
Worse to Come?
Another bird flu death in Vietnam – the 42nd - has led to
fears that “the virus has hit the Asian nation earlier and on a larger scale
than last year.”
to a Reuters report:
The victim was a
35-year-old Hanoi man who died after eating chicken, said Nguyen Van Binh,
deputy director of the Vietnamese Health Ministry's Preventive Medicine
Department. "This is the first death since the start of this year's epidemic
season," Deputy Health Minister Trinh Quan Huan was quoted as saying by the
state-run Tien Phong newspaper.
The first Vietnamese
death last winter, the season when the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain seems to
thrive, was in December. WHO spokeswoman Dida Connor said it was too early
to know if the latest death meant the virus had become more virulent. But
Tien Phong quoted a Vietnamese government report as saying bird flu had
spread on a wider scale and had arrived in the north of the country earlier
than last year.
Rockeby Biomed, a tiny Singapore-based
company listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, have
rocketed on the
announcement that it has
distribution rights to two new tests for bird flu. Company management
claimed to be surprised by the market reaction.
High-Resolution Bird Flu Virus Photo
is said to be the world’s first high-resolution photo of the H5N1 bird flu
virus has appeared in the Swedish newspaper
Dagens Nyheter. According to a report on the
Radio Sweden website, the photo, by renowned 83-year-old science
Nilsson, “shows the virus as a string of blue balls attacking and destroying
healthy pink cells.”
Do I Have
Any Advance on $800 Billion?
sometimes sounds like a house auction, with each participant trying
furiously to outbid the other. The latest estimate for the cost to the
global economy of a flu pandemic – this time from the
– is $800 billion.
Kimchi, Now Sauerkraut
sauerkraut that’s being touted as a possible preventative for bird flu.
Korean kimchi (also spelled kimchee), sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage
government, we've got the preventative, and 115,000 tons of it in Wisconsin
alone," said Ryan Downs, owner and general manager of Great Lakes Kraut Co.,
which has sauerkraut factories in Bear Creek and Shiocton, Wis., and in
Shortsville, N.Y. Downs said more extensive scientific research is needed to
prove any curative link to avian flu, but he's more than happy to tout kraut
as a healthful part of any diet. "People are starting to realize kraut is a
pretty doggone good food," Downs said when contacted about the South Korean
study. "We're ready to help keep the world healthy."
so long ago that
Tamiflu producer Roche Holding was
insisting it would not license outside companies to produce the drug.
One reason cited was the complexity of production – a 10-stage, one-year
process that included extracting shikimic acid from the seeds of the star
anise spice, and then converting it into a drug. A Roche spokesperson said
it would take other pharmaceuticals companies three years to gain the
ability to replicate this process.
difference a few weeks makes. Now it seems that companies in numerous
countries not only plan to launch production, but they believe they can
rapidly turn out fairly large quantities of the drug. And it seems they
might gain Roche’s permission....continue
Tamiflu Update - Who’s Going to
November 6th, 2005
woman has died
of H5N1 bird flu in Indonesia, and a child is in hospital. It
total number of cases in Indonesia to nine, with five deaths.
Bird Flu “Police”
report from Reuters says the Singapore government, worried about a mass
bird flu outbreak at the famed Jurong Bird Park, has enlisted a squad of
“flu police” – chickens in each aviary designed to detect any infectious
chickens have been bred without immunity, and, according to the park’s boss,
“will be the first ones to fall ill if there is an outbreak of bird flu or
other infectious diseases.”
More Bird Flu Humor
Notes from the World of Wildlife Disease blog has links to more bird flu
jokes. Firstly, from the
In a press
conference at the White House today, President George W. Bush announced an
ambitious plan to slow the potential spread of avian flu by making birds
“Birds spread the flu by flying,” the president told reporters. “So it
stands to reason that if birds are too fat to fly, they can’t spread the
The president said that he personally developed the strategy for slowing the
spread of the deadly flu after realizing that “obesity is
America’s secret weapon in the battle for global health.”
issue increasingly dire warnings of an avian flu epidemic, President Bush
signed an executive order Tuesday authorizing the mass slaughter of "all
bald eagles found anywhere within our borders."
Asian Development Bank weighs
estimate of the economic cost of a global (or Asian) flu pandemic. It says
that a “year-long
shock” from bird flu would cost Asian economies as much as $283 billion,
reducing the region's gross domestic product by 6.5 percentage points.
presents a major potential challenge to the development of the region,
perhaps the most serious since the financial crisis of 1997," said the
Manila-based ADB. "A pandemic will likely slow or halt economic growth in
Asia and lead to a significant reduction in trade, particularly of services.
In the long run, potential economic growth will be lower and poverty will
attention to bird flu is soaring. The
blog notes that “googling ‘H5N1’ produces about 7.2 million hits, up
from 4 million just a few weeks ago.”
A couple of
days ago I noted that the most recent issue of Britain’s Private Eye
magazine – which is always quick to satirize the latest media excesses – was
full of bird flu jokes. I hadn’t noticed then that the
cover includes in the top-left corner a bird dressed as the grim reaper.
And now it
seems that the National Review
Online website has added an Avian Flu section to its list of categories,
with, today, three reports.
Bush has announced a $7.1 billion program to combat bird flu. According to
the BBC, the
main points are:
$1.2bn for the government to buy enough doses of the vaccine against the
current strain of bird flu to protect 20 million Americans
$1bn to stockpile more anti-viral drugs that lessen the severity of the
$2.8bn to speed the development of vaccines as new strains emerge, a
process that now takes months
$583m for states and local governments to prepare emergency plans to
respond to an outbreak
Effect Measure is not impressed:
of a pandemic is serious. This plan isn't serious. It's a distraction to
divert attention from Miers, Scooter, Iraq, Katrina and all the other crap
Bush has served up. Watch the birdies (they might have the flu) while the
other hand is stripping you bare and handing your possessions over to Big
Pharma, Halliburton and Big Oil. That's a disgrace.