Bird Flu - Archives
October 24th - October
talking about bird flu, and some excellent
blogs have emerged specifically to cover the topic. Here’s a rundown of the
best of them.
Essentially, they break down into two broad types. Firstly, there are those
run by specialists, such as doctors or public health officials. These tend
to be heavy on commentary, and are often excellent places to learn the
implications of what’s happening.
kind, like my own website, tend to be run by writers or other keen bloggers,
and usually have a focus on presenting the news as it happens (and there’s
lots of it) with brief commentary on what it means.
specialists, my favorite is....continue
reading The Bird Flu Bloggers.
Not Looking Too Bad
magazine contains some of the best reports on the developing bird flu story.
The latest is a round-up of news from Europe. Despite scares this week in
several countries, including Portugal and Sweden, the magazine is generally
optimistic that the continent will not suffer greatly.
Most of the 121
people known to have caught the virus so far in Asia were living with,
killing, plucking or eating infected poultry. Relatively few Europeans do
that, so there are likely to be far fewer human infections. "The threat of a
pandemic hasn't increased significantly as a result of recent developments"
in Europe, says Angus Nicoll of the European Center for Disease Prevention
And because the means
to contain outbreaks quickly exist in Europe, fewer poultry are likely to be
infected. "Europe is in an excellent position to prevent the virus from
getting a foothold," said Gudjon Magnusson of the World Health Organization,
after talks on the situation this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.
both confirmed new H5N1 outbreaks, while India investigates. The
“Authorities on the French Indian Ocean island of Reunion say three tourists
who returned from a trip to Thailand may have contracted bird flu.” The
Vietnam News Agency reports that three Vietnamese pharmaceutical
companies are to begin producing Tamiflu.
Bird Flu Spreading
appears to be spreading rapidly in Thailand, according to a survey by
suspected human infections on the rise as villagers resist efforts by
livestock officials to cull fowl. Avian influenza has spread to more than
half the country, with 39 provinces reporting confirmed or suspected cases
of fresh bird-flu infections. Last week, the authorities had just 21
provinces under close watch for bird flu, suggesting the virus is spreading
Meanwhile, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Suphan Buri and
Kamphaeng Phet have been put on a list of provinces with severe bird-flu
problems. “We are receiving more and more reports of fowl deaths,” Jatuporn
Kamchuen, the livestock chief of Kanchanaburi’s Phanom Thuan district, said
yesterday. Livestock officials were busy culling fowl suspected of
contracting bird flu.
same time, he complained that officials were facing resistance from some
villagers who had tried to prevent officials from taking their birds. “We
need to raise people’s understanding of the situation.”
reports that shares in biotech company Novavax jumped 33% yesterday,
following a 10% rise on Monday, on the potential for the company’s vaccine,
which reportedly protects animals against avian flu. The shares, which
dipped to 70 cents in August, are now trading at $5.53.
Portuguese health authorities are testing the bodies of 17 geese and
seagulls to see whether the birds died of avian flu. Meanwhile, in the
northern town of Santa Maria da Feira, a man has been hospitalized after he
reported flu symptoms, having found dead chickens on his farm.
reports that a dozen dead birds have tested positive for bird flu, though
the strain of the virus has yet to be determined.
A bird flu
epidemic could cost the Asia-Pacific region $90 billion to $110 billion,
according to the
Asia Development Bank. And a severe outbreak, leading to global
recession, could cost $250 billion to $290 billion.
Your Pet Parrot”
Kong government has issued
a set of
guidelines for dealing with bird flu.
Biota – The Little
Aussie Bird Flu Battler
A couple of months ago
you could have bought Biota Holdings shares for around 50 cents. Last week
they hit $2.60.
The reason – bird flu.
For Biota is the
pharmaceuticals company behind
marketing name for zanamivir), the ground-breaking anti-viral drug that is
rated second only to Tamiflu in ability to fight bird flu.
Biota has its
headquarters near Monash University, a 15-minute drive down Blackburn Road
from my home here in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne....continue
reading Biota – The Little Aussie Bird Flu
Response in China and the US
The US Food
and Drug Administration has formed a
Response Team to ensure that anti-viral drugs are available in the event
of a flu pandemic. The Team will be able to fast-track a complete new drug
application in six to eight weeks.
Ministry of Agriculture has announced a new
rapid response policy for reporting
bird flu –
reported to provincial authorities within two hours; and, after
confirmation, the provincial veterinary bureau must report to the ministry
within an hour.
Flu-Resistant Investment Portfolio
Reuters presents “ways to make investment portfolios at least partly flu
resistant”. Here are some of the suggestions:
"People are not going
to be congregating where other people are. So I would think that eBay Inc.
and companies that sell on-line would probably do very well because people
just aren't going to go to the mall to do shopping," said Jim Huguet,
president and co-CEO of Great Companies LLC. Huguet also suggested companies
that make home entertainment equipment and video games could benefit from a
stay-at-home mentality. "It sounds gruesome but I guess you could invest in
the funeral services companies. Obviously they would see a significant
increase in business," added Huguet, mentioning Stewart Enterprises and
Service Corp International.
If flu vaccines are
to be produced the conventional way, a potential beneficiary could be egg
producers, such as Cal-Maine Foods, noted Steve Brozak, president of WBB
Securities….Should the worst case scenario pan out and a survivalist bunker
mentality take hold, suggested Brozak, with tongue in cheek, "the best bets
may be canned goods and shotgun shells."
president of Global Trends Investments…said "hard currency or precious
metals are the safe areas. In protecting yourself, maybe gold makes sense."
That sentiment was echoed by Peter Schiff, President of Euro Pacific
Capital, especially if Asia is the epicenter of a flu crisis as predicted.
"Asia is where everything is getting produced. If Asia was less productive
they'd ask for their money back from the United States and the result could
be a selling-off of the dollar," Schiff said. "Gold should do well. If the
dollar goes down, gold goes up automatically," Schiff added.
WHO has officially
announced another case of bird flu human infection in Thailand, a
seven-year-old boy who has now recovered. It is the country’s 19th
WHO has also reported
that in Indonesia a four-year-old boy has been confirmed as having had bird
flu. He has now recovered. And a man who died at the end of September is now
confirmed as having died of bird flu. These are Indonesia’s sixth and
seventh bird flu cases, with four deaths. This brings to 62 the total number
of deaths since the end of 2003.
Bangkok Post reports two possible new cases of human bird flu
infection. A poultry farm worker is in hospital in Nakhon Pathom province
and a young girl is being treated in Kanchanaburi province,
Anise – Tamiflu’s Vital Ingredient
anise, from China and Vietnam, has been known in the West for several
centuries as a cooking spice and as an ingredient in anise-flavored liquors
like Pernod. Now it has a new use – as the base for Roche’s bird flu drug
star anise has a long history in Chinese herbal medicines, being used to
treat such ailments as colic in babies, stomach aches and indigestion. When
brewed as a tea it helps clear breathing passages. In women it has been
prescribed to facilitate birth and increase lactation.
Unfortunately, the plant takes six years to flower, and it is difficult to
cultivate. One estimate is that 10 years would be needed to produce
sufficient quantities to treat just 20% of the world’s population....continue
– Tamiflu’s Vital Ingredient.
Will Kimchi Cure Bird
My Korean wife believes
kimchi – fermented cabbage with garlic and fiery hot spices – will cure
anything. She makes it regularly in large, pungent quantities, to feed our family. It certainly hasn’t stopped my hay fever, and I credit my annual
flu shot for sparing me from the flu in recent years.
But kimchi (also written
as kimchee) is widely viewed as the Korean national dish, and many Koreans
believe it has wondrous properties. During the 2003 SARS outbreak in Asia,
kimchi consumption rose....continue reading
Will Kimchi Cure Bird Flu?
Marketed Tamiflu Properly?
emerged over the weekend of accusations being leveled against Roche by
Gilead Sciences, owner of the Tamiflu patent.
Holding AG has been accused of serious failings in the manufacture of
Tamiflu by US biotech firm Gilead Sciences Inc, the owner of the patent on
the highly sought after bird flu drug, UK Sunday paper
The Observer reported citing court papers filed with the US Securities
and Exchanges Commission.
Gilead, which is demanding termination of its licence agreement with Roche
because it says that the Swiss drugmaker has failed to market the drug
properly, has identified a number of incidents over the past three years
which required Roche to issue product recalls, the paper said.
entire report for more. This one looks set to run and run.
Newspapers Whip up a Panic
about a possible bird flu pandemic sweeps the nation,” according to the
Daily Telegraph in Sydney, citing as evidence a doctor who said “patients
were swarming into her Eastern Suburbs practice claiming they were
travelling to Asia or had been placed on a waiting list for the drug by a
chemist and wanted a script.”
And on the
News.com.au website of the Telegraph’s parent company is a report that,
doctors and medical workers have devised ‘exit strategies’ to flee their
homes if human-to-human bird flu takes hold.” Not a shred of evidence is
The Dead Duck and the
in Sweden did not die from H5N1. But a
parrot in Britain did.
Quick - who
used to be chairman of Gilead Sciences, the company that invented the bird
flu drug Tamiflu?
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, of course.
to get you thinking there’s some kind of conspiracy happening, and
inevitably that’s what some people have been thinking....continue
reading The Bird Flu Conspiracy.