are one-paragraph excerpts of important, little-known news articles and
facts on the avian flu reported in the mainstream media. These excerpts are taken verbatim from the major media website at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click
here. These news articles are generally listed in reverse date order. Some of this news can be disturbing and even depressing. For balance,
we highly recommend interspersing your reading with some of the excellent articles
in our Inspiration
section. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread
the word, we can and will build
a brighter future.
Researchers Shed More Light on Bird Flu
March 23, 2006, Washington Post
Two research teams have independently discovered explanations for the chief features of the H5N1 bird flu virus -- its difficulty infecting humans, and the deadly effects when it does. Unlike influenza viruses that are passed easily between people, H5N1 has a hard time attaching to cells in the nose, throat and upper airways. But it readily attaches to cells deep in the lungs. This suggests that people need close and heavy exposure to the H5N1 virus for it to get into the lungs.
Note: Yet governments have already spent many millions of dollars stockpiling Tamiflu believing that avian flu will mutate and cause a pandemic killing millions. And top government officials have already made many millions of dollars on stocks related to Tamiflu--the drug designed to combat a deadly virus which hasn't even mutated yet to know if the drug works! Remember that generating fear in the public is one of the best ways to make a profit.
Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug
March 12, 2006, Independent (one of the UK's leading newspapers)
The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease. More than 60 countries have so far ordered large stocks of the antiviral medication - the only oral medicine believed to be effective against the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease - to try to protect their people. The United Nations estimates that a pandemic could kill 150 million people worldwide. The drug was developed by a Californian biotech company, Gilead Sciences. Mr Rumsfeld was on the board of Gilead from 1988 to 2001, and was its chairman from 1997. He then left to join the Bush administration, but retained a huge shareholding. The 2005 report showed that, in all, he owned shares worth up to $95.9m, from which he got an income of up to $13m. The firm made a loss in 2003, the year before concern about bird flu started. Then revenues from Tamiflu almost quadrupled, to $44.6m, helping put the company well into the black. Sales almost quadrupled again, to $161.6m last year.
Note: Former American Secretary of State George Schultz is an also advisor to Gilead's current Board of Directors. Another prominent member of Gilead's Board is former European Commissioner and chairman of the Bilderberg Group, Etienne Davignon. '"I don't know of any biotech company that's so politically well-connected," says analyst Andrew McDonald of Think Equity Partners in San Francisco', reports Fortune
The deadly terror lurking around the corner
may not be such a big, ominous threat after all
February 19, 2006, San Francisco Chronicle
Americans receive a steady stream of warnings and alarms about new and horrific perils that await them. Pandemics, dirty bombs, cyber attacks, bioterror and other exotic threats are always on the verge of being unleashed onto a shamefully unprepared republic. Yet, judging from statistics on life expectancy, violent deaths and war, we live in much less perilous times than any generation before us. Avian flu, for example. We are cautioned that a pandemic...is only months away. One World Health Organization estimate says 2 million to 7 million people will die in the next pandemic. But it is not 1918. The WHO reports that since 2003, there have been 152 cases of avian flu, resulting in 83 deaths. A flu pandemic has been regularly predicted since 1997 and (knock on wood) it has never arrived.
Note: This informative article, by a program director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, demonstrates clearly how the hype and fear around terror is much more damaging than terrorism itself. For more on this from both BBC and my own experience: http://www.WantToKnow.info/powerofnightmares
Bird Flu Victims Die...After Becoming Resistant to Tamiflu
December 22, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
In a development health experts are calling alarming, two bird flu patients in Vietnam died after developing resistance to Tamiflu, the key drug that governments are stockpiling in case of a large-scale outbreak. The experts said the deaths were disturbing because the two girls had received early and aggressive treatment with Tamiflu and had gotten the recommended doses. Since 2003, avian flu has killed about 70 people, mostly in Vietnam and Thailand, and nearly all involved close contact with infected birds. Health experts fear the virus could morph into a form that spreads easily between people. The new report involved eight Vietnamese bird flu patients given Tamiflu upon being hospitalized in 2004 or 2005. Half of the patients died. Lab tests showed two of those who died...had developed resistance.
Doctor says bird flu drug is ‘useless'
December 4, 2005, London Times
A Vietnamese doctor who has treated dozens of victims of avian flu claims the drug being stockpiled around the world to combat a pandemic is "useless" against the virus. Dr Nguyen Tuong Van runs the intensive care unit at the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi and has treated 41 victims of H5N1. Van followed World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and gave her patients Tamiflu, but concluded it had no effect. "We place no importance on using this drug on our patients," she said. "Tamiflu is really only meant for treating ordinary type A flu. It was not designed to combat H5N1 . . . (Tamiflu) is useless." Roche, the company that makes Tamiflu, has sold stockpiles of the drug to 40 countries and insists there is clear evidence it will protect against a future flu virus. However, it stresses the drug must be given within 48 hours to be effective. The WHO admitted Tamiflu had not been widely successful in humans. "However, we believe in many Asian countries it hasn't been used until late in the illness," a spokesman said.
for New Flu: Looking for Bugs in All the Wrong Places
November 8, 2005, New York Times
their heads over the weird genetic sequence of the 1918 flu virus. Dr. Jeffery
Taubenberger, a molecular pathologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Technology
[said that] the 1918 virus appears to be a bird flu virus. But if it is from
a bird, it is not a bird anyone has studied before. It is not like the A(H5N1)
strain of bird flus in Asia, which has sickened at least 116 people, and killed
60. It is not like the influenza viruses that infect fowl in North America.
Yet many researchers believe that the 1918 virus, which caused the worst infectious
disease epidemic in human history, is a bird flu virus. And if so, it is the
only one that has ever been known to cause a human pandemic. That, Dr. Taubenberger
said, gives rise to a question. Are scientists looking for the next pandemic
flu virus in all the wrong places? ...Birds, Dr. Slemons said, do not have much
of an immune response to influenza, and so there is no particular pressure for
the virus to mutate. He said birds are chronically infected with lots of
flu viruses at once, and all the viruses coexist peacefully. Some experts
like Dr. Peter Palese of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York say
the A(H5N1) flu viruses are a false alarm. He notes that studies of serum
collected in 1992 from people in rural China indicated that millions of people
there had antibodies to the A(H5N1) strain. That means they had been infected
with an H5N1 bird virus and recovered. Despite that, and the fact that those
viruses have been circulating in China more than a dozen years, almost no human-to-human
spread has occurred. "The virus has been around for more than a dozen years,
but it hasn't jumped into the human population," Dr. Palese said. "I
don't think it has the capability of doing it."
dismiss scare over bird flu
November 1, 2005, Gainesville Sun
has been an extension veterinarian at the University of Florida's College of
Veterinary Medicine since 1988. He was trained as a veterinarian specializing
in avian diseases, and has a Ph.D. in poultry virology. Butcher begins his presentation
with a slide that shows a "news flash" from the British press agency
Reuters reporting that avian flu "poses the single biggest threat to the
world right now." So far, however...no one has yet been proven to have
given avian influenza to someone else. "The emphasis of all my work
has changed to dealing with this madness," Butcher said Friday. "Realistically,
avian influenza is not a threat to people, but everywhere you go, it has
turned into a circus." Millions of chickens and waterfowl have been slaughtered
in Asia...but Butcher said that of the billions of people who have probably
been exposed, only about 120 have been reported to have fallen ill with avian
flu. They were people who worked closely with chickens and came into contact
with the birds' blood and feces. Not all health officials are sounding
a warning about avian influenza, either. Dr. Marc Siegel, a practicing internist
and associate professor of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine...isn't
buying into the scare scenario. "If anything is contagious right now, it's
judgment clouded by fear," Siegel said. [Butcher] said that although there
is a potential that the virus could mutate, as it exists, it could not become
an important disease in humans. "For it to become dangerous to humans,
it has to go through a pretty significant genetic change. If you put this in
perspective, it's not going to happen.
When major corruption threatens to be exposed, those threatened know that by
creating massive fear (such as a global pandemic), they can divert attention
and keep money flowing into corrupt coffers. For more on this: www.WantToKnow.info/truthaboutdrugcompanies
growing stake in Tamiflu
October 31, 2005, CNN
of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it's proving
to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically
connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that
owns the rights to Tamiflu. Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)'s chairman
from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds
a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million. In the past
six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent
Gilead's stock from $35 to $47. That's made the Pentagon chief, already one
of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer. Rumsfeld
isn't the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu. Former
Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead's board, has sold more than
$7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.
Gets Contract for Bird Flu Vaccine
October 27, 2005, ABC/Associated Press
A second manufacturer
is beginning mass production of a vaccine to protect against bird flu, and the
Senate moved Thursday to invest far more—$8 billion—on preparations
in case the influenza strain ever sparks a worldwide epidemic. Before the Senate
acted, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt awarded a $62.5 million
contract to Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron Corp. to manufacture bird flu vaccine.
Sanofi-Aventis of Paris began manufacturing $100 million worth of a similar
vaccine last month. The Bush administration is putting the final touches on
its plan for how to fight the next super-flu...amid growing concern that the
H5N1 influenza strain spreading among birds from Asia to Europe could trigger
a pandemic if it mutates into a form easily spread from person to person.
The massive out-of-budget expenditure...would increase stockpiles of the antiviral
drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, thought to be effective against current strains of
bird flu. "The money that we spend now will not be wasted even if this
particular strain of the virus, H5N1, ends up not becoming a pandemic flu,"
said Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. "We know that over the next two, three decades
there will be a pandemic flu. That's almost certain."
Isn't is interesting that over $60 million dollars (potentially $8 billion!)
has been "awarded" for a vaccine against a bird flu that hasn't even
mutated yet? How are these people so certain that it will mutate and kill millions
of people? How do we know these vaccines will work when it hasn't even mutated?
Note also that the pharmaceutical industry, which manufactures vaccines, has
the largest lobby in all Washington and is raking in huge profits. For lots
more on this, don't miss the vital information in our Health
Security to be lead in flu crisis
October 11, 2005, MSNBC
If the nightmare
of an avian flu pandemic emerges from the dark chapters of doomsday scenarios,
it will fall to the Department of the Homeland Security, not the medical establishment,
to manage the crisis, according to federal documents and interviews with government
officials. Under the National Response Plan, which also plans for actions in
case of pandemics, DHS assumes top authority when an "incident of national significance"
is declared. The first such "incident of national significance" was declared
in August after Hurricane Katrina hit; however, federal coordination among agencies
and state and local governments broke down on so many levels that even President
Bush was forced to acknowledge that the plan was flawed. Federal officials have
been role playing different flu outbreak scenarios for the past several months.
Last year's plan called for closing of schools, restricting travel and...lock-down
quarantine measures. Those extreme measures jumped into the spotlight...when
President Bush suggested that federal military troops — not just the National
Guard — may have to be called in to enforce a quarantine.
Isn't it interesting how the government seems to be predicting that the avian
flu, which has killed less
than 100 people worldwide, is going to mutate and cause massive deaths?
How do they know this? Could this be another way of pushing us into fear and
giving up our civil liberties?
Military's Role in a Flu Pandemic
October 5, 2005, Washington Post
President Bush said yesterday that he would consider using the military to "effect a quarantine" in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza in the United States. Bush also suggested that putting National Guard troops under federal, rather than state, control might be one part of a response to the "catastrophe" of an avian influenza outbreak. The president raised the same idea after Hurricane Katrina, suggesting that he is considering a greater role for the military in natural disasters. Most public health experts believe it is impossible to entirely isolate neighborhoods, towns, cities or regions during an outbreak of disease. Instead, quarantines today generally refer to a variety of strategies for identifying and limiting the movement of people who are infected with a contagious pathogen or are at high risk. That might include screening travelers for fever and flu symptoms; prohibiting large gatherings of people, including at some workplaces; and requiring that people exposed to infected individuals stay at home until the incubation period for the illness has passed. China took these measures during the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome in 2003.
wants right to use military if bird flu hits
October 4, 2005, ABC/Reuters
W. Bush asked Congress on Tuesday to consider giving him powers to use the military
to enforce quarantines in case of an avian influenza epidemic. "If we
had an outbreak somewhere in the United States, do we not then quarantine that
part of the country? And how do you, then, enforce a quarantine?" Bush
asked at a news conference. The active duty military is currently forbidden
from undertaking law enforcement duties by the federal Posse Comitatus Act.
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