Avian and Swine Flu News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on avian and swine flu
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."
Note: If the above link fails, click here. 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 Information Center.
Drug company GlaxoSmithKline has told Canadian doctors to stop using one lot of its H1N1 vaccine until an investigation into a higher-than-expected number of severe allergic reactions is completed. The U.S. vaccine will not be identical to Arepanrix, the GSK H1N1 vaccine used in Canada. Arepanrix contains an adjuvant, a substance designed to boost the immune response, but adjuvants have never been approved for use in U.S. flu vaccines. Almost all of the 172,000 doses in question, distributed the week of Nov. 2 to six Canadian provinces, already have been administered, said Geoffrey Matthews, a spokeswoman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, which, with GSK and Health Canada, is investigating cases of anaphylaxis. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include trouble breathing, chest tightness and swelling of the mouth and throat. Six cases have been reported, Matthews says. In the USA, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System said that as of Nov. 13 it had received 116 reports of serious health events related to the vaccine, including eight deaths – similar to the number in previous years after a similar number of seasonal flu vaccine doses had been shipped.
Note: For lots more on the risks of swine flu vaccines, click here.
Pharmaceutical companies will be able to produce about 3 billion doses of swine flu vaccine a year ... the World Health Organization said. The U.N. agency had previously predicted that companies would be able to make up to 5 billion doses each year. The World Health Organization admits that not everyone may need vaccination. "Most people will do well without the vaccine," WHO vaccine chief Marie-Paule Kieny told reporters. She said most people infected with the pandemic strain of the H1N1 virus have a mild illness and recover by themselves. Addressing concerns about the safety of the pandemic vaccine, WHO said trials to date suggest it is as safe as a regular seasonal flu shot. Kieny said large-scale vaccination programs would probably detect some cases of severe reaction following the vaccination, but that those would likely have occurred anyway without vaccination. The agency is urging countries to monitor the vaccination procedure for possible further side effects. Meanwhile WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan repeated Thursday her recommendation that governments keep up their guard against swine flu but refrain from closing borders or restricting trade.
Note: With the cost of a regular flu vaccine dose ranging from about $20 to $30, do you think the pharmaceutical companies have any vested interest in the public being vaccinated? Let's see, 3 billion X $20 = $60 billion. Hmm. For more on the danger of this vaccine and rampant fear mongering, click here and here.
Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled ... the federal government advised today in issuing new pandemic flu guidelines to states and cities. Health officials acknowledged that such measures would hugely disrupt public life, but they argued that these measure would buy the time needed to produce vaccines and would save lives. “We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences.” The new guidelines also advocate having sick people and all their families' even apparently healthy members stay home for 7 to 10 days. Any pandemic is expected to move faster than a new vaccine can be produced. Current experimental vaccines against H5N1 avian flu are in short supply and based on strains isolated in 2004 or 2005. Although the government is creating a $4 billion stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, it is only useful when taken within the first 48 hours, and Tamiflu-resistant flu strains have already been found. The historian John Barry, author of “The Great Influenza,” a history of the 1918 flu, questioned an idea underpinning the study’s conclusions. There is evidence, he said, that some cities with low sickness and death rates in 1918 ... were hit by a milder spring wave of the virus. That would have, in effect, inoculated their citizens against the more severe fall wave and might have been more important than their public health measures.
Note: Why is it that government officials seem to want us to be afraid? Could it be that when we live in fear, we are more willing to give up our freedoms and money and allow them to be in control? For more, click here. And why would the government spend billions on stockpiling drugs of questionable use? For an answer, click here.
Although federal health officials decline to use the word â€śpeaked,â€ť the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States. Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in Hawaii, Maine and some isolated areas. The World Health Organization said Friday that there were â€śearly signs of a peakâ€ť in much of the United States. On Wednesday, the American College Health Association, which surveys over 250 colleges with more than three million students, said new cases of flu had dropped in the week ending Nov. 13. It was the first drop since school resumed in the fall, and it was significant – new cases were down 27 percent from the week before. And on Friday, Quest Diagnostics, the country's largest laboratory, said its tests of 142,000 suspected flu specimens since May showed that the flu peaked in late October. Nonetheless, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of immunization and respiratory diseases at the C.D.C., chose her words carefully, saying: â€śI wish I knew if we had hit the peak. Even if a peak has occurred, half the people who are going to get sick haven't gotten sick yet.â€ť The drop was clearly not caused by the swine flu vaccine drive, which has not gone as fast as the authorities had hoped.
Note: Just like the avian flu scare a few years ago, the swine flu hype has turned out to be largely a whimper, yet the pharmaceutical companies are happy, as again they have made billions of dollars from the massive amonts of vaccines and drugs purchased by the government with your tax dollars. For more, click here and here.
Deep inside an 86-page supplement to United States export regulations is a single sentence that bars U.S. exports of vaccines for avian bird flu and dozens of other viruses to five countries designated "state sponsors of terrorism." The reason: Fear that they will be used for biological warfare. Under this little-known policy, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan may not get the vaccines unless they apply for special export licenses, which would be given or refused according to the discretion and timing of the U.S. Three of those nations -- Iran, Cuba and Sudan -- also are subject to a ban on all human pandemic influenza vaccines as part of a general U.S. embargo. The regulations, which cover vaccines for everything from Dengue fever to the Ebola virus, have raised concern within the medical and scientific communities. Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they were not even aware of the policies until contacted by The Associated Press ... and privately expressed alarm. They make "no scientific sense," said Peter Palese, chairman of the microbiology department at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Some experts say the idea of using vaccines for bioweapons is far-fetched.
Three Polish doctors and six nurses are facing criminal prosecution after a number of homeless people died following medical trials for a vaccine to the H5N1 bird-flu virus. The medical staff, from the northern town of Grudziadz, are being investigated over medical trials on as many as 350 homeless and poor people last year, which prosecutors say involved an untried vaccine to the highly-contagious virus. Authorities claim that the alleged victims received Ł1-2 to be tested with what they thought was a conventional flu vaccine but, according to investigators, was actually an anti bird-flu drug. The director of a Grudziadz homeless centre, Mieczyslaw Waclawski, told a Polish newspaper that last year, 21 people from his centre died, a figure well above the average of about eight. Investigators are also probing the possibility that the medical staff may have also have deceived the pharmaceutical companies that commissioned the trials. The news of the investigation will come as another blow to the reputation of Poland's beleaguered and poverty-stricken national health service. In 2002, a number of ambulance medics were found guilty of killing their patients for commissions from funeral companies.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on the bird flu scare, which resulted in many deaths from vaccines and anti-viral pharmaceutical products, click here.
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.
Note: 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?
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.
President George 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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