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View Diary: Bird Flu: What We Don't Know (109 comments)

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  •  Wouldnt want to disappoint, DemFromCT (none)
    Let's look at the FACTS (that you dont like):

    Deaths this year WORLDWIDE from "Bird Flu" = 97  Source: You

    Average number of deaths per year in the US from the regular flu = 36000  Source: CDC

    What is a "confirmed cases of suspected person-to-person transmission" anyway ?  This statement would not withstand scientific scrutiny

    Last year it was SARS...  This whole "pandemic" is a classic media feeding frenzy in order to sell us more fear.

    There are MILLIONS of viruses (source: this months Discover magazine(note: as per your last comment I do plenty of reading and thinking))  any one of which could mutate at any moment for any reason so the danger is immense.  Yes indeed we need to be vigilant and have the necessary organizations in place to track diseases.  But we dont need to be intentionally hyping a low low grade threat for the purpose of selling newspapers and Tamiflu because THATS WHAT REPUBLICANS DO.

    Have a nice day DemFromCT.

    •  You too!! (none)
      You picked out a good one. This is pretty funny...

      "confirmed cases of suspected person-to-person transmission"

      and it's WHO's way of building a sentence - by committee.

      But your weekly comment otherwise (THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS DO) is as silly as usual. Europe is losing billions and has learned to take this seriously. You're like the Iraq supporter who, even in the face of a disaster, can't admit they were wrong, no matter what the evidence.

      See you next week. Try to come up with something new. ;-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:05:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Losing billions of what ? (none)
        If you'll read all of my posts you will find that I advocate taking Bird Flu and all diseases seriously.

        My point is that Bird Flu is the yearly "token" disease being hyped for the purpose of making money and inducing fear.  I wish they would save the bandwidth for health threats that really matter...  like cancer or car accidents

        BTW, I know first hand about the dangers of the flu.  During a trip to Baltimore (f***in yankees) last March I got the regular flu so bad that I have a chronic loss of equilibrium called "labyrinthitis" and I assure you it sucks...

        So again, I know the stakes !!  When it does turn into a disaster I will admit Im wrong.  In the meantime when H7N7 mutates instead while you were looking the wrong way, then you can admit fault.

        •  how so?? (none)
          I'm advocating preparedness, not just concentrating on H5N1.

          Just stop to think how silly you sound. This is an international problem and you go on about REPUBLICANS. Europe and the world could care less about what Republicans want.

          You just like to argue.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:31:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So if (none)
            you are advocating preparedness then your diary should be titled "Viruses: What We Don't Know"  instead of "Bird Flu: What We Don't Know".  Then I would have an easier time with what you are doing.

            My only point about REPUBLICANS is they deliberately cultivate fear for the purposes of profiteering and control.  And you have bought into it. There are "republicans" internationally as well... perhaps you would be happier if I referred to them more generically as "ASSHOLES" ?

            "You just like to argue":  Isnt that what we are supposed to do here ?  Is it not OK to argue with you because you are a FP'er ? Believe me I dont want this Turd Flu either, but I dont want research for the 50,000 other diseases I could get to be underfunded because of a bunch of fearmongering hype.

            •  oh, you're allowed to argue (none)
              It's a free country and all. Knock yourself out, and I'm glad you have a hobby. It's not particulary compelling argument, though.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 01:33:04 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  cancer and car accidents (none)
          aren't transmissable, neither are they currently lethal at the same rate as bird flu infections in humans.  

          yearly "token" disease, my ass.

          weather forecast

          The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

          by Cedwyn on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:42:55 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cancer (none)
            and car accidents kill tens if not hundreds of thousands if not millions per year.

            Where's the outcry ?  Where's the headlines ?  Why is it news that someone found a fucking chicken dead in Hungary ?

            Every year (EVERY YEAR) some new "darling" disease is in the headlines whether it be "Turd Flu", SARS, Ebola, AIDS, E. Coli and it goes on and on

            There are a million ways to die.  "Bird flu is just another one...

            BTW, if you will kindly check "your ass", ou may find a vast quantity of e. coli waiting to kill you in there...

            •  everybody has e. coli (none)
              and that's the point - cancer and car accidents just happen.  they're here, like e. coli, and that's that.  neither of those things has the potential to become a pandemic, as bird flu does.

              they are not even remotely comparable.  think of how easily a cold is transmitted through a population - * that * is why bird flu, sars, etc. are so worrisome.

              weather forecast

              The palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. - Paine

              by Cedwyn on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 01:43:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  btw, as you stick your head in the sand (none)
      other people plan.

      No one knows whether an avian flu virus that is racing around the world might mutate into a strain that could cause a human pandemic, or whether such a pandemic would cause widespread illness in the United States. But if it did, public health experts and officials agree on one thing: the nation's hospitals would not have enough ventilators, the machines that pump oxygen into sick patients' lungs.

      Right now, there are 105,000 ventilators, and even during a regular flu season, about 100,000 are in use. In a worst-case human pandemic, according to the national preparedness plan issued by President Bush in November, the country would need as many as 742,500.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:06:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In general (none)
      I agree with this. The only things that worry me more about bird flu are purely selfish reasons.
      1. I'm traveling to Germany and Sweden on vacation starting Monday.
      2. People my age are susceptible to bird flu. Those 36,000 (I'm using your stat because I don't know myself) who die from flu every year are primarily old people. While I hanrangue my grandmother into getting a flu shot every year, I don't worry about it for myself. This time, I worry a little.

      "Illum ipsum consulatum suum non sine causa sed sine fine laudabat." -Seneca the Younger

      by BennyAbelard on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:07:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Tamiflu Sales (none)
      This flu could be dangerous if it did cross and if it became capable of human to human transmission and if it was a stable enough mutation to last.

      Meanwhile, it means millions of dollars in Tamiflu sales, which has generally been proven ineffective in treating bird flu.

      •  not so (none)
        Tamiflu remains the drug of choice, though hardly perfect. There are survivors, and especially in Turkey, that's partially attributed to early tamiflu use.

        In any case, tamiflu is a small part of the strategy to contain, control and survive.

        But all the "ifs" have neither come true nor gone away. We are no less at risk after months of watching the virus spread all over the world. We are not guaranteed that this virus will be a pandemic virus, or that it won't be.

        Prudent planners will therefore keep making preparations. Sonner or later, this virus or another, a pandemic is inevitable.

        If we u7se the time for better vaccines, more production, more research, better surveillance,, etc, it's time and money well spent.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 10:47:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lets spend the money a bit better (none)
          If we u7se the time for better vaccines, more production, more research, better surveillance,, etc,

          I've read several reports that Tamiflu has limited to no value in treating bird flu. Yet we're buying 12.4 million courses.

          I think the money could be better spent on improving vaccine production, support equipment, and early detection and isolation.

          Of course, the fact the Donald is making a bundle off of Tamiflu has me a bit paranoid, as well as the fact that this administration loves to use fear to shepard its flock.

          •  as to that (none)
            I think the money could be better spent on improving vaccine production, support equipment, and early detection and isolation.

            So do I. But "not first line" doesn't translate as "useless". Slowing down spread in an early pandemic is exactly what tamiflu would be best at.

            Rummy's big bucks are old news. get used ti it: old, white male R's have money. And the link you gave is to this year's seasonal flu, an H3N2 that has nothing to do with tamiflu's use with H5N1.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sat Mar 11, 2006 at 05:55:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Only because (none)
              I couldn't find the link to the report by field workers that Tamiflu was useless in cases they'd tried it in. Vietnam or somewhere around there. Though I'm sure I read it.

              So show me any links that actually verify the efficacy of tamiflu in current bird flu cases. So far I haven't seen any evidence that it helps in actual field use.

              And just because it's old news doesn't mean it's not relevant. From where I'm sitting there's some reason that the US is purchasing millions of doses of tamiflu for a pandemic that may or may not be on its way for a strain of fly in which it may or may not be useful, and the reasons aren't very strong.

              I suppose you think Cheney and the no-bid contracts at Halliburton are unrelated too. Cheney is just a very rich Republican so I should get used to it.

              •  non sequitor that has nothing to do with flu (none)
                but since you brought it up, there's nothing you can do about Cheney's money (or Rumsfeld's) except whine about it. You don't have to like it, but it's a completely irrelevant topic.

                The tamiflu literature is extensive in animals, scant in humans (too few cases). The best review on the topic is by Anne Moscona in the New England Journal of Medicine, but the relevant paper is Monto and Webster (discussed here by anon_22 at Flu wiki:

                Virulence May Determine the Necessary Duration and Dosage of Oseltamivir Treatment for Highly Pathogenic A/Vietnam/1203/04 Influenza Virus in Mice Author(s) Hui-Ling Yen, Arnold S. Monto, Robert G. Webster, and Elena A. Govorkova Identifiers The Journal of Infectious Diseases, volume 192 (2005), pages 665-672

                <snip>

                Oseltamivir produced a dose-dependent antiviral effect against VN1203/04 in vivo (P<.01). The 5-day regimen at 10 mg/kg/day protected 50% of mice; deaths in this treatment group were delayed and indicated the replication of residual virus after the completion of treatment. Eight-day regimens improved oseltamivir efficacy, and dosages of 1 and 10 mg/kg/day significantly reduced virus titers in organs and provided 60% and 80% survival rates, respectively (P<.05). Overall, the efficacy of the 5- and 8-day regimens differed significantly (death hazard ratio, 2.658; P<.01). The new H5N1 antigenic variant VN1203/04 was more pathogenic in mice than was A/HK/156/97 virus, and a prolonged and higher-dose oseltamivir regimen may be required for the most beneficial antiviral effect.

                Conclusions. Oseltamivir prophylaxis is efficacious against lethal challenge with VN1203/04 virus in mice. Viral virulence may affect the antiviral treatment schedule.

                That is from the abstract. The full article also indicated that it is difficult to extrapolate to humans but 10mg/kg/d is equivalent to 75mg twice daily human dose (i.e. current standard dose) but further studies are needed. This is only a first study which sets some parameters for later more detailed analysis and using other animals.

                The one thing that convinces me that tamiflu works is this: On a 5 day regimen (and this is only on a standard dose) there was significant inhibition of virus in the lungs on day 3 and 6 but not day 9. Also, those receiving the lower dose had virus in the brain, but not those on 10mg/kg/d.

                So the broad result is that tamiflu does work. Now we just need more studies to determine how well. It is a race against time, IMO.

                It is the reference you were referring to.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 12, 2006 at 04:43:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Thanks for the references (none)
                  The comments I'd heard were just the opposite from field observations, but I'll be darn if I can find them now. I'll go through this later.

                  Still, not a very strong statement of support for something that the US and other countries are investing $100's of millions in.

                  So maybe theyr'e grasping at straws and stockpiling in the hope that Tamiflu will make a difference until a vaccine can be developed that works.

                  Or maybe it's not a non sequitur and the only reason that stockpiling has been given the go ahead is that some of the right people would profit from it and they can always just use the excuse that they were preplanning for a pandemic.

                  Certainly from Frist's work to sneak liability releases into bills and Medicare's refusal to negotiate prescription prices we know the pharmas enjoy a plethora of special favors. Whether it would profit Donald personally or just people that he knows.

                  I think it was Keith Olbermann that brought the virologist in that says this whole thing is much ado about nothing.

                  •  stockpiling (0+ / 0-)

                    So maybe theyr'e grasping at straws and stockpiling in the hope that Tamiflu will make a difference until a vaccine can be developed that works.

                    That's exactly what it it. Europeans and Australians have done far more extensive stockpiling than the US, and they could care less about Rummy.

                    Look at europe now. They're losing billions in poultry dollars even without human-to human spread. And as far as experts go, take your pick. My favorite is Robert Webster, who discovered that all flus are aquatic bird flus. See also here.

                    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                    by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 13, 2006 at 04:10:22 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

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