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Author Topic: Bird flu
lynnejanet
Happy Holly Days


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I got this in my inbox today. I don't remember seeing it here, and a search of the boards came up blank.

Is there any truth to it, or is it typical anti-Bush conspiracy theory gobbledegook?

quote:
"Bird Flu"

Do you know that 'bird flu' was discovered in Vietnam 9 years ago?

Do you know that barely 100 people have died in the whole world in all that time?

Do you know that it was the Americans who alerted us to the efficacy of the human antiviral TAMIFLU as a preventative.

Do you know that TAMIFLU barely alleviates some symptoms of the common flu?

Do you know that its efficacy against the common flu is questioned by a great part of the scientific community?

Do you know that against a SUPPOSED mutant virus such as H5N1,TAMIFLU barely alleviates the illness?

Do you know that to date Avian Flu affects birds only?

Do you know who markets TAMIFLU?
ROCHE LABORATORIES.

Do you know who bought the patent for TAMIFLU from ROCHE LABORATORIES in 1996?
GILEAD SCIENCES INC.

Do you know who was the then president of GILEAD SCIENCES INC. and remains a major shareholder?
DONALD RUMSFELD, the present Secretary of Defence of the USA.

Do you know that the base of TAMIFLU is crushed aniseed?

Do you know who controls 90% of the world's production of this tree?
ROCHE.

Do you know that sales of TAMIFLU were over $254 million in 2004 and more than $1000 million in 2005?

Do you know how many more millions ROCHE can earn in the coming months if the business of fear continues?

So the summary of the story is as follows:

Bush's friends decide that the medicine TAMIFLU is the solution for a pandemic that has not yet occurred and that has caused a hundred deaths worldwide in 9 years.

This medicine doesn't so much as cure the common flu.

In normal conditions the virus does not affect humans.

Rumsfeld sells the patent for TAMIFLU to ROCHE for which they pay him a fortune. Roche acquires 90% of the global production of crushed aniseed, the base for the antivirus.

The governments of the entire world threaten a pandemic and then buy industrial quantities of the product from Roche.

So we end up paying for medicine while Rumsfeld, Cheney and Bush rake in the cash.

ARE WE CRAZY!!? OR ARE WE IDIOTS!!?

AT LEAST PASS THIS ON SO THAT IT CAN BE KNOWN!!!!!!!



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lynne"insert appropriate punny phrase here"janet

Posts: 1460 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
geminilee
The First USA Noel


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Well, at least parts of it are true. Very few people (I have heard the 100 figure before, I think we are slightly past that now) have died from this avian flu. The virus is only transmittable to people via direct contact with infected birds. I do not know about the conspiracy stuff. I tend to disbelieve stuff like that, on general principles. I do not doubt that someone somewhere will make quite a bit of money off Tamiflu, but I am not sure that the benefits of it are as doubtful as claimed.

However, while we are on this topic, I do think the general fear of this illness is overrated. Yes, the last bird flu, which occurred before the advent of modern medical techniques, killed a lot of people. Does this mean that the next bird flu will kill as many? Of course not, we understand how to stop people dying of the flu now. When the last bird flu pandemic occured, death from flu of any sort was not uncommon.
After all, bubonic plague killed off half of Europe, but we do not start a panic at the ten or so cases contracted in the United States yearly, do we?

Just to add, I do not mean to say that no one will die, there is absolutely no danger, or anything of that nature. I just think that focusing this much fear on this flu is counterproductive, especially if it takes attention away from other zoonotic diseases that are just as likely to mutate to a form capable of causing a pandemic.

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"Accompanied by the ghosts of dolphins, the ghost of a ship sailed on..." Terry Pratchett

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Jade
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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The government and the media are making this "bird flu" sound a lot more dangerous than it really is. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if this were true.
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pilchik
Deck the Malls


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Effectiveness of tamiflu?

quote:
Clinical trials for Tamiflu (oseltamivir) enrolled 1358 patients with suspected influenza, with 849 having a virally confirmed diagnosis. The two trials (WV15671 and WV15670) each demonstrated a 1.3 day reduction in median time until improvement in symptoms. Symptom improvement was defined as the time when 7 major symptoms were either absent or mild. Unlike Relenza, Tamiflu appears have a consistent demonstration of effect in reducing duration of symptoms. Like Relenza, however, the effect is modest at best. A five-day regimen of Tamiflu costs $53.00 at Average Wholesale Price (AWP). There are a couple of important provisos, however. Tamiflu demonstrated a reduction in duration of symptoms in otherwise healthy adults. There are insufficient data at present concerning the efficacy of Tamiflu in high-risk patient populations. It should also be noted that experience with Tamiflu in influenza B is limited, with only 3% of the patients enrolled in the clinical trials having documented influenza B infection. According to the CDC, the majority of isolates in this year’s influenza season to date are influenza A.
According to Source watch

quote:
"Rummy was Chair of the Board of Directors at Gilead Sciences until named to the Bush cabinet and, like [Vice President Dick] Cheney, still has ties that bind to the 'old company.' Now isn't it an 'amazing coincidence' that the drug Tamiflu (http://www.gilead.com/wt/sec/tamiflu) patented by Gilead Sciences is being pushed by the National Institutes of Allergies and Infectious Diseases as the NUMBER ONE choice for flu, which, wonder of wonders, is sweeping through in one epidemic after another," Free Market News related (http://www.freemarketnews.com/Feedback.asp?nid=578) October 21, 2005, from a January 2004 web posting.

As of September 22, 2004, Rumsfeld held a "stake in Gilead Sciences Inc. worth $5 million to $25 million." [4] (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2004/09/22/rumsfeld_sold_stakes_in_pentagon_contractors?mode=PF)

I am sure that some of this information, combined with a ready supply of tin foil hats, will provide lots of opportunity for the panic mongers to do their work. [Big Grin]

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"20 years of boredom"

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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Lynnejanet, this is a subject I am interested/concerned about and started doing a bit of research on, so maybe I can clarify some stuff.

I don't know about all the financial/political stuff in the second half of the e-mail. However, citing as my sources the book "The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History" by John M. Barry, and a bit of net surfing including at the World Health Organization site, here is info on the following:

quote:
Do you know that 'bird flu' was discovered in Vietnam 9 years ago?
There are actually many forms of "bird flu". The one everyone is worried about right now, H5N1, was seen in birds in Asia in 1997. The first human cases were 18 people in Hong Kong that year, 6 of whom died.

quote:
Do you know that barely 100 people have died in the whole world in all that time?
Cumulative human deaths are currently about 110, with the most recent deaths appearing in Egypt in April.

quote:
Do you know that it was the Americans who alerted us to the efficacy of the human antiviral TAMIFLU as a preventative.
It is not generally used as a preventative, only to alleviate severity and duration caused by seasonal influenza. H5N1 is expected to be susceptible to neruamindiase inhibitors like Tamiflu but could develop resistance; Tamilflu and its like have not yet been well-tested with H5N1, and it may not work - some early studies show this, but that is not definitive. While Tamiflu can potentially be used as a preventative, the practicality of this is almost nil for most of us, given the time it takes to produce and the expense.

quote:
Do you know that TAMIFLU barely alleviates some symptoms of the common flu?
Depends on your individual reaction to it; it isn't really made to alleviate symptoms, just keep the flu from escalating by stopping replication of the virus. Eventually (a few days, at least) you do feel better- but rarely right away.


quote:
Do you know that its efficacy against the common flu is questioned by a great part of the scientific community?
I find absolutely no evidence of this anywhere. It doesn't work for some people as well as others, and it has to be taken within 48 hours of exposure; as stated above, there is concern it may not work against H5N1, but no surety either way. But as far as "a great part of the scientific community" questioning Tamiflu's efficacy, no.

quote:
Do you know that against a SUPPOSED mutant virus such as H5N1,TAMIFLU barely alleviates the illness?
Any animal flu that "jumps" to humans is a mutation, technically. Tamiflu might or might not work agains H5N1, we don't know.

quote:
Do you know that to date Avian Flu affects birds only?
Ummm, as opposed to what? You already said it's killed humans. duh.


Other things:
quote:
Do you know that the base of TAMIFLU is crushed aniseed?
Anise is the source of shikimic acid, which is what Tamiflu is made from.

Tamiflu was discovered by Gilead and is marketed by Hoffman -LaRoche - from the Tamiflu website:
quote:
Tamiflu® (oseltamivir phosphate) is a neuraminidase inhibitor for the treatment and prevention of all common strains of influenza (types A and B). Discovered by Gilead and brought to market by F. Hoffmann-La Roche, our worldwide development and marketing partner, Tamiflu is the first and only approved neuraminidase inhibitor available in convenient pill and liquid suspension form.
It does appear that Rummy was Gilead's chairman of research from 1997 until 2001 when he became Sec. Of Defense for Bush. He also is a stockholder in a big way. But he and W. didn't make H5N1 up to make money, either.

There is another drug in the same family, called Relenza - it is inhaled which makes it a bit more difficult to administer, but works the same way.

Everything I've read so far says that even if H5N1 doesn't spread significantly to humans, another flu pandemic is likely - there have been 3 in the last century, and it is unlikely that there won't be another, that's the way flu works. And no, no one is prepared. Tamiflu isn't a cure-all, just a line of defense Full on panic (which is being stirred up in some circles) won't solve anything, and neither will NFBSK e-mails like this that are saying it's all a crock cooked up by W. et al ('tho I wouldn't put it past them to try, imo).

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"What is sin? I think sin is failure to grow."
-Lauren Slater, "Prozac Diary"

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Kindly Wise
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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In 1975 there was an outbreak of influenza we called "Victoria" flu, I imagine because it hit in Australia first. Absenteeism from actual disease and staying home to care for the sick was around 40%. Industrial production suffered and the stock market went soft for a couple of weeks.

The following year the US military vaccinated extensively with A-Victoria strain from the 1975 outbreak, which gave rise to the "swine flu scandal" with Guillaume-Barre syndrome and whatnot.
After the lawsuits and fuss from THAT, governments were a lot more willing to have influenza run its course.

My theory on bird flu is that industry is more concerned about absenteeism than actual mortality.

See, if you're SICK you can still collect on benefits, but if the flu KILLS you, the headcount is reduced and improves the bottom line. [Eek!]

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Beati caseusarii

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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I don't think the government or the media is hyping this issue. There's a real possibility of an epidemic, a possibility which becomes a probability over decades, especially if you include other forms of flu besides avian.

The efficacy of Tamiflu has been both exaggerated and downplayed. The problem is, everyone wants to know "What should we do?" and the government has been slow to get virus production and manufacturing up to the point where there will be a fighting chance when an epidemic occurs. So ordinary people want to know "What can we do?" and the answer is "not much" but Tamiflu makes that answer a little easier. The problaem has to be tackled by the agencies and organizations who can stockpile anti-virals such as Tamiflu as well as produce and distribute vaccines, not by individuals.

Anyway, this e-mail just makes things worse by making it sound as if there's a conspiracy when actually there's just run-of-the-mill beaurocracy and budgets, trying to shoehorn a program that is basically a socialist one into a system that's been stripped down to run by the free market. The government has been dragging its feet so I guess the best thing you can do if you care is stop worrying about who gets money from Tamiflu and ask your elected representative to support decentralized and rapid vaccine manufacturing. Also, wash your hands and gargle. That helps.

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csel's in 2nd Grade
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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Kindly Wise, in reading some of "The Great Influenza" (I'm not very far in, yet, but have read the afterword that talks about current flu issues), the economic impact of a lot of people being out with the flu could be devastating, even with just a mild pandemic. Though, again, it seems unlikely that H5N1 will be the next pandemic virus. So even though businesses may be concerned more with absenteeism, it is a real concern whether folks die or not.

Watching the evening news the other night, with a report on bird flu, they actually recommended stocking up on food and toiletries so that if there is a quarrantine you have enough to get through. And so it begins.....

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"What is sin? I think sin is failure to grow."
-Lauren Slater, "Prozac Diary"

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Pseudo_Croat
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Originally posted by csel's cshells:
Watching the evening news the other night, with a report on bird flu, they actually recommended stocking up on food and toiletries so that if there is a quarrantine you have enough to get through. And so it begins.....

How many days' worth of stuff did the news say to stock up? I'd like to start preparing now, so....

- Pseudo (and if this doesn't pan out, I'd consider it hurricane supplies) Croat

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"At all events, people who deny the influence of smaller nations should remember that the Croats have the rest of us by the throats." - Norman Davies, Europe: A History

God wants spiritual fruits, not religious nuts.

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
Once in Royal Circuit City


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quote:
Originally posted by csel's cshells:
bWatching the evening news the other night, with a report on bird flu, they actually recommended stocking up on food and toiletries so that if there is a quarrantine you have enough to get through. And so it begins.....

Methinks it's probably a good idea to have a stash of emergency supplies on hand anyway, just for a generic emergency. Could be an epidemic, could be a terrorist attack, could be another bloody blackout. Could be just finding oneself unexpectedly broke. It never hurts to have extra food, water, and other necessities on hand.

Nonny

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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the Virgin Marrya
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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Months ago, now, we had the government sponsored mail drop advising how to prepare for a flu pandemic, complete with the little fridgemagnet thingy.
There would probably be an ad "for" bird flu [sometimes indirectly referred to as "an influenza pandemic] at least once in every evening's viewing.

They recommend at least 2 weeks worth of pantry supplies, in case the whole household is too sick / contaigous to shop, plus keeping all prescription meds better than up to date, in case you can't even convince someone to deliver them to your mailbox [Roll Eyes]

It was scary for about two days. Now it's all just
so neh.

And if I have to watch another edutorial of a sweating bloke fake-blow his nose into a kleenex, and place the tissue directly into a plastic lined rubbish bin...well, I can think of another use for that plastic lined bin. sigh.

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Windows cannot open this file. To open this file correctly, defenestrate, then try running the file again...

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erwins
Deck the Malls


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quote:
Originally posted by geminilee:
we understand how to stop people dying of the flu now. When the last bird flu pandemic occured, death from flu of any sort was not uncommon.
After all, bubonic plague killed off half of Europe, but we do not start a panic at the ten or so cases contracted in the United States yearly, do we?

Just to add, I do not mean to say that no one will die, there is absolutely no danger, or anything of that nature. I just think that focusing this much fear on this flu is counterproductive, especially if it takes attention away from other zoonotic diseases that are just as likely to mutate to a form capable of causing a pandemic.

There's a huge difference between bubonic plague and influenza though. The biggest part of that difference is antibiotics. Bubonic plague, caused by a bacterium, (which is also not communicable directly among humans -- it has to turn into pneumonic plague for that to happen) responds readily to modern antibiotics, and can be prevented from spreading with prophylactic doses.

Influenza, on the other hand, is caused by a virus, for which we don't have very effective drugs. Modern medicine has addressed viruses primarily through vaccines, but that is not always an option. Influenza is one of the tricky things to vaccinate for -- it is difficult to predict which strain will predominate, and if the mutation is too far from the vaccine strain, it is ineffective. And it takes time to manufacture vaccine once the correct one is developed.

While it is true that medicine has progressed immensely since the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, it is worth noting that some people sickened and died in that pandemic in a matter of hours, some dying in a very painful and violent fashion. That flu killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide. And most alarmingly, influenza normally claims its victims from the vulnerable populations of the very young, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, but the Spanish Flu was most deadly for those between 20 and 40.

I'm not saying the H5N1 is the next Spanish Flu, but I am saying that there will be another, and we are definitely not prepared for this kind of viral pandemic.

[Geminilee, I hope you don't mind my taking your post as a jumping off point -- I included your caveat because I want to be clear that I'm not attacking your post.]

erwins

Posts: 238 | From: Portland, Oregon | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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