Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Bird Flu : Sen. Frist Calls for New “Manhattan Project”

An Influenza epidemic – spread by wild birds-has been building steadily in Asia ,and is beginning to follow bird migration routes into Russia and the “Stans” .

At the moment, it is “just” an epidemic – but it involves a rapidly evolving Avian Influenza virus , that has succeeded in killing pigs, tigers , and a growing number of humans. There is growing evidence of human-to-human transmission : a factor that can turn a local epidemic into a world-wide pandemic.

Should it succeed in becoming a human pandemic – something it is well on the way towards achieving – the estimated death toll worldwide may be as high as 6 billion people !

The vaccines on hand are in short supply – and capable of bestowing only limited immunity : in no small part because the nation where the outbreak began – China – has been trying to cover it up with vaccination programs that leave their livestock symptom-free … but capable of infecting others.
They have repeatedly sold this diseased stock to other nations – at attractive discount prices.

The World Health Organization – described by some as never short of money , but always a year late with results – has been promoting the large-scale production of a vaccine that is now so out of date as to be worse than useless: those who take it may be capable of passing along an even more virulent form of the disease.

Senator Frist’s call for action has received very little media attention –and-given the extreme partisanship evident in Washington, is apt to gain very little support.

Given our usual history, it seems likely we will wait until the wolf is at the door-and then we will begin the finger-pointing.

Here’s a link to Dr. Henry Niman – one of America’s foremost virologists.
Dr. Niman has been following the gathering storm for a very long time.


( I suggest you browse through Dr. Niman’s site. You will find a fair amount of “technical jargon” to navigate around . It won’t kill you., but the flu brewing in Asia just might. )


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