Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Bush's avian flu plan

President Bush announced Tuesday that he would ask Congress for $7.1 billion to prepare the nation for the possibility of a worldwide outbreak of deadly flu. Most of the money would be spent on research and a national stockpile of vaccines and antiviral drugs

"Our country has been given fair warning of this danger to our homeland and time to prepare," Mr. Bush said. "It's my responsibility as the president to take measures now to protect the American people."
I'm glad to see the government taking it seriously. I'm also glad to see that Democratic critics of Bush are criticizing him for doing too little:
But in the Senate, where a measure to spend $8 billion on pandemic flu preparations passed on a vote of 94 to 3 last week, Democrats immediately criticized the president's plan Tuesday as inadequate. One of them, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, said Mr. Bush's proposal "needs to be stronger," and called for more spending to ensure that hospitals and other health care facilities have the capacity to handle a flood of patient
Bush is so hated by some, that I've seen suggestions that the avian flu is just a conspiracy to allow him to consolidate power, declare martial law, cancel the 2006 elections, etc. Love him or hate him, the avian flu is real. I've long felt that the biggest danger was inaction when the threat wasn't imminent. I don't know enough to comment on the specifics of Bush's plan, but I think a major effort now to develop a vaccine and stockpile anti-virals (which will mean increasing production capacity for olsetamivir aka Tamiflu) may well make all the difference.

Also, I noted this article in which scientists have made the process of vaccine engineering a bit easier. It doesn't sound like a lot, but what we need know is not huge breakthroughs but an accumulation of small advancements.


At 9:11 PM, Blogger ollie said...

Andy says: Bush is so hated by some, that I've seen suggestions that the avian flu is just a conspiracy to allow him to consolidate power, declare martial law, cancel the 2006 elections, etc."

Come on Andy, you'll see wacko stuff of every kind out there. I know of no reasonably sane person who believes that. (and yes, I know of people who believe that, and yes, we are sometimes stuffing envelopes for the same candidate, but I try not to talk politics with them. :-) )

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Wendy H. said...

Avian flu may be real, but still apparently lacking the mutation that allows it to be passed from person to person, and having only killed 65 people *worldwide* so far, despite all the hysteria, that does not exactly make it a major threat, in my book, let alone anywhere near a "pandemic".

Many thousands of people have also been found to have antibodies to avian flu but have never been sick with it, which indicates the body has natural immunity.

There is also no indication that most people other than those who work closely with a lot of birds on a daily basis can even get it from the birds.

*This* is what they're calling a major threat? Let alone enough to consider forcibly vaccinating everyone in the country? Please. Let's get real.

And if there's no conspiracy, then why is Tamiflu being pushed through the drug approval process completely lacking in all standard studies drugs are typically required to undergo in the US, and proposed legislation afoot that releases everyone in the supply chain from *all* potential liability from any harm it may cause, specifically including death?

And why aren't other countries jumping on the same bandwagon?

Do you not find all of this at least a little bit strange, that the government should be seeking complete immunity for everyone in the supply chain, from the manufacturer down to the doctors who administer the vaccine? This is unprecedented in the history of this country and the FDA. And all for a disease that has only killed 65 people, and there's no sign that it's actually spreading?

Unfortunately, I can't find where I bookmarked all of this, but I've read plenty of reputable scientific opinions on the subject recently, as well as political analyses (and the actual text of the legislation in question), and all of it combines, along with many other things I've read and believe to be true, to indicate a manufactured "epidemic" - and a vaccination that is already *known* to kill and maim in large numbers.

I am not a conspiracy buff of any sort, nor one of the crackpots who are opposed to vaccinations in general, but I know good science when I see it, and what I've read leads me to believe that we should be *very* afraid of this one - the vaccine, that is, and its attendant legislation. This cure is going to be *much* worse than the disease ever would be.

I'd even go so far as to say this whole thing was a tempest in a teapot if the expected effects of Tamiflu were not so god-awful horrendous and widespread.


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