There is no evidence that the deadly H7N9 bird flu has yet spread between humans in China but health authorities must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time, a top US virologist has warned.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said officials in China had studied more than 1,000 close contacts of confirmed cases and not found any evidence of human-to-human transmission.
“That is powerful evidence because if you had a thousand contacts with someone with the flu you would be pretty sure some of them would have been infected,” Fauci said in an interview with AFP.
Nevertheless, Fauci cautioned that authorities needed to be ready for the possibility of the virus mutating and spreading between humans.
“It’s unpredictable as are all the influenza. One of the things we need to be concerned about is this might gain the capability of going human-to-human which up to this point has not happened and is somewhat encouraging news,” Fauci said.
“But we still need to be very prepared for the eventuality of that happening.”
Researchers are already developing a diagnostic test to identify H7N9, along with a vaccine, with clinical trials due in July or August.
On Vampire Capitalism and the Fear of Inoculation: Why efforts to contain disease are often seen as conspiracies to sell vaccine
“Capital,” Marx wrote, “is dead labor, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” Vampires sucked the blood of the sleeping in Ancient Greece and spread plague in Medieval Europe, but after the industrial revolution, novels began to feature a new kind of monster, the well-dressed gentleman vampire who would become an enduring mascot for capitalism. During his 2012 presidential campaign, venture capitalist Mitt Romney, whose status as living or undead was the subject of some sporting debate, frequently found himself compared to a vampire. After transforming into a “vulture capitalist” in the primaries, he became a full-fledged vampire capitalist in Obama’s campaign ads. “It was like a vampire,” a steelworker said of the company Romney co-founded, Bain Capital, “it came in and sucked the life out of us.”
The thought of an ambitious vampire sucking the life out of honest workers was resonant in a country where the value had so recently been sucked out of nearly every home. We were reminded of the vampirism behind the housing crisis, which was set off by a rash of “predatory” loans to homeowners who lacked the ability to repay them. These loans, bundled and sold to investors, came to be known as “toxic assets” when they lost their value.
The understanding that capital can itself be toxic leads, almost inevitably, to a fear of capitalism polluting every endeavor. At the close of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, when it was clear that the flu had not caused the high mortality rates health officials had initially feared it would, the chair of the health committee for the Council of Europe accused the World Health Organization of colluding with pharmaceutical companies and creating a “false pandemic” to sell vaccines. The WHO met this accusation with equanimity, their spokeswoman saying, “Criticism is part of the outbreak cycle.” The organization then invited twenty-nine independent influenza experts from twenty-six countries to evaluate its actions during the pandemic.
According to the loonies at Natural News, Bill Gates plans on eugenically culling 90% of the world’s population through the use of deadly vaccines and birth control. Sometimes the birth control is a vaccine *shudder*.
It is not clear to me if anyone smart enough to read the article actually believes it, but the site is chock full of more stupidity. Enjoy!
Pertussis (whooping cough) is making a comeback in the United States. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, and a series of DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis) vaccines is used to prevent it. The original vaccine (DTwP) was prepared using whole-cell pertussis. However, complaints of side effects (fever and, rarely, febrile seizures) and unsubstantiated claims of neurological damage led manufacturers to produce an acellular version (DTaP)*. Unfortunately, the DTaP vaccine does not provide as long-lasting immunity as the previous version. Today, society is reaping the consequences of this decision.
In April 2012, Washington State declared a pertussis epidemic. As of June, pertussis incidence was 37.5 cases per 100,000 population in Washington, compared to 4.2 per 100,000 population in the rest of the United States. Though the incidence is higher in Washington, the age-group trends observed within the state match the observations nationwide. (See chart.)
As shown in the figure, the number of cases is highest for infants less than 1 year old (because they have not received the full series of vaccines, yet) and for children aged 10, 13 and 14. Children get a booster shot at ages 11-12, and this is likely responsible for the drop in incidence at that age. However, at ages 13-14, the incidence creeps back up, indicating that immunity is quickly lost. Children older than 16 years likely received the whole-cell DTwP vaccine, which appears to confer greater immunological protection.
Another factor contributing to the pertussis epidemic is the cyclical nature of pertussis outbreaks. Unvaccinated children appear to play only a minor role.
The lesson to be learned: People who engage in unsubstantiated fearmongering about the safety of vaccines endanger our public health system. Quixotic decisions about vaccine manufacturing have real, and sometimes deadly, consequences.
*Kenneth J. Ryan and C. George Ray, editors. Sherris Medical Microbiology, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.) P. 406.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Pertussis Epidemic - Washington, 2012.” MMWR 61 (28): 517-522.
The star of “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” has finally weighed in on the government’s role in vaccinating children. And he’s not happy.
In an interview with a California news station (watch above), comic actor Rob Schneider, whose sitcom “¡Rob!” was recently canceled by CBS, inveighed against a new state law that would require parents to obtain a physician’s signature in order to prevent their child from receiving vaccinations.
Talking to News10 Sacramento, Schneider also endorsed the widely discredited theory that vaccines cause autism, and railed against what he sees as government overreach.
“It’s illegal,” Schneider said. “You can’t make people do procedures that they don’t want. The parents have to be the ones who make the decisions for what’s best for our kids. It can’t be the government saying that. It’s against the Nuremberg Laws.” (Schneider likely means the UN’s Nuremberg Principles, which dictate an individual’s responsibility to follow government orders; the Nuremberg Laws were a series of anti-semitic statutes passed by Nazis.)
On the topic of vaccine safety, Schneider said, “The doctors are not gonna tell you both sides of the issue… they’re told by the pharmaceutical industry, which makes billions of dollars, that it’s completely safe.”
Where does HIV come from?
For some of us who remember the sudden emergence of HIV into the popular culture and awareness of the US in the early 1980’s, HIV appears to have come from nowhere. Rumor swirled about where it came from, how it came to infect people from all walks of life around the world.
It’s only now, after over 25 years of research and discovery that we can finally start to say with some confidence where HIV came from.
Science. 2000 Jun 9;288(5472):1789-96. Timing the ancestor of the HIV-1 pandemic strains.
Science 313, pp 523-526, 28 July 2006. Keele, B.F. et al., “Chimpanzee Reservoirs of Pandemic and Nonpandemic HIV-1”
Nature 397, 385-6 (1999). RA Weis and RW Wrangham. From Pan to pandemic.
Nature 428, 820 (22 April 2004) Origin of AIDS: Contaminated polio vaccine theory refuted
Nature 460, 515-519 (23 July 2009) Increased mortality and AIDS-like immunopathology in wild chimpanzees infected with SIVcpz.
Nature 397, 436-441 (4 February 1999) Origin of HIV-1 in the chimpanzee Pan troglodytes troglodytes
Nature 455, 661-664 (2 October 2008) Direct evidence of extensive diversity of HIV-1 in Kinshasa by 1960
Michael Smith, MedPageToday, “Growth of African Cities Fueled Early Rise of HIV”
As scientists struggle to find a vaccine to prevent infection with the AIDS virus, a study in mice suggests hope for a new approach — one that doctors now want to test in people.
The treated mice in the study appeared to have 100 percent protection against HIV. That doesn’t mean the strategy will work in people. But several experts were impressed.
“This is a very important paper (about) a very creative idea,” says the government’s AIDS chief, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He didn’t take part in the research.
The new study involved injecting mice with a protective gene, an idea that’s been tested against HIV infection in animals for a decade.
In the nearly 30 years since HIV was identified, scientists haven’t been able to find a vaccine that is broadly effective. One boost came in 2009, when a large study in Thailand showed that an experimental vaccine protected about a third of recipients against infection. That’s not good enough for general use, but researchers are now trying to improve it.
Researchers reported the new results in mice online Wednesday in the journal Nature. They hope to test the approach in people in a couple of years. Another research team reported similar success in monkeys in 2009 and hopes to start human tests even sooner.
The route all strains of the most deadly malaria parasite use to enter red blood cells has been identified by researchers at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge.
The scientists involved said the finding offered “great hope” for the development of a vaccine, which had the potential to be hugely effective.
Other experts said they were surprised and impressed.
Malaria affects 300 million people each year.
One million die, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
There are many malaria parasites. Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly and researchers at the Sanger Institute acknowledge it as a “very complex and cunning foe”.
It is exceptionally good at evading and bamboozling the immune system. Within five minutes of being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito, the parasite is already hiding inside the liver.
It then emerges from the liver at a different stage in its life cycle and infects red blood cells, where it starts reproducing.
The human immune system struggles to build up resistance to malaria and researchers have struggled in the laboratory.
There is still no approved vaccine against malaria. Large scale trials of the most advanced prototype - RTS,S - showed it halved the risk of getting malaria.
FRIDAY, Oct. 14 (HealthDay News) — Flu activity levels in the United States are currently low, making it the ideal time to get a flu shot, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.
In its first “FluView” report for the 2011-2012 flu season, the federal agency also said there should be plenty of vaccine available this season because the U.S. supply is projected to be at an all-time high.
“It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune response to fully kick in,” Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch, said in a CDC news release. “It’s best to get vaccinated before activity begins so that you’ll be protected once flu season starts in your community.”
The CDC monitors flu activity in the United States year-round and publishes the FluView report every Friday from October through mid-May.
“We know from our first report for this season that influenza activity in the United States is low now, with few people going to the doctor for flu-like symptoms and few respiratory viruses testing positive for flu,” Bresee said. “Though we can’t predict the exact timing, we expect increases in influenza illness, hospitalizations and deaths in the next few weeks.”
After decades of disappointment, researchers think they’re finally on track to unleash the first practical vaccine against malaria, one of mankind’s ancient scourges.
In the world’s first large field trial of an experimental malaria vaccine, several thousand young children who got three doses had about 55 percent less risk of getting the disease over a year than those who got a control vaccine against rabies or meningitis.
Dr. Christian Louqc, who’s leading the final-phase clinical trial at 11 sites across Africa, tells Shots that among several thousand children who got “control” vaccines, there were 1,500 cases of malaria — more than one episode per child in the following year. But for every 1,000 children who got the experimental malaria vaccine, there were only 750 cases of malaria.
Considering only life-threatening malaria, there were 20 cases among every 1,000 children who got the study vaccine, compared to 40 cases per 1,000 children who got vaccines for other diseases.
Researchers say adverse reactions occurred equally among children who got the malaria vaccine and those who got control vaccines. Some children who got the malaria vaccine had fevers and seizures, but all recovered. There was also a higher incidence of meningitis among those vaccinated against malaria, but the researchers don’t think the cases were caused by the vaccine.