Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Indonesia may start using provisional H5N1 vaccine

The CPM Group (Contingency Planning Management Group) reports “Indonesia to Begin H5N1 Vaccination despite WHO Recommendations. The story is here (requires registration to see text).

This refers to avian influenza (so called “bird flu”), and according to the story the number of fatalities in Indonesia has risen recently from 82 to 103. So far the worldwide death toll is 192, out of 319 documented infections.

The World Health Organization wants to keep the vaccine stockpiled should a pandemic occur. The vaccine is relatively new and it is not clear how effective it could be, or if could be manufactured in response to a demand.

The Centers for Disease Control link on the current status of avian influenza is here.

As a general matter, much more progress needs to be made in reducing potential vaccine manufacturer liability and in improving vaccine technology to give the United States sufficient protection from the possibility, somewhat remote, of a full scale "Spanish flu" type epidemic, as demonstrated in the 2006 ABC film "Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America."

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