H5N1 Spreads to Europe

In addition to the publicly acknowleged cases in Turkey, ducks and pigs in Romania have been dying. This is significant because several dead birds found in the Danube delta have tested positive for H5N1.

Still, the big story is not the disease itself but the fact that the government and the mainstream media–sorry, I repeat myself–started sounding the alarm last weekend. That the alarm corresponds to the semi-official start of the annual flu shot season is no coincidence.

Consider: H5N1 is still in a form that doesn’t transmit easily person-to-person. It will have to mutate before it becomes easily transmissable. That means any avian flu vaccine based on current strains will be marginally effective at best, and most probably useless.

The only way an effective vaccine against an easily transmissable strain of H5N1 avian flu can be developed is for vaccine makers to know the genetic composition of the virus right now. That would only be possible if that particular strain already existed.

And that would only be possible if the virus had been created. In a lab. Like the CDC just made it known that it’s recreated the 1918 Spanish flu virus.

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5 responses to “H5N1 Spreads to Europe

  1. “The only way an effective vaccine against an easily transmissable strain of H5N1 avian flu can be developed is for vaccine makers to know the genetic composition of the virus right now. That would only be possible if the virus already existed.”

    The virus does exist. Why are we talking about it if it doesn’t exist? They have already taken virus samples from a Vietnamese patient, have produced vaccine and are currently in human trials. What I don’t get is why no one talks about that. It never gets reported. Check out my post today.

  2. ‘Here?¢??s a thought: What if the CDC announcement was a public private message to somebody who?¢??s playing with H5N1? Something like, ?¢??Hit us and we?¢??ll hit you back?¢???’

    Or what if they did it to try to figure out what made it so deadly and how it caused a pandemic so that they can use the information to prevent another one? Check out http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/news/focuson/flu/research/pandemic/toxictraces.htm

  3. Diana, my point is that the specific strain of H5N1 that will easily spread from human to human. Re-reading my post, I can see that I wasn’t clear. I’ll fix that now.

  4. Still, if a vaccine is made for the strain obtained from the Vietnamese patient, there will be some protection if H5N1 mutates. In fact, right now, the vaccines that we receive against flu every year are seldom exactly what appears during flu season, yet some immunity is confered by the vaccines anyway. A vaccine created from the strain currently out there will most likely save many lives even if people get sick.

  5. Sadly, that’s not the way it works. Specialists in the field are quoted as saying flat out that we’ll have to wait until H5N1 mutates into an easily transmissable form and then wait 6-9 months while a vaccine is brewed.

    It’s like a key and a lock. If the shape of the “key”, the protein coat on the outside of the virus, changes, the “lock”, an antibody created to neutralize the original strain, no longer fits. The virus remains free to do its damage.

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