Bird Flu Redux

Saturday, 16 May 2009

I can’t resist writing about this: Human noses too cold for bird flu.

All of that panic in 2005, 2006, and 2007, and it turns out that we can’t even incubate the virus properly because human noses are generally not the same temperature as bird guts.  Or something like that.

Long-time readers (if there are still any around) may remember that this Max never bought into the panic.

My first bird flu post in November 2005 decried the $7.1 billion that then “President” Bush had pledged to fight bird flu.  It also pointed out that War Secretary Rumsfeld had declined to sell his shares in Gilead Sciences, owners of the patent for the antiviral drug Tamiflu.  Instead Rumsfeld announced that he would not participate in government when it was dealing with bird flu related issues.  What a guy.

My post in December 2005 shared information from MedPage Today of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which basically told people not to panic and not to take Tamiflu unless they actually had a normal human flu.  That page is still there, with the title Avian Flu Deaths Linked to Tamiflu Resistance.

I then left bird flu alone until February 2007 when the H5N1 virus hit a turkey farm in England.  The authorities there announced that they were going to kill 159,000 turkeys to prevent the spread of the virus.  And I wrote that by February 2007, only 165 people worldwide had died of avian influenza and the virus had not mutated to pass from human to human.

And now we know why.

Of course we also now have a new flu to instil panic, which may or may not turn out to be worthy of that panic.  Here are my 2 favourite things about that virus:

“They said we would have a black president when pigs fly.  One hundred days in… swine flu.”

and today this:

Swine flu fears could delay Hajj.  Oh, the delicious irony.