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  1. #31
    heart on fire
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    Swine flu: Baxter seeks swine flu sample to begin work on vaccine -- chicagotribune.com

    Swine flu: Baxter seeks swine flu sample to begin work on vaccine
    Deerfield-based Baxter has a speedier way to make vaccines than old method

    By Bruce Japsen | Tribune reporter

    3:34 PM CDT, April 27, 2009

    With world health officials worried about the global outbreak of another deadly virus, Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. once again finds itself involved in the action.

    Baxter confirmed over the weekend that it is working with the World Health Organization on a potential vaccine to curb the deadly swine flu virus that is blamed for scores of deaths in Mexico and has emerged as a threat in the U.S.
    The same Baxter as this:


    CTV.ca | Baxter admits flu product contained live bird flu virus

    Baxter admits flu product contained live bird flu virus

    Updated Fri. Feb. 27 2009 2:56 PM ET

    The Canadian Press

    TORONTO -- The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.

    And an official of the World Health Organization's European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International's research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.

    "At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present," medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.

    "But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau."

    The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

    The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn't die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.

    Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a "serious error" on Baxter's part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.

    On Friday, the company's director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected.

    "It was live," Christopher Bona said in an email.

    The contaminated product, which Baxter calls "experimental virus material," was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine -- including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly -- at a facility in the Czech Republic.

    People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.

    Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences.


    While H5N1 doesn't easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

    That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created.

    There is no suggestion that happened because of this accident, however.
    "We have no evidence of any reassortment, that any reassortment may have occurred," said Andraghetti.

    "And we have no evidence of any increased transmissibility of the viruses that were involved in the experiment with the ferrets in the Czech Republic."
    Baxter hasn't shed much light -- at least not publicly -- on how the accident happened. Earlier this week Bona called the mistake the result of a combination of "just the process itself, (and) technical and human error in this procedure."
    He said he couldn't reveal more information because it would give away proprietary information about Baxter's production process.

    Andraghetti said Friday the four investigating governments are co-operating closely with the WHO and the European Centre for Disease Control in Stockholm, Sweden.
    "We are in very close contact with Austrian authorities to understand what the circumstances of the incident in their laboratory were," she said.
    "And the reason for us wishing to know what has happened is to prevent similar events in the future and to share lessons that can be learned from this event with others to prevent similar events. ... This is very important."

  2. #32
    Senior Member Nonsensical's Avatar
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    This is such depressing news. Checking CNN daily, and hearing about more deaths..I just don't even know about things anymore.
    Is it that by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe, and thus stabs us from behind with the thought of annihilation, when beholding the white depths of the milky way?

  3. #33
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    They've given NO hard data on the deaths. For all we know they are basing their comments on a few young people who had compromised immune systems. What are the ages and demographics of the people who died? They aren't saying, so what they say means little.
    *sigh* Will this help you out?

    H1N1 Swine Flu - Google Maps

    You can find the information if you wanted to. Confirmed deaths have no dot and are in purple. Keep in mind this is very new, and they are still confirming causes of death and the like. But you can also find the pink and yellow ones (suspected and cleared cases), including the suspected deaths there.

    The whole reason for mobilizing ("possible emergency", etc.) the countries is so that they can get the information they require, and prepare for the worst. This stuff takes time, especially when it comes on suddenly. It's only investigated after the pandemic fear becomes reality - a pattern that is notable.

    The people who have contracted it and brought it home to the US are recovering quickly.
    Good. So far. I mentioned this before - medical services count as a buffer in pandemics. Once the buffer is overrun, bad things happen. Like they did several times in the last century. Oh, and the fear isn't just this strain. The more people that get infected, the higher the chance of mutation, and the higher the risk becomes. And that's besides the high lethality rate that is being predicted from this strain.

    They also keep calling it "Swine Flu" but then they say this flu in Mexico is a mix of bird, swine and human strains, well that isn't just Swine Flu, then they say that they've diagnosed people in the US with "A Swine Flu, type A influenza" ---they use the two terms interchangably in the news and that's very misleading. There's always going to be some kind of type A influenza going around this time of year.
    Not only is that nitpicky, given that the information is out there... but the base of the flu is swine, because they were the original carriers (or the assumed carriers) that caused it to leap to the population.

    They need to be more precise. Call the new flu in Mexico something precise and then differentiate it from other cases of Influenza.
    They have.

    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    Another thing that's irritating, don't those masks need to be sealed around the edges to do any good? It seems as about as good as sniffing a clove studded orange in the black death or gargling with vinegar during a yellow fever outbreak.
    Yes, they are pretty effective.

  4. #34
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    PT, ages are not given for those who have died in Mexico. The deaths are in Mexico.

    As for the rest, I don't have time right now, but I will come back to this.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptgatsby;632255
    The whole reason for mobilizing ("possible emergency", etc.) the countries is so that they [i
    can[/i] get the information they require, and prepare for the worst. This stuff takes time, especially when it comes on suddenly. It's only investigated after the pandemic fear becomes reality - a pattern that is notable.
    I understand this. This was not my point. My point is the MEDIA appears to be sloppy in their reporting without supporting what they say with hard facts.


    Oh, and the fear isn't just this strain.

    Understood, but influenza happens every year, the whole point of the hype is that this is a never before seen combination of influenza types, so when they are reporting on it, they need to remain very clear on who has what strain of flu and keep the facts clear. There's enough prospect for panic without introducing muddiness into the subject. They should always call this particular strain by it's name "swine influenza A (A/H1N1)" that is all I am saying, just that they should remain very clear.


    The more people that get infected, the higher the chance of mutation, and the higher the risk becomes. And that's besides the high lethality rate that is being predicted from this strain.
    All the more reason to remain clear on what strains the different clusters and individuals are really infected with. It is normal flu season right now. It's normal for people to get the flu right now.



    Not only is that nitpicky, given that the information is out there... but the base of the flu is swine, because they were the original carriers (or the assumed carriers) that caused it to leap to the population.
    If a world-wide pandemic in a time of economic crisis where panic could take over is a not a time to demand accuracy in news reporting, then I don't know when we would demand accuracy in news reporting.

    Yes, I understand that people who enjoy digging for information as hobby or in their professions will dig deeper for information, but most people just read a news story and accept it at face value, that's why it is so vital to our society that the media be accurate and careful in the way they present things and to not use emotionalism and hype.


    Yes, they are pretty effective.
    Nothing is known for sure, there's no hard science on this. People need to understand that a mask is not a guarentee of anything.

    From the CDC:

    CDC Features - What You Should Know about Using Facemasks and Respirators

    Blurb (read more at link) Very little is known about the benefits of wearing facemasks and respirators to help control the spread of pandemic flu. In the absence of clear science, the steps below offer a "best estimate" to help guide decisions. (cut)


    ....Neither a facemask nor a respirator will give complete protection from the flu. That is why it is important to wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes with a handkerchief or your arm, and avoid crowds and gatherings during a pandemic. To learn more about these and other issues relating to pandemic influenza, visit PandemicFlu.gov.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneWithSoul View Post
    Good point, but other species still succumb to death. they don't have vaccines, treatments, or whatever.
    What? You mean that whatever has been enabling us to artificially extend our life expectancy?

    I knew I liked her for a reason...!

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  8. #38
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heart View Post
    "swine influenza A (A/H1N1)" that is all I am saying, just that they should remain very clear.
    It seems clear to me when I read it... and I have no idea what information people get when it's referred to as "H1N1" rather than 'swine flu'.

    Anyway, looks like it is on the decline. Hopefully it stays dead over the winter. Course, it's probably spread throughout the animal population now, so it'll be impossible to eradicate... but I suppose that comes after the pandemic fear is dealt with.

  9. #39
    The Destroyer Colors's Avatar
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    20 people have gotten sick! I'm shaking in my boots. :rolli: Stupid media.

  10. #40
    lab rat extraordinaire CrystalViolet's Avatar
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    Arrrrrrgh! There's a women at work in hysterics about it....I suppose it's not too misplaced as we are on the front lines, but still, we are in Australia, only unconfirmed cases here. Oh and one of the registras decreed any one with the sniffles MUST sent home IMMEDIATELY.
    Whoop, whoop....I love a good flu pandemic, keeps me employed.
    Currently submerged under an avalanche of books and paper work. I may come back up for air from time to time.
    Real life awaits and she is a demanding mistress.

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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