Effect Measure

Archives for June, 2009

Swine flu and Tamiflu resistance

Currently the only antiviral drugs effective against the swine flu (novel H1N1) virus are the two neuriminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir (trade name Tamiflu) and zanamivir (trade name Relenza). Relenza is in active form at the outset and cannot be absorbed orally. It must be inhaled, leading to asthmatic reactions in some, ineffective dosage in those with…

Crafting a message on swine flu is not easy, and it’s easy to make missteps. I think CDC has gotten it pretty much right over the last two months, but not everyone has. We’ve written here since the beginning (some examples here and here) that describing any flu outbreak as “mild” is inapt. Flu always…

A few days ago we posted about hedge funds getting ready for a swine flu pandemic. At the time we wondered what other industries and businesses were getting ready. We don’t know the answer, but we are seeing more signs the message has gotten through. Yesterday we saw this story about a regional airport in…

There is a misconception that because I am an atheist and poke fun at religion in this space every Sunday that I must have contempt for religion for its own sake. It’s true I find many of the pious contemptible, but not because they are pious. You can be stupid in all sorts of ways…

Early returns on what is happening in the southern hemisphere suggest that novel H1N1 is crowding out the expected seasonal strains, something that pandemic strains have usually done. In 1918 there was a pandemic with the H1N1 subtype that settled down as the dominant seasonal flu virus until the “Asian flu” pandemic of 1957 when…

Iran eats its seed corn

Science may know no borders but scientists have nationalities. Many live within the countries where they have citizenship, while many travel to where they can do more and better science. In the 21st century no nation can afford to squander its scientific talent. But some do it, anyway, either in small ways (failing to support…

The politics of swine flu’s origin

A story in yesterday’s New York Times was headlined: In New Theory, Swine Flu Started in Asia, Not Mexico. That sounded pretty interesting. What’s the new evidence? The answer? None. Just speculation. So what’s going on?

Pandemic prep teachable moment

For years those concerned about the consequences of an influenza pandemic from an exceptionally virulent flu virus, like A/H5N1 (“bird flu”) have despaired about motivating business, government and neighbors to take it seriously enough to make serious preparations. It’s understandable. There’s are a lot of potential catastrophes competing for our attention and while each can…

Influenza season, part 2

CDC has another snapshot of what the flu surveillance system is seeing up through week 23 (ending June 13). It shows flu still circulating in many communities at a time when most seasonal flu is normally at a very low level. Indeed of the 2765 specimens tested in CDC’s network of 150 laboratories, virtually all…

If you smell, here’s a remedy

If you don’t want to smell, the FDA has a recommendation: use an over-the-counter cold remedy that contains an intranasal zinc solution. You won’t smell. Possibly ever again: