Genetic sequences

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Category archives for Genetic sequences

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is reporting sporadic occurrences of a mutation in a portion of the flu virus that is involved with the process by which it attaches to cells. I use the word “sporadic” because at this point there is no evidence that the cases where the genetic change has been found…

WHO behaving badly (again)

An article in The Straits Times from newswire Associated Press (AP) drew my attention to a festering disagreement between proponents of an innovative global sharing initiative for influenza information and the World Health Organization, the official UN Agency that has run the global influenza surveillance system for more than a half century. The new system,…

Molecular history of the HIV whirlwind

Scientists have been using genetic data to estimate when species first appeared for some time. The basic idea is to use differences between species and a guess as to how fast sequences change as a molecular clock, running it backward until they show the same sequence. The same trick can be done with viral genetic…

Last week WHO’s flu maven, Keiji Fukuda, said what we and others have been saying for a long time. Flu scientists need to change their research ethics. The world of flu virology has developed a mandarinate that is impeding progress for its own benefit. And their bad behavior is enabled and imitated by some public…

Naming a bird flu virus

For years we have been naming flu viruses in a particular way. Now Declan Butler has a news article in Nature observing that the system is being modified for bird flu to be more “politically correct.” What is the system that’s being modified (still in use for seasonal flu)?

Indonesian virus sharing by the book

Indonesia is providing bird flu specimens to WHO again. And Indonesian Health Minister Dr Siti Fadilah Supari has just published a book declaring the 50 year plus history of global influenza surveillance is part of a conspiracy by the developed world to control the rest of the world:

Bird flu: Bangladesh behaving badly

Bangladesh is a country with more than its share of woes. Now there is H5N1 galloping through its poultry. Bangladesh needs all the help it can get. Which also means it needs to help others, too. How can a resource poor country like Bangladesh help other nations? They can start by sharing the genetic sequences…

Since the antiviral agent oseltamivir (Tamiflu) has been touted as the global savior should a bird flu pandemic materialize the idea has been haunted by the specter of Tamiflu resistance. What if H5N1 becomes resistant to the drug? Is all lost? Now it is being reported in the media that the European Centre for Disease…

After spending more time than I wished “defending” WHO against what I considered a particular kind of scurrilous attack (it also seemed to raise the hackles of some unintended as targets, but the dialog with them was at least rational) — after all that, I now have to turn around and complain about WHO (again).…

Nature’s senior correspondent, Declan Butler, was one of the first to raise the profile of a pandemic threat in the scientific community and has had done some superb reporting since, including several stories on sharing gene sequences. The problematic actors in his earlier stories were respected scientists and the business-as-usual way they were approaching release…