Mike the Mad Biologist

Re Swine Flu: Thank You, Marc

For keeping the big picture in mind when it comes to influenza–as the CDC decides to proceed with seasonal influenza vaccine production:

Dr. Marc Lipsitch, a Harvard School of Public Health epidemiologist, said the decision to proceed with seasonal flu vaccine production is evidence “that garden-variety seasonal flu kills on the order of 36,000 people a year, and while we are in a crisis and it might seem to make sense to ignore that, you can’t.”

…”We want to make sure in the vaccine manufacturing that we were still able to protect the country from seasonal flu and be able to protect from this [swine flu] if we decided to do so,” [CDC acting director] Besser said.

A top flu vaccine researcher in Boston said that approach appeared to be the best alternative for authorities, who face a known enemy – seasonal flu – and one that is new and mysterious, swine flu.

“Their decision makes the most rational sense,” said Dr. Wayne Marasco, a flu specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “We don’t know if this new strain is going to be sustainable or burn out. Viruses can break out and then just go away.”

At best, these are very educated guesses, but, so far, I think the CDC is making the right call. The one thing we can be certain of is that seasonal (annual) influenza will kill around 36,000 people.

By the way, Harvard Dental and Harvard Medical School were closed due to TEH SWINEY FLOO.