Influenza

Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Influenza

Or at least, antivaxxer idiocy isn’t correlated with political leanings. Last week, in response to a post by Chris Mooney I argued that liberals weren’t more likely to refuse vaccination, despite the stereotype that vaccination denialism is more prevalent among the left (that’s always struck me as a ‘limousine liberal’ type of canard). Kevin Drum,…

Back when I owned a car*, car insurance payments were always depressing. In the best case scenario, I’m paying money for no purpose; in the worst case, I’ve been in a collision. Public health is a lot like car insurance, in that it’s really important when something bad happens, but when something bad doesn’t happen–either…

I’ve argued many times on this blog that an influenza vaccination policy, as opposed to the non-policy we currently have, would focus on vaccinating the people who are likely to spread the disease. Or as Yogi Berra might have put it, you can’t get the flu from someone who doesn’t have it. So who are…

Nonoptimality in Viral Evolution and Economics

While I’m not that big a fan of the project trying to find commonalities between economics and biology, largely because I think explanations of specific phenomena often reduce to those stupid fucking natural history facts, I was struck by this argument by economist Samuel Bowles about the assumption of optimality in the supposed tradeoff between…

From the NY Times, the blame game begins: At a hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, representatives of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security argued that they were right not to put immune-boosting adjuvants in the…

Good News About Flu Production

One of the problem with influenza vaccine production (as well as some other vaccines) is that the vaccine is made by injecting into chicken eggs–infecting chicken embryos–and then harvesting and killing the virus for use in the vaccine. This is a very time-consuming process that takes months. A holy grail of influenza vaccine production has…

A couple of days ago I was talking with a long-time reader who couldn’t understand why those Democrats who favor healthcare reform weren’t beating the drug companies over the head with the failure to produce enough swine flu vaccine. After all, if you’re a drug manufacturer, you should be able to produce drugs. Said reader…

Before I get to the horrendous Atlantic article about vaccination, it’s worth reviewing the Mad Biologist’s Pentultimate Postulate of Vaccination (What? You don’t know it?): Effective vaccination is not about protecting you, it’s about protecting other people from you. To put it another way, the best way for you not to get influenza is to…

For anything? Excluding very rare norovirus outbreaks, I can’t remember ever reading about school absentee rates like these from Grafton, MA: Grafton High School closed early today after more than a third of its students and more than a quarter of its staff stayed home sick. It is the only school in the state to…

Bill Maher notwithstanding, a recent Pew survey shows that Democrats are far more willing to get a swine flu vaccination than either independents or Republicans: For every four Democrats willing to get the vaccine, only three Republicans and independents are willing to do so. While I’m tempted to say something snarky, if this political divide…