Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Not Exactly...

This is not exactly the sort of headline I like to see in the morning...or anytime, for that matter.
Scientists warn of possibility of drug-resistant avian flu
By Justin Teo, RSI
First published 11 October 2005

US scientists warn that a drug-resistant Avian flu strain could arise with unrestrained and improper use of available drugs.

The warning came as governments around the world are stockpiling antiviral drugs and the H5N1 avian flu strain threatens to break out into a flu pandemic.

The virus has killed 65 people in Asia since late 2003 and recent reports of an outbreak amongst poultry in Turkey are unnerving European states.

How could improper or unrestrained use of antiviral drugs affect the battle against Avian flu?

Justin Teo spoke to Dr. Jeffrey Staples, Senior Medical Advisor at International SOS, for more.  [...]
The warning about the possibility of drug resistance is not based upon any new information; there is alway a risk of drug resistance.  What he points out it that the risk of drug resistance developing in the avian flu virus may be increased by the limitation in supply of antiviral medications.  

One thing the article does not address is the fact that a limitation in the supply of money is just as big of a factor as limitation in the supply of medicine.  

The do make one more point that is very important.  Dr. Staples points out that we cannot assume that we will be able to beat this disease.  We have to think about how we are going to make society work if the disease gets the upper hand:
So alternatives are really good, comprehensive planning for infrastructure, communications, transportation, logistics and supplies, and planning alternative sources and alternative means of getting critical operations done. We basically have to figure out how we can operate our society should a pandemic occur and we shouldn’t just rely on vaccines and drugs.
I think he's talking about humility there.  Even the great US of A might not be able to win this particular battle.