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Tags avian flu , h5n1

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Old 15th December 2011, 07:27 PM   #1
Travis
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Should info on the new Bird Flu be published?

Saw on the news tonight that there is some debate about whether the technical details on how scientists have created a new highly contagious form of Bird Flu should be released.

This is important since the H5N1 flu has a 60% fatality rate in humans and this new strain can be as easily passed between people as the traditional seasonal flu. And now the government is considering whether it should ask Nature and Science to not publish detailed articles on it.
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Old 15th December 2011, 08:33 PM   #2
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Oh, great. Captain Trips*.

Why did they create it?
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Old 15th December 2011, 08:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
Saw on the news tonight that there is some debate about whether the technical details on how scientists have created a new highly contagious form of Bird Flu should be released.

This is important since the H5N1 flu has a 60% fatality rate in humans and this new strain can be as easily passed between people as the traditional seasonal flu. And now the government is considering whether it should ask Nature and Science to not publish detailed articles on it.
As easily passed between humans, or as easily passed between some other animal?
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Old 15th December 2011, 09:53 PM   #4
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It's supposed to as easily passed between humans. They did this, apparently, by doing lots of selective breeding in ferrets.

I'm not really sure why this did this. I would speculate that the goal was to see what we would have to look for in the wild if this flu was becoming close to being transmissible between humans.
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Old 15th December 2011, 10:10 PM   #5
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To answer the question, I think that some parts of the research should be published, but perhaps they should leave out any part that would make it easy for someone to recreate this bug.
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Old 15th December 2011, 10:14 PM   #6
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I assume the point in creating such a virus was so that a vaccine could be made to protect the population against it?
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Old 16th December 2011, 07:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post

This is important since the H5N1 flu has a 60% fatality rate in humans .
I take real issue with this statement. I believe the 60% is of patients that are hospitalized very late in the disease's progression. And that the illness varies from a slight mal-ease to the symptoms of the more common flus in different patients. And that modern medical care, like simply hydration, can handle the "epidemic".

Get a flu shot, and stop pandering to the fearful masses with doom and gloom predictions of "60% Fatalities".
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Old 16th December 2011, 07:51 AM   #8
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I work for the Canadian government and you need to remember that (at least in Canada) all records are available for inquiry...this process here is called "Access To Information". It's an official request for any documentation on a specific subject. It needs to be asked by someone like a lawyer, doctor, news journalist, court, etc...generally. I have dealt with files from the H1N1, Avian Flu, SARS, etc....and it is almost all open to the public but it needs to be requested and certain info that can be seen as harmful to the security of the country will have much higher security classifications on them, which means certain info is unavailable.
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Old 16th December 2011, 08:26 AM   #9
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Are there any links to the stories about a 'created' flu virus, or is this just yet another varient that has been isolated to allow for vaccine development?
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Old 16th December 2011, 10:54 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
It's supposed to as easily passed between humans. They did this, apparently, by doing lots of selective breeding in ferrets.

I'm not really sure why this did this. I would speculate that the goal was to see what we would have to look for in the wild if this flu was becoming close to being transmissible between humans.
No, it still can't be transmitted between humans. Here is a good summary of the situation: http://www.virology.ws/2011/12/06/fe...nfluenza-h5n1/

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Old 16th December 2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
I take real issue with this statement. I believe the 60% is of patients that are hospitalized very late in the disease's progression. And that the illness varies from a slight mal-ease to the symptoms of the more common flus in different patients. And that modern medical care, like simply hydration, can handle the "epidemic".

Get a flu shot, and stop pandering to the fearful masses with doom and gloom predictions of "60% Fatalities".
No, the mortality rate as in those that acquire H5N1, ~50% die from it. It is a cause for concern if this virus makes the jump to human-human transmission.

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Old 16th December 2011, 11:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Estellea View Post
No, the mortality rate as in those that acquire H5N1, ~50% die from it. It is a cause for concern if this virus makes the jump to human-human transmission.

Este
No. I don't believe that there are NO, NONE, ZERO subclinical cases.

Bird flu, swine flu, or any flu, it is very difficult to account for subclinical cases. But there are jillions of them.

IIRC, in previous bird flu scares, antibody tests showed lots of poultry handlers have built immunity. How else but through subclinical illness? So yes, you can get the disease without 60% dying. Or it would be very difficult to find employees in the poultry business of Asia. Least wise, live ones.
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Old 16th December 2011, 12:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
No. I don't believe that there are NO, NONE, ZERO subclinical cases.

Bird flu, swine flu, or any flu, it is very difficult to account for subclinical cases. But there are jillions of them.

IIRC, in previous bird flu scares, antibody tests showed lots of poultry handlers have built immunity. How else but through subclinical illness? So yes, you can get the disease without 60% dying. Or it would be very difficult to find employees in the poultry business of Asia. Least wise, live ones.
I don't think federally funded research should be kept from the access of the citizens whose tax dollars paid for it, I'm largely of the same opinion for all information and intelligence. If tax dollars paid for it, US citizens ought to have unfettered access to it,...for better or worse.
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Old 16th December 2011, 01:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
No. I don't believe that there are NO, NONE, ZERO subclinical cases.

Bird flu, swine flu, or any flu, it is very difficult to account for subclinical cases. But there are jillions of them.

IIRC, in previous bird flu scares, antibody tests showed lots of poultry handlers have built immunity. How else but through subclinical illness? So yes, you can get the disease without 60% dying. Or it would be very difficult to find employees in the poultry business of Asia. Least wise, live ones.
There very well could be asymptomatic or missed cases but that is the estimate that we have to work with and is undoubtedly far more accurate than your rectally-sourced "jillions" in the denominator (I do hope you at least said that with a Dr. Evil voice). A small detail but subclinical isn't the correct term for what you want, it is simply missed or unreported case.

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Old 16th December 2011, 05:35 PM   #15
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From what I remember from a book on the subject all known cases ended up in the hospital where there was at least a 50% mortality rate.
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Old 16th December 2011, 05:48 PM   #16
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erv has somting to say about this:

http://scienceblogs.com/erv/2011/12/...uper-scary.php
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Old 18th December 2011, 08:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
From what I remember from a book on the subject all known cases ended up in the hospital where there was at least a 50% mortality rate.
All known cases that went to the hospital, half died. What about the ones that didn't go to the hospital, is what I wonder.

Also, how does that compare to other flues where people went into the hospital -- what percent of those admitted died?
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Old 18th December 2011, 08:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
As easily passed between humans, or as easily passed between some other animal?
If it passes between ferrets then it passes between humans.

The study is a month or more old and the debate has been going on in the scientific community since the paper went to the peer review stage of publication.

The researchers asked a legit question, how many nucleic acid substitutions are needed to make HPAI H5N1 into a human adapted strain. Turns out, not too many.

Other experts are saying the changes are not likely to be selected naturally.

In the meantime the band plays on (IE the natural HPAI H5N1 continues to smolder). The virus has already been naturally selected to defeat the poultry vaccine that was in use. Could vaccine use force genetic divergence in a dangerous direction? It is possible. No one can say if it is likely or not so far.

Last edited by Skeptic Ginger; 18th December 2011 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 18th December 2011, 08:54 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
It's supposed to as easily passed between humans. They did this, apparently, by doing lots of selective breeding in ferrets.

I'm not really sure why this did this. I would speculate that the goal was to see what we would have to look for in the wild if this flu was becoming close to being transmissible between humans.
That reason would be correct.
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Old 18th December 2011, 08:57 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by FreshHat View Post
I assume the point in creating such a virus was so that a vaccine could be made to protect the population against it?
Not the reason. We already have some prototype vaccines. There is some discussion if we shouldn't prime the population with an H5 vaccine to be ready to then boost for a specific strain.

Trying to predict the direction a pandemic strain would take is not practical. Figuring out how close genetically the current H5N1 strain is to a human adapted strain is practical.
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Old 18th December 2011, 09:01 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by casebro View Post
I take real issue with this statement. I believe the 60% is of patients that are hospitalized very late in the disease's progression. And that the illness varies from a slight mal-ease to the symptoms of the more common flus in different patients. And that modern medical care, like simply hydration, can handle the "epidemic".

Get a flu shot, and stop pandering to the fearful masses with doom and gloom predictions of "60% Fatalities".
The 1918 H1N1 pandemic had a much lower fatality rate. The current HPAI H5N1 only needs a 2 or 3% fatality rate and an infection rate of 30-40% to kill millions.
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Old 18th December 2011, 09:02 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Mikemcc View Post
Are there any links to the stories about a 'created' flu virus, or is this just yet another varient that has been isolated to allow for vaccine development?
Your questions are off base. Vaccine development is not an issue with this research.
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Old 18th December 2011, 09:40 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
All known cases that went to the hospital, half died. What about the ones that didn't go to the hospital, is what I wonder.
You and just about every epidemiologist on the planet. It's not very difficult to determine whether a person has been infected with the virus: test for antibodies. It obviously isn't practical to do that for seven billion people, however, so what you do instead is go to places where the virus is known to have appeared, round up some of the people you figure are most likely to have been exposed, and test them. Not nearly as much of this has been done as everybody would like, but the studies that have been done are not very supportive of the idea that there is a lot of subclinical infection out there. Here's one sample:

"Participants in this study were from villages in central and northern Thailand where widespread, confirmed outbreaks of influenza (H5N1) infection in poultry and at least 1 human influenza (H5N1) case had occurred during 2004. A substantial proportion of participants reported exposure to backyard poultry, including contact with sick or dead chickens, the primary risk factor for influenza (H5N1) infection (8,9). Nevertheless, we found no serologic evidence of mild or subclinical influenza (H5N1) infection, suggesting that clade 1 influenza virus A (H5N1) strains circulating in Thailand among backyard poultry during 2004 did not transmit easily to our study population."
http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/15/...16_article.htm

And more here, including a chart:
http://www.fluwiki.info/pmwiki.php?n...Seroprevalence
One of those is an outlier: the Hong Kong study casebro is probably thinking of.

Of course, we're still talking about a virus that hasn't adapted to efficient transmission between humans, so even if we knew exactly what the current mortality rate is (that is, if there were NO uncertainty about the numbers of subclinical/asymptomatic cases) there'd be no way to know how much that would change when the virus aquired whatever characteristics would enable it to make the jump. It will be a different virus at that point.

What they've done with the ferrets seems... daring. It's easy to picture a scenario like:
"So how are Bob and those guys coming along with the ferrets?"
"I dunno, haven't heard from them in a couple of weeks, and they aren't answering the phones..."
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Old 21st December 2011, 07:16 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Travis View Post
And now the government is considering whether it should ask Nature and Science to not publish detailed articles on it.
Update: The US government has now gone ahead and taken that unprecedented step:

Quote:
A government advisory panel, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, overseen by the National Institutes of Health, has asked two journals, Science and Nature, to keep certain details out of reports that they intend to publish on the research. The panel said conclusions should be published, but not “experimental details and mutation data that would enable replication of the experiments.”

The panel cannot force the journals to censor their articles, but the editor of Science, Bruce Alberts, said the journal was taking the recommendations seriously and would probably withhold some information — but only if the government creates a system to provide the missing information to legitimate scientists worldwide who need it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/21/he...-on-virus.html
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