Category Archives: Science

Virus Storm

The number of lethal new viruses now assaulting the human species is striking: MERS/SARS2 H5N1 H7N9 H10N8 pH1N1 Since all of these viruses can kill otherwise healthy young adults, when a new outbreak of an infectious agent occurs, it can … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, Science | Tagged , , , ,

Thousands of unreported H7N9 flu cases in China

Recent news stories have highlighted a new “study” suggesting that the actual case fatality rate for H7N9 is lower than the apparent 30% rate. What most of these stories don’t mention is that to achieve these lower rates, the authors … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, Science | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

H7N9 case in Taiwan – Implications for a pandemic

The recent report of a businesman who traveled to China and came back with a severe case of H7N9 has implications for the probability of a pandemic. The population of Taiwan is only about 23 million. I don’t know how … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, public health, Science | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

H7N9 sequencing in China – Where is BGI?

There have been some news stories recently suggesting that although the Chinese authorities are doing their best, they just don’t have the experience or resources to properly test or sequence the samples they have. This is complete nonsense written by … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to stop a H9N7 pandemic – containment

Although officially all cases of H7N9 have resulted from bird to human contact, there are strong indications that this assertion is false: 1. There is no virological link between between birds and affected humans. 2. Mutations have been found in … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, Science | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

H7N9 adaptation to humans – evidence for ongoing human to human transmission

From The University of Wisconsin-Madison News, April 12, 2013 A genetic analysis of the avian flu virus responsible for at least nine human deaths in China portrays a virus evolving to adapt to human cells, raising concern about its potential … Continue reading

Posted in Outbreak, Science | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cryptic Drift

Flu strains can change by “shift” or “drift”. Shift is said to occur when gene segments reassort to create a new virus. This how pandemics start. Drift is said to occur when enough small changes accumulate so that the virus … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Airborne transmission of H5N1 in ferrets – the Fouchier study

Two studies have recently been published demonstrating that H5N1 can be transmitted in the air in ferrets, one by Dr. Kawaoka’s group, the other by Dr. Fouchier’s group. I have previously discussed the Kawaoka paper. Here, I present some of … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Kawaoka droplet transmission H5N1/pH1N1 study

Nature has just published the long-awaited paper by Kawaoka and colleagues describing the creation of a hybrid H5N1/pH1N1 virus which can be transmitted by respiratory droplets between ferrets: Experimental adaptation of an influenza H5 HA confers respiratory droplet transmission to … Continue reading

Posted in Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US government endorses publication of H5N1 ferret papers

Not much to say about this other than that it is very good news. From Science, April 20, 2012 The United States government has formally accepted a recommendation from a biosecurity advisory board to publish two controversial studies of the … Continue reading

Posted in public health, Science | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment