Posts Tagged ‘pandemic’

Pandemic H1N1 Disinformation Raises Concerns

Swine flu has been moving away from the spotlight recently, leading commentators to suggest that the threat was exaggerated and has now passed. Dr. Henry Niman disagrees. As I’ve been routinely visiting Dr. Niman’s website for updates, I asked him what he thought of articles such as these in TIME and Huffington Post, and he replied that he had been writing a response. Here are his thoughts. – Ilene

Pandemic H1N1 Disinformation Raises Concerns  

Courtesy of Dr. Henry Niman, Recombinomics Commentary   

Roses strewn on empty stage with curtains closed and spotlight on

The level of disinformation in the media and internet continues to grow.  The latest disinformation campaign has now started calling the 2009 pandemic an epidemic.  This follows disinformation on the end of the pandemic, which follows reports questioning the existence of the pandemic.  This frequent and common disinformation is leading to serious confusion in the general population, which will lead to needless deaths by those who shun the pandemic vaccine and those infected by those who shun the vaccine.

The existence of the pandemic was an easy, but decidedly late, call.  A flu pandemic is simply a novel strain that spreads worldwide.  The detection of swine H1N1 in two children in southern California in March/April strongly suggested that the pandemic had begun.  The children had no contact with swine or each other and were over 100 miles apart, indicating the detected infections represented thousands of cases in southern California, including symptomatic relatives and contacts.  When the “mystery illness” that was hospitalizing and killing 100’s in Mexico was confirmed in April to be the same swine H1N1, it was clear that the pandemic had begun.  The original phase 6 definition of sustained transmission of a novel strain of influenza had been met.

The swine H1N1 contained flu genes that had been circulating in swine since the 1990’s and most of the flu genes had been in swine since the 1930’s or earlier.  Thus, the H1N1 was novel and the vast majority of the world’s population had no immunity, setting the stage for rapid spread worldwide.  Although jumps of swine H1N1 to humans happen multiple times per year, prior jumps generally had a direct link to swine exposure and transmission was limited to family members of close contacts. The most extensive spread was in 1976 at Fort Dix in NJ where one soldier died and 200 were infected.  However, the virus…
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Swine Flu Update

By Ilene

Previous series of swine flu updates by me here.

Transmission of Fatal H1N1 D225G/N Accelerates Concerns

Ukraine takes measures to combat swine flu, closes all school - Kiev

Courtesy of Dr. Henry Niman, Recombinomics Commentary

Recently released H1N1 HA sequences have significantly accelerated pandemic concerns.  These sequences have either D225G, D225N, or both and produce a case fatality rate at or near 100% in many countries…. 

By the 100% fatality rate, Dr. Niman means that they are finding these changes in the tested fatal cases in some countries.  Keep in mind, these are small numbers of cases.  It does not mean that all cases with these changes prove fatal.  It might be more clear to say a large portion of the fatal cases show these changes in the infecting viruses.

[the] transmission and expansion of these fatal sequences in eastern Europe, including Russia have increased concerns, as has the "low reactor" status as determined by Mill Hill for a tested Ukraine sequence.

Some of the earliest sequences with D225G were in the United States last spring and were generally mild.  However, initial cases in the US were generally mild, which may have reflected low  viral loads infecting a naïve population…

"Low reactors" status means that the virus is not triggering the immune response expected due to changes in the structure of certain viral proteins (here, the influenza hemagglutinin proteins).  Immune responses target specific proteins and the target proteins’ structure is critical to the immune response.  Not all changes in a protein will greatly reduce its immunogenicity (ability to stimulate the immune response) but certain changes will.  The change from the wild-type (common) HA protein to the HA protein with the D225G marker appears to have this adverse effect--i.e., the altered viruses will not provoke the stronger immune response generated in response to the wild-type virus and/or the swine flu vaccine.   

These observations are cause for concern, not alarm.  The changes in the H1N1 virus are natural and predictable; Dr. Niman predicted these changes would occur.  

There already was interest in position 225 for a number of reasons.  D225N  was in seasonal H3N2 and linked to the fixing [establishment of widespread] of adamantine resistance (S31N), while D225G was in 1918 and 1919 samples and linked to a change in receptor binding domain specificities which would target subsets of cells in the lung.  In addition, the polymorphism [genetic change] was jumping from one genetic background to


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Flu Update: Tamiflu resistance and Ukraine update

Roche’s Tamiflu and the Swine Flu 

By Ilene  

Illustration protection kit against Swine flu (Flu A H1N1) with Tamiflu - France

Part I: Tamiflu resistance
Part 2: Flu virus changes/Ukraine/update  

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) has been a big seller this year, with global sales soaring 362% to $1.93 billion in the first nine months. Driven by the threats of a swine flu pandemic, governments have been stockpiling the drug to the tune of $1.32 billion. (See Efficacy of Roche’s Flu Drug Tamiflu In Doubt, David Phillips): 

According to David Phillips:

Allegations have surfaced that Swiss drug maker Roche has misled governments and physicians alike on the efficacy of its popular drug Tamiflu in preventing complications, such as hospitalization from pneumonia or death, in otherwise healthy people afflicted with the flu — seasonal or the H1N1 (swine flu) version. If the company is unconvincing in refuting such claims, more than its reputation could be sullied.

Leveraging global concerns over avian and swine flu, Roche has seamlessly raised awareness of the purported need to treat the complications associated with the seasonal flu too. The company has successfully challenged conventional wisdom — that “rest and aspirin” be the preferred treatment option for seasonal flu — with marketing campaigns that resonate with reassuring efficacy claims for Tamiflu (oseltamivir)… [See Tamiflu media updates].

A scarcity of published data in the medical literature motivated the nonprofit research group Cochrane Collaboration to investigate — and verify — Tamiflu’s alleged efficacy claims, particularly on the drug’s effect on the risk of hospital admission and complications in otherwise healthy people with influenza. The Cochrane review and a linked investigation undertaken jointly by the British Medical Journal and the local Channel 4 News cast doubt on the efficacy and safety of Tamiflu — and also raises disturbing questions on the drug’s promotional and marketing activities condoned by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic.

Investigators disclosed that an often cited meta-analysis used as evidentiary support was based entirely on ten trials funded by Roche, only two of which were published in peer reviewed journals. The Cochrane reviewers could find no independently funded trials of Tamiflu for healthy adults. Troubling, too, former employees of the medical communcations company hired by Roche were alleged to have ghost written some of the manuscripts….

Continue reading Efficacy of Roche’s Flu Drug Tamiflu In Doubt here .

As noted…
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Ukraine Flu Death Toll Hits 400

Flu News

Ukraine Flu Death Toll Hits 400

ukraine swine flu yuliaCourtesy of Joe Weisenthal at Clusterstock

The flu outbreak in the Ukraine, which is possibly the result of some virulent H1N1 mutation, continues to grow more alarming.

The Guardian: A flu pandemic in Ukraine that has triggered a nationwide panic is worsening this weekend with up to 400 deaths already reported.

The arrival of the virus, suspected by the World Health Organisation to be swine flu but possibly a combination of the H1N1 strain and a respiratory illness, has paralysed the country’s fragile health system and could even lead to the postponement of the general election which is scheduled for 17 January.

Seven people died and 35,000 new cases were reported on Friday, said the health minister, bringing the total number of people infected to 1.6 million out of a population of 46 million.

Meanwhile, the issue of H1N1 mutations is not just confined to The Ukraine. A new cluster of Tamiflu-resistant cases showed up at the Duke University Medical Center in North Carolina.

Also another virulent strain is showing up in Norway.

*****

Source: additional excerpt, with my yellow highlighting – Ilene  

Panic over hundreds of flu deaths exploited by Ukraine’s politicians
The Guardian

The onslaught of the virus has seen all the major political figures eagerly exploiting the outbreak. Prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko announced the arrival of an epidemic on 30 October, when only one case had been reported, and has closed all schools and banned public gatherings – including campaigning political rallies – for the past three weeks…

"This is very dangerous,’ said Igor Shkrobanets, chief of the health ministry in the western district of Chernivtsi. "One or another politician will gain from this situation, but the doctors and their patients certainly will not."

He said the level of fear was such that people were calling out ambulances when they felt the first touch of a fever and hospitals were "overloaded".

In such uneasy times, bloggers and conspiracy theorists have whipped up fears by suggesting that bubonic plague, or a new, more lethal strain of the flu, was sweeping Ukraine and that there was a massive cover-up of the numbers of deaths.

"We are seeing reports of bodies lying in the streets," said one. Others claim


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Think H1N1 Is Bad Now? Wait Till Flu Season

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Flu Watch:  Update on the Swine Flu situation.

Think H1N1 Is Bad Now? Wait Till Flu Season

Courtesy of TIME, by Bryan Walsh

Italian students arrive at England's Standsted Airport wearing masks to protect against swine flu
Italian students arrive at England’s Standsted Airport wearing masks to protect against swine flu
Tony Sapiano / Express UK / ZUMA

When the World Health Organization announced on July 16 that it would stop issuing global counts of confirmed cases of the H1N1/09 virus (the new WHO-approved name differentiates the virus from older versions of H1N1), it wasn’t because the disease had burned out. Far from it.

Since the new flu virus was officially declared a pandemic on June 11, the disease has spread faster in six weeks than past pandemics had spread in six months. Virtually every nation in the world has been infected, with the U.S. alone — which has 263 confirmed deaths, more than any other country — estimated to have logged more than 1 million cases. Although the good news is that most H1N1/09 illnesses have been extremely mild, the rapidity of its spread — and the fact that young people seem to be especially vulnerable — still worries global health officials. "We don’t know if it will actually ever completely go away," says David Butler Jones, the public health chief of Canada, which has been unusually hard-hit. "We’re still seeing new cases, so nobody should let down their guard." (See pictures of soccer in the time of swine flu.)

The real test will come in the fall, however, when the Northern Hemisphere’s flu season returns with a vengeance. (Southern Hemisphere nations are currently in the early weeks of their flu season, and H1N1/09 has caused real trouble in Argentina, which has more than 130 confirmed deaths — second only to the U.S.) There is always a chance that the virus could become more virulent when it returns in the fall — just as the deadly 1918 pandemic did. Key to the world’s defense against the flu will be an effective vaccine, and vaccine companies have been gearing up to produce hundreds of millions of doses. Production is already under way, with the Australian drug company CSL this week becoming the first manufacturer to begin testing a vaccine in human subjects. "Things are proceeding well," says Jesse Goodman, the chief scientist and…
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H1N1: It’s Back

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Swine Flu is now widespread enough to be called a pandemic.

H1N1: It’s Back

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark at But Then What?

Just when you thought it was safe to take off that mask the World Health Organization steps in and labels the swine flu a pandemic.

From the WSJ:

The World Health Organization declared an H1N1 flu pandemic Thursday — the first global flu epidemic in 41 years — as infections in the United States, Europe, Australia, South America and elsewhere climbed to nearly 30,000 cases.

The long-awaited pandemic announcement is scientific confirmation that a new flu virus has emerged and is quickly circling the globe. WHO will now ask drugmakers to speed up production of an H1N1 flu vaccine. The declaration will also prompt governments to devote more money toward efforts to contain the virus.

WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan made the announcement Thursday after the U.N. agency held an emergency meeting with flu experts. Dr. Chan said she was moving the world to phase 6 — the agency’s highest alert level — which means a pandemic, or global epidemic, is under way.

“The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century,” Dr. Chan told reporters. “The (H1N1 flu) virus is now unstoppable.”

On Thursday, WHO said 74 countries had reported 28,774 cases of H1N1 flu, including 144 deaths. Chan described the virus as “moderate.” According to WHO’s pandemic criteria, a global outbreak has begun when a new flu virus begins spreading in two world regions.

The agency has stressed that most cases are mild and require no treatment, but the fear is that a rash of new infections could overwhelm hospitals and health authorities — especially in poorer countries.

Still, about half of the people who have died from H1N1 flu were previously young and healthy — people who are not usually susceptible to flu. H1N1 flu is also crowding out regular flu viruses. Both features are typical of pandemic flu viruses.

If you’re like me you probably thought this was over and done with. We’ll have to see how this plays out but it probably will take a bite out of economic recovery.

And by the way, start washing your hands again.

 


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When is a flu pandemic not a flu pandemic?

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Flu Watch Update – Ilene

When is a flu pandemic not a flu pandemic?

By Debora MacKenzie, consultant at New Scientist

H1N1 swine flu continues to roam the planet. In the US, cases are thought to be in the hundreds of thousands. In Japan, hundreds of teenagers have caught it, despite no obvious connections with Mexico or the US.

Yet in Europe, health authorities are not testing widely for it and are prescribing drugs as though they could still contain it. And in Geneva, health ministers have fought this week to keep the World Health Organization from following its own rules and calling this a pandemic.

So are we in a pandemic or not? And have we got the whole idea of a flu pandemic completely wrong?

No. There has been a phenomenal mismatch between quite sensible rules about how to declare a flu pandemic, and equally sensible rules about how to respond. The mismatch was wholly predictable, yet somehow no one saw this coming.

The WHO rules for declaring different degrees of flu pandemic threat are based on epidemiology (how the virus is spreading) for good reasons. This is because any new flu virus to which most of the world has little immunity, and which spreads well enough person-to-person to escape its continent of origin, is very likely to go global, and to cause more sickness and death than flu usually does. That is the definition of a flu pandemic

…As I write, the number of confirmed cases in Japan (and that’s just people sick enough to see a doctor and get tested) has jumped by 35 in the past 24 hours, to nearly 300, mostly due to that perennial vector of flu, the gregarious teenager. The main cluster started without any known links to the Americas.…
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Phil's Favorites

How to regulate Facebook and the online giants in one word: transparency

 

How to regulate Facebook and the online giants in one word: transparency

Courtesy of George BrockCity, University of London

Facebook: what are they really thinking? Shutterstock

Demands to regulate hi-tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple are being heard at deafening pitch almost every day. This r...



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Zero Hedge

It Is Seven Times More Difficult To Get A Flight Attendant Job At Delta Than Enter Harvard

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

One of our preferred "off beat" economic indicators is how many workers apply at any one given moment in time for jobs that are hardly considered career-track. An example of this is the number of applicants for minimum wage line cook jobs at McDonalds, or flight attendant positions at Delta Airlines; conveniently, this is a series which we have tracked on and off for the past 7 years.

As re...



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Insider Scoop

Deutsche Bank Brightens Its View On Illumina

Courtesy of Benzinga.

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Chart School

Large Caps Accelerate Gains; Small Caps Breakout

Courtesy of Declan.

Friday belonged to Large Cap stocks as both S&P and Dow Industrials posted gains which looked better than the less than 1% they managed. Volume climbed to register accumulation. Technicals are healthy and the S&P posted a new 'buy' trigger relative to the Russell 2000 (Small Caps).  This may end up as a blow-off top but there is nothing in Friday's action to suggest such a top is in place.


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ValueWalk

Moody's Says Hartford Could Default As Early As November

By Gary St. Fleur. Originally published at ValueWalk.

The historic headquarters of insurance giants like Aetna, and Cigna, Hartford Connecticut now faces a potential financial catastrophe.

On Thursday, October 19, it was announce that the likelihood of Hartford Connecticut, to meet its obligations for the month grows continually bleak. Moody’s has produced a press release stating their position that Hartford Connecticut is likely to default by month’s end.

]]> Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF

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Digital Currencies

An Evening in Wonderland

 

An Evening in Wonderland

Courtesy of 

 

 

You walk halfway across Rivington Street and in the middle of the block there’s an alley leading north, and then, inexplicably, it curves northwest. It’s remarkable in that on the Isle of Manhattan there aren’t any alleys. And this one is whimsical. Lights are strung overhead and artwork decorates the sides of the buildings as you make your way through. And then, at the end of Freemans Alley, you come to a tucked away restaurant in the back corner. It’s called Freemans (what else?).

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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

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Biotech

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Circadian rhythm Nobel: what they discovered and why it matters

Courtesy of Sally Ferguson, CQUniversity Australia

Today, the “beautiful mechanism” of the body clock, and the group of cells in our brain where it all happens, have shot to prominence. The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their work on describing the molecular cogs and wheels inside our biological clock.

In the 18th century an astronomer by the name of Jean Jacques d'Ortuous de Ma...



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Members' Corner

Day of Last Dances

News today has been relentlessly terrible. A horrific mass murder happened last night in Las Vegas. (Our politician's abject failure to address gun control is beyond sickening.) And today, reports that Tom Petty died of a heart attack, followed by reports that Tom Petty is not dead, and now reports confirming that Tom Petty has passed away. 

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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