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

Did negative-yielding debt peak?

 

Did negative-yielding debt peak?

Courtesy of 

My Chart o’ the Day comes from LPL Research chief strategist John Lynch and it looks at the phenomenon of negative-yielding debt. Lynch notes that “Unfortunately, the global search for yield has now morphed into a scenario in which fixed income investors, or lenders, attempt to ‘potentially lose less’ rather than ‘earn slightly more’ than the value of the loan extended.”

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Zero Hedge

Despite Central Bank Cuts, UK Credit Card Rates Hit Highest Levels In 13 Years

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Credit card interest rates in the UK have hit the highest level in 13 years, according to the Financial Times

Per the report, the average annual percentage rate (APR) reached 24.7% in September - the highest since financial website Moneyfacts.co.uk began recording data. The average APR was 23.4% this time last year. 

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The Technical Traders

SAFE ASSETS - A TRADING STRATEGY FOR UTILITIES, GOLD, AND BONDS

Courtesy of Technical Traders

Chris Vermeulen, Founder of The Technical Traders shares his trading strategy for safer assets. While precious metals and bonds had a great run, the charts are showing the utilities could be the place to be in the short term. It’s important to note we are not saying the other safe havens are going to crash but it’s all about the time frame and playing the sector that could pop first.

LISTEN HERE NOW

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Stocks, Oil, and Bond Yields At Critical Bullish Breakout Tests!

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

It’s not often that three asset classes reach similar important trading points all at once.

But that’s exactly what’s happening right now with stocks, crude oil, and treasury bond yields.

And this is occurring on Federal Reserve day no less! Something has got to give.

In the chart above y...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Wednesday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • The MBA's index of mortgage application activity for the latest week is schedule for release at 7:00 a.m. ET.
  • Data on housing starts and permits for August will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on petroleum inventories in the U.S. is schedule for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee will announce its policy decision at 2:00 p.m. ET.
  • The Fed Chairman Jerome Powell will hold a press conference at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Posted-In: Economic Data...



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Lee's Free Thinking

Is The Drone Strike a Black Swan?

Courtesy of Lee Adler

Pundits are calling yesterday’s drone strke a “black swan.” Can a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility, be a “black swan.”

According to Investopedia:

A black swan is an unpredictable event that is beyond what is normally expected of a situation and has potentially severe consequences. Black swan events are characterized by their extreme rarity, their severe impact, and the practice of explaining widespread failure to predict them as simple folly in hindsight.

I seriously doubt that no one expected or could have predicted a drone strike on a Saudi oil facility.

Call Me A B...

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Chart School

Crude Oil Cycle Bottom aligns with Saudi Oil Attack

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Do the cycles know? Funny how cycle lows attract the need for higher prices, no matter what the news is!

These are the questions before markets on on Monday 16th Aug 2019:

1) A much higher oil price in quick time can not be tolerated by the consumer, as it gives birth to much higher inflation and a tax on the average Joe disposable income. This is recessionary pressure.

2) With (1) above the real issue will be the higher interest rate and US dollar effect on the SP500 near all time highs.

3) A moderately higher oil price is likely to be absorbed and be bullish as it creates income for struggling energy companies and the inflation shock may be muted. 

We shall see. 

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Digital Currencies

China Crypto Miners Wiped Out By Flood; Bitcoin Hash Rate Hits ATHs

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Last week, a devastating rainstorm in China's Sichuan province triggered mudslides, forcing local hydropower plants and cryptocurrency miners to halt operations, reported CoinDesk.

Torrential rains flooded some parts of Sichuan's mountainous Aba prefecture last Monday, with mudslides seen across 17 counties in the area, according to local government posts on Weibo. 

One of the worst-hit areas was Wenchuan county, ...



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Biotech

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

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

 

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

Courtesy of  , Visual Capitalist

The Big Pharma Takeover of Medical Cannabis

As evidence of cannabis’ many benefits mounts, so does the interest from the global pharmaceutical industry, known as Big Pharma. The entrance of such behemoths will radically transform the cannabis industry—once heavily stigmatized, it is now a potentially game-changing source of growth for countless co...



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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...



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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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