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Monday, December 12, 2005

Bird Flu hype

Bird flu hype infecting biotech industry

By PAUL ELIAS, AP Biotechnology Writer,  Monday, December 5, 2005:      San Francisco (AP) -- Two years ago, as fears of a SARS pandemic spread, a San Diego biotech company aided by federal dollars speeded a promising vaccine out of the lab and into human testing.     But when Vical Inc. and the government wrap up the 15-person test next year, the drug is expected to end up on the shelf because the dreaded global epidemic never panned out. Bird flu has now overtaken SARS as the No. 1 feared global death threat.     As biotechnology companies suddenly refocus their profit mission to the new threat — and investors drive stock prices to new highs — some analysts wonder if these endeavors could face the same fate Vical met with its rapid response to severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.     "There are so many unknowables and a lot of hype," said AG Edwards analyst Al Goldman. "The avian flu potential is something that you can't get your arms around because no one knows if — or when — a pandemic is going to happen."     The particular bird flu strain that now worries health officials has been around since 1997 and has killed 62 people worldwide since 2003, yet it hasn't acquired the genetic changes it needs to start spreading easily from person to person.     What's more, leading scientists now discount the notion that flu pandemics happen in regular intervals and that the world is overdue for a new one.

See the rest of this article here: SFGate

My Comments:

As the man says, “There are so many unknowables and a lot of hype,"
So why all the hype now?
Greed?  
Hopes of spreading/maintaining the climate of fear? 
Genuine concern? I really don’t think it’s the latter.

posted by summersun70 at 6:25 AM

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