Category Archives: avian influenza

Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization – (Blinds US to potential pandemics for humans and animals, as well as new flu developments)

The move could for the first time cut the U.S. government out of the development of the seasonal influenza vaccine for the Southern Hemisphere, a process coordinated by the WHO in partnership with the United States. And the withdrawal from the WHO could impede access to an eventual COVID-19 vaccine if it is created overseas, current and former officials said. Leaving the organization could also significantly blind the U.S. to health threats in remote foreign locales that, as the pandemic has shown, have the potential to make their way to the U.S. shores. Experts also fear the impact on major initiatives to combat infectious diseases, such as a WHO-led program that is on the cusp of eradicating polio. “To do this in the middle of a pandemic is breathtakingly dangerous,” said Nancy Cox, a former CDC virologist, who for 22 years led the agency’s WHO center on influenza surveillance and control. “So I worry a lot about what’s going to happen to so many of the programs at WHO that were strongly supported financially and through expertise and consultation with the U.S. I just think it could be really bad.”

Source: Inside the Trump Administration’s Decision to Leave the World Health Organization

Opinion | When Art Is Medicine – The New York Times

Ojibwe stories say the Jingle Dress Dance arose when a young girl grew ill and appeared to be near death. Her father dreamed of a new dress and dance that were imbued with an unusual power to heal. The healing dresses were quickly made and embellished with tinkling metal cones, then given to four women at a ceremonial dance. Hearing the sounds, the girl began to feel stronger. By the end of the night she was dancing, too. This young pandemic survivor helped organize the first Jingle Dress Dance Society. Versions of this story are told from central Minnesota to northern Ontario.

Where Pandemics Come From — and How to Stop Them • The Revelator

“It’s a mix of biodiversity, but one that was created by people, not nature,” Keesing says. “We create a mix of species that don’t naturally occur together, and then it’s kind of like running an uncontrolled experiment. This virus jumps to that species.” Maybe that’s when a pathogen that we didn’t know about, that hadn’t previously made anyone sick (to our knowledge), suddenly becomes virulent and infects humans. “It was only when we did that to biodiversity that that virus became dangerous.” These types of markets pose one of the clearest threats to animal and human health, but they’re not the only threat. A greater risk is posed by the complex mix of habitat loss, population declines in wild species, and population increases among livestock and domesticated animals, invasive species and other more adaptable forms of wildlife.

Source: Where Pandemics Come From — and How to Stop Them • The Revelator

Avian Flu Diary: Egyptian MOA: Reassorted H5N2 Detected On Duck Farm

#13,905 One of the remarkable, and most worrying, things about influenza is its ability to continually re-in…

Source: Avian Flu Diary: Egyptian MOA: Reassorted H5N2 Detected On Duck Farm

One of the remarkable, and most worrying, things about influenza is its ability to continually re-invent itself, either via a slow process of antigenic drift, or rapidly through antigenic shift (reassortment).

  • Antigenic drift causes small, incremental changes in the virus over time. Drift is the standard evolutionary process of influenza viruses, and often come about due to replication errors that are common with single-strand RNA viruses (see NIAID Video: Antigenic Drift).
  • Shift occurs when one virus swap out chunks of their genetic code with gene segments from another virus.  This is known as reassortment. While far less common than drift, shift can produce abrupt, dramatic, and sometimes pandemic inducing changes to the virus (see NIAID Video: How Influenza Pandemics Occur).

While reassortment can occur with just about any influenza A virus, H5Nx subtypes appear unusually agile in this department, and genetic contributions from LPAI H9N2 can be found inside many avian viruses (see PNAS: Reassortment Potential Of Avian H9N2).

Avian Flu Diary: Nature: Bat Influenza Receptors In Other Mammals (Including Humans) Bats flourish and overpopulate when humans overproduce fruits that bats feed on! Game on! and who knows when we strike out!

#13,894 Exactly 7 years ago today ( Feb 27, 2012 ) we looked at an announcement from scientists from the U.S. CDC and the Universid…

Source: Avian Flu Diary: Nature: Bat Influenza Receptors In Other Mammals (Including Humans)