Bird Flu Alarm



Understanding Avian Influenza

Forget about antiviral prescription drugs


If there is a bird flu pandemic, there are some antiviral prescription drugs that might help, such as Tamiflu. Tamiflu definitely has antiviral properties, although I would argue that many medicinal herbs and antiviral nutritional supplements are far more powerful. However, governments say they're going to have some Tamiflu sitting around, just in case there's a pandemic.
Does that make you any safer? Again, no, it does not. Why? The virus has already mutated into a form resistant to Tamiflu, according to some infectious disease experts. Now, of course, this may not be relevant in the long term. The virus could again mutate into a form susceptible to Tamiflu, making it effective. But even if it is effective, how many doses are available, versus how many people might be infected? You see, Tamiflu is something that you have to take daily, so they need one dose per day for each person in the country. Do the math for about 300 million people in the U.S., for example, taking Tamiflu for just 10 days. You would need three billion doses of Tamiflu stockpiled, just to cover the entire U.S. population for a period of 10 days.

Now of course, 10 days isn't long enough, this virus could be around for 10 months. The U.S. isn't stockpiling anywhere near 3 billion doses of Tamiflu -- not even anything close to that. This antiviral prescription drug will be rationed. It will be held back from everyone but senior citizens, people lucky enough to have the right doctor or those who have the right amount of money to buy it on the underground market. Basically, it will be available to certain selected people. We have no idea how those people are going to be selected, but it's not going to be available for everybody who needs it, if anybody needs it. If there's a pandemic, you can just line up at the end of the line because there's going to be a whole nation of people lining up in front of you, trying to get their hands on some of this Tamiflu. Right now, in the summer of 2005, the big picture is that the bird flu virus is not yet a huge threat, but it could become a very big threat, a very real threat. If and when it does, you can bet that hospital facilities will not be available in sufficient quantities, and antiviral drugs and bird flu vaccines will not be available.

Understanding Avian Influenza