Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bird Flu Update, Roche & Tamiflu and More in "Weekly Breather"

Asthma parents, if you're not getting the American Lung Association's 'Weekly Breather,' you're missing out on a valid resource. This is by far the best, most reliable means of getting helpful asthma news.

Here are a few highlights from this week's issue:

WHO: Bird Flu Human Risk Greatest in Asia...An October 17, 2005 Associated Press report said cases of bird flu can be expected to appear in many countries, but Asia is most at risk. According the the World Health Organization, avian flu has become endemic in some areas of Asia, creating multiple opportunities for a mutation to occur that would result in the virus’ ability to spread among humans. This weekend, tests on birds from Romania indicated that bird flu had arrived in Europe. Two days earlier, cases had been confirmed in Turkey. However, the vast majority of cases, and the greatest risk of viral mutation, remain in Asia. Bird flu has killed more than 60 people in Southeast Asia in the last two years. Most cases have resulted from contact with infected birds, but experts fear a genetic mutation could produce a global pandemic.

For the full article: click here.

Roche may allow others to make Tamiflu...Reuters reported in an October 18, 2005 article that on Tuesday Swiss drug maker Roche said it would consider granting other firms licenses to make the antiviral drug, Tamiflu. The company is under pressure to step up production of Tamiflu as cases of bird flu have appeared in Europe. Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, is the most effective antiviral drug currently available for avian flu and is one of a class of treatments recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for use in the event of a flu pandemic. Mike Ryan of WHO said Tamiflu supplies were insufficient if the avian virus were to mutate and spread among humans. Roche said it would consider allowing companies and governments in developing nations to produce the drug in preparation for a bird flu pandemic. Governments are rushing to build stocks of Tamiflu; 40 countries have placed bulk orders with Roche, including Turkey where cases of bird flu were reported last week.

For the full article: click here.

...and there's so much more, just in that issue. To sign up yourself, click here.

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