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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Potentially the greatest fuckup of the Bush (43) Administration:

I was watching 60 minutes when a story caught my attention. It seems this company in San Diego has developed a new drug, Neumune, and the Department of defense has only committed to buying 100,000 doses. This is a drug that has shown strong potential as an anti-radiation drug, and, if approved, would join such old standbys as potassium iodide and Prussian Blue, the latter of which has existed since 1704 (not a typo) and only gained FDA approval 2-3 years ago. The problem here is that's 100,000 doses, with an absolute best case scenario being that drug's ability to treat 100k people, and a real world scenario probably being a fraction, possibly a small fraction, of that. Using the 2000 Census data on the city of Washington, DC, this best case scenario of one dose needed per person would not even treat 1/5 of the population of, at that time, 572,059 people. Expand that to the greater metro area, and you have a ridiculously small percentage that would be treatable. Furthemore expand that to a real-world scenario... Well, you get the picture, and it is far from pretty.

As an interesting side-note, this is my 100th post. At the time I created this blog all those months ago, I never thought I'd actually stick with it and find the process interesting enough to keep it up, much less actively participate in others' blogs. So, hoping this doesn't sound too pretentious, I wish myself a happy 100th post.

7 comments:

Snave said...

Yes! Happy 100th! Good job staying with it and providing interesting and provocative commentary! Thanks for visiting at my weblog too!

Yi yi yi... why so few doses purchased, I wonder?

And when one considers how many large metro areas there are in the U.S. and that we shouldn't automatically assume terrorists would attack D.C. if they had a nuke... but maybe another city somewhere, like Denver, or Omaha, or Phoenix... sheesh. How many metro areas of a million or more people does the U.S. have? 30? I don't know, so I will use 30 as an example. If there are 30, that would be something like 30 to 50 million people in those areas alone... and only 100,000 doses? For 50 million people, 100,000 doses would only cover 2% of those 30 metro areas, and that's assuming that the anti-radiation drug would be distributed evenly.

Talk about not being prepared... ! We could well be talking about the government being able to provide help for tens of millions of American radiation victims should the need arise... but not viewing it as important enough to do so! If something like that is available, people need to know about it, and they need to demand the ability to either have some on hand at home, or to have large quantities stored in their neighborhood or community for dispersal if needed.

Crap. This kind of stuff doesn't seem to end, does it. Sigh...

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I know. I just chose DC to make a point. I could have just as easily mentioned the Big Apple, Reno, Vegas, L.A. (wait, the show "24" has a monopoly on that one), Seattle, ad nauseam. And this ignores the various nuclear power plants in the nation, which, while overall having a very safe operational record, shit happens. Granted, in this case, the shit would far more likely have to be of a deliberate nature, but still...

Snave said...

I forgot to even think about nuclear power plants... I live about 70-80 miles downwind from Hanford, in Richland, WA...

an american said...

“Potentially the greatest fuckup of the Bush(43) Administration”? Yeah, but there are so many to choose from. They all sort of compete with each other.

Another good one waiting in the wings potentially is the H5N1 bird flu thingy. This one has real potential for Mother Nature to deliver a real bitch slap if she’s pissed. In the limited outbreaks so far, it has about a 65-70% kill rate.

While I was in Canada earlier last year I picked up enough Tamiflu to treat my family if need be. It’s not sure-fire, but it’s the best thing out there so far. Hopefully the stuff will just collect dust and expire on our shelf. But I picked it up as I knew how much you can count on Bushy's competence when the shit hits the fan. And that was before seeing their Katrina response.

On a more pleasant note, congratulations on your 100th!

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

Thanks Snave, American, for the congratulations on my 100th.

American, everything I've heard about the Avian Flu mutating into a version that would be easily transmissible human to human compare it to the Spanish Flu in 1918. According to this article from Stanford University, the infection rate was 28% of the American population, with a global mortality rate of 2.5%, both of which are alarmingly high, but well shy of 65%-70%, a number which may be skewed by only the sickest people being reported. Se saw this phenomenon at the beginning of the West Nile Virus concern. While the increased travel makes the spread of any infectious agent far easier than it was 88 years ago, supportive care and medicine as a whole has advanced significantly since then.

All that said, I agree that this could potentially be a larger fuckup than the nuclear issue.

an american said...

When I said a kill rate of 65-70% I meant of people infected, not of the general population. It’s too early to have an accurate rate as less than a few hundred people to date have died from H5N1. Here’s a paper from the CDC earlier this month that notes “In the current outbreaks in Asia and Europe, more than half of those infected with the virus have died.” It’s not just the infirm who die from this bug, the CDC notes previously healthy children and young adults among the dead.
http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/gen-info/facts.htm

From what I’ve read to date, most governments and health organizations believe a widespread outbreak is not so much a matter of if, but when. Great Britain has enough Tamiflu and other anti-viral meds to treat about 25% of their population. They’re rapidly trying to increase that. So is most of Europe, Australia, and other regions.

Here? Not to worry; have faith. The admin is quickly approaching being able to treat half of 1% of the population. They’re stressing containment. To that end, Bush has asked Congress for authority to use the military in addition to the Guard within the country to enforce quarantines. Pretty picture.

So, primarily because I have a little girl whose security I would never entrust with this brain-dead administration, I picked up a few hundred dollars worth of Tamiflu last year. Hopefully it would help. Better yet, hopefully it will become wasted dollars having never been used.

Mandelbrot's Chaos said...

I think containment does have its place with some virii. I even think that, in the case of the flu, it could be one valuable tool. However, I also share your concern that this has thusfar been the main focus of the Bush administration's anti-flu strategy. I would feel much more comfortable if Congress enacted a trigger for enabling quarantine protocols, such as the mortality and infection rate, as well as a measure to dictate the conditions for ending a quarantine. Also, I would feel far more comfortable if the government started stockpiling anti-flu drugs.