You can't miss the headlines. They're suddenly everywhere.
- World Health Organization urges nations around the world to prepare for bird flu pandemic.
- United States orders $100 million worth of avian flu vaccine.
- US announces it will buy enough of the antiviral drug Relenza from GlaxoSmithKline to treat 84,300 people.
- Roche (RHHBY) gets a boost from FT report that US plans huge order of flu drug Tamiflu to use if avian flu pandemic were to break out.
- Epidemic Here! New cases of bird flu in Indonesia.
The Reality about Vaccines
- The vaccine may be promising, but it is unproven. And it is absolutely unproven for whatever final mutation the avian flu must go through before it readily transmits from human to human.
- WHO and the European Union have been urging countries to prepare for the possibility of a human pandemic caused by the bird flu, even as they have acknowledged that there is no current risk.
- The virus, H5N1, which has killed millions of birds, only rarely infects humans and does not normally spread from person to person -- a basic requirement for human epidemics. According to WHO, "Current investigations in Indonesia have produced no evidence that the H5N1 virus is spreading easily from person to person."
- Also, as I predicted, governments have announced that they are going to use the limited amount of vaccine they do have to "protect" the wrong demographics -- the very old and the very young. But as I mentioned in my 8/1/05 newsletter on bird flu, they're not the groups that need protecting. The people who need protection from bird flu are healthy teens and adults and those with strong immune systems because it's people's own immune systems that end up presenting the biggest threat when they get bird flu.
- The antivirals Relenza and Tamiflu are theoretically useful, but so far, in real life application, neither have shown much benefit in helping those infected with avian flu. Also, even if ultimately proven effective, supplies will most likely be limited.
The Bottom Line and Alternative Health
- The threat is real, but it is still merely a threat. It may manifest this year or next or maybe ten years from now. But until bird flu mutates to the point where it readily transmits from person to person, it is merely a future threat.
- Don't count on having access to a reliable vaccine. First of all, no vaccine has proven effective at stopping even the current strain of avian flu, let alone the eventual mutation that truly threatens humans. Yes, it will be a related strain, but as experience has shown year after year with flu vaccines, in most cases, related is not close enough. If you don't have a vaccine for the actual strain that is causing the pandemic, the odds are not good that a "related" vaccine will help -- and no one can develop the proper vaccine until that final strain makes its appearance. So any vaccine now available (or currently under development) is a 50/50 "shot" at best. So, is a 50/50 bet worth taking? Not necessarily. For one: supplies are limited. And two: surprise, surprise, but as Dr. Mercola points out, it seems that the latest flu vaccine still uses the mercury laden preservative, thimerasol. Loading up on mercury may not be what you want to do to protect yourself against the flu.
- WHO and the various governments of the world may be trying to convince you they're taking action, by stocking up on a few million doses of antiviral drugs, but those drugs are unproven when it come to avian flu, and most studies show they do not work that well.
- "A meta-analysis of vaccine trials and case-control studies among older people shows that vaccination seems to have a modest effect in reducing influenza-related complications, if little efficacy in preventing initial symptoms." According to the Washington Post, this was the most comprehensive study ever done on the topic, one done by the Cochrane Collaboration in Rome. The 40 year analysis concluded that vaccination is about 30 to 42% effective at preventing the flu (when they pick the right one!)
- Another done by the CDC, who analyzed 7,000 samples of flu virus around the world for genetic mutations, found that germs have developed resistance to a class of drugs known as adamantanes, which includes the widely used drugs amantadine and rimantadine. They found that rate of resistance increased from .4 percent of the sample in 1994 to 12.3 percent in 2004. In the U.S., it jumped from 1.9% in 2004 to 14.5% in the first six months of 2005.
- Many alternative health companies are trying to tell you to boost your immune system to protect yourself. That's a questionable tactic with bird flu -- at least if not accompanied by the use of pathogen destroyers. Death from bird flu is most likely to come from a cytokine storm triggered by your own immune system, not from the flu itself. This is the same situation we saw in the great influenza pandemic of 1918/1919. The bottom line is yes you do want a strong immune system, but you also want a supply of nature's antiviral agents such as garlic, olive leaf extract, oil of oregano, and grapefruit seed extract on hand to rachet down the bird flu's attack on your body. If you can ratchet down the strength of the attack, then a strong immune system works in your favor-- finishing off the invading little buggers. But if you don't ratchet down the strength of the attack, then your immune system actually works against you -- potentially eating up your lungs.
- Enough medical authorities have stepped on board with concerns about bird flu over the last two months so that the media now feels it's safe to run with the story. Previously, those of us who talked about bird flu pandemics were merely whining Cassandras. Unfortunately, those authorities who are "new to the game" and getting quoted by the media seem to be getting it wrong.
- Given cover by medical authorities now jumping on board, the media has decided to run with the most sensational aspects of the story, literally trying to scare the bejeebers out of you -- hiding the mitigating details deep down in their articles.
- And Governments everywhere are developing plans to make it sound like they are in control and spending inordinate sums of your money buying up vast quantities of marginal vaccines and flu drugs in an attempt to convince you that they are wise, proactive, and worth keeping in office. As if...
If you haven't already done so (or if you've forgotten it) reread my detailed report from August 1st on the bird flu epidemic. You are not defenseless, and you don't need to be unprepared. And you certainly don't want to pin all your hopes on governments and the drug companies to protect you. Stock up on your favorite immune boosters and pathogen destroyers as detailed in the August newsletter.
- Immune boosters
- Echinacea (Despite the latest study)
- Pau d'arco
- Medicinal mushrooms
- Beta glucans
- Aloe vera
- Bovine colostrums
- Pathogen destroyers
- Olive leaf extract
- Oil of wild mountain oregano
- Grapefruit seed extract