Much ado about swine flu


The swine flu triage tent at Dell’s Children’s Medical Center, in Austin, Texas
photo: Ralph Barerra, Austin American-Statesman

I can’t keep up with the flu news. (If you want to, best single bet — the wide net — is Avian Flu Diary.) But as the World Health Organisation meets in Hong-Kong to discuss, among other things, swine flu, here are a couple that make good follow-ups to my Slate piece on how adjuvants gobble up vaccine antigen supply:
WHO pushes for worldwide swine flu vaccinations (hoping to vaccinate 3 billion) — despite that overall supply will fall short .
The U.S. (and some other developed countries) agree to donate 10 percent of their supply to the effort.
The first reports of vaccine trials in children give mixed results: kids 10-17 seem (like adults in the first two trials reported) to respond well to the vaccine, with most developing antibody responses likely to confer immunity; but kids under 10 do not, and will probably require two doses spaced some time apart. This probably means most kids under 10 will be vulnerable to the virus for longer. For both this news and a meta-look at how unevenly it is reported, see Effect Measure’s post of this morning.
NB: Slate’s Jack Shafer has a nice piece echoing Effect Measure’s beef about the press being too upbeat on H1N1.
And if you don’t think this could get bad, consider that even at this early stage, Dell’s Chidren’s Medical Center, in Austin, is so swamped with flu patients that it has set up triage tents — and is suffering staffing shortages in the ER.
I’ve received a fair amount of mail about my Slate piece. (See Slate’s Fray for a taste of the range.) I hope to finish a post following up more substantially soon.

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