Think antibodies might be useful to prevent or treat bird flu? Better get out your checkbook, because a company based in San Francisco says it owns all H5N1 antibodies, including all human (and some animal) antibodies against the critical HA gene of the H5N1 "bird flu" virus. The claims are made in an international patent application published on September 18th.
But wait, it gets even more disgusting: The company also specifically claims DNA (and amino acids) taken from at least 3 Vietnamese survivors of H5N1. The DNA, which encodes antibodies, is contained in human cell lines established from the victims' blood.
If granted, the patent application could have profound effects in limiting research on antibody treatments against the potentially pandemic H5N1 type of influenza. It could also earn its owners huge profits from the blood of 3 (or 4) Vietnamese persons who were nearly killed by the virus. Who exactly wants to profit? Well, one of the would-be owners of H5N1 antibodies and pieces of Vietnamese people is none other than a co-founder of Chiron and former Director of Novartis. Sadly, there is no remedial ethics class to which to send these perverted patent applicants. (More)
More than five dozen clinical trials for H5N1 vaccines have been registered in the US in recent years. A listing of trials (which includes many taking place outside the US) is available here.
Here is a quick review of many of those that are either ongoing or
preparing to recruit human subjects, emphasizing those that relate to
new biologicals (and less on studies primarily concerned with
I am weary of public health G.I. Joes (and Janes) and other obsessives and their threats that we're all gonna die of bird flu.
I am turned off by the callous and poorly reasoned bashing of foreigners that fills many flu blogs.
I believe that greed and poor governance in the US and EU plays a huge and underexplored role in the sad state of global readiness for a flu pandemic.
I am sure that national security and public health ought not to be mixed up in the way they have become.
Immunocompetent is a place for enlightened talk about Bird Flu, and where xenophobia and fearmongering are banned.
Here you will find fresh perspective about the serious problem of potentially pandemic influenza. You'll get information and analysis that you won't find blogged elsewhere, because this site doesn't just comment on the news, it aims to make it.
From 1999 to 2008 your host, Edward Hammond, directed the Sunshine Project, a nongovernmental organization focusing on biological weapons and biosafety. He first stuck his toe into influenza issues in 2003, when the Sunshine Project issued one of the first public warnings that US scientists were intending to recreate 1918 influenza. Since 2006 he has focused on H5N1 issues, specifically, questions of access and benefit sharing related to influenza viruses.