Listen to the warnings
Just 6 weeks ago (March 16th, 2009), the Australian Vaccination
Network (AVN), Australia’s national health and vaccination information
lobby group, warned that contamination of the Baxter International flu
vaccine with live Avian Influenza virus (H5N1 – the bird flu) could
lead to the pandemic we have been warned about over the last few
years. This vaccine was sent to 8 European nations and the
contamination was only discovered when scientists in the Czech
Republic found that all ferrets who were given this vaccine died – an
event which does not occur with normal flu vaccine.
Influenza viruses – both swine flu and avian influenza – are host
specific meaning that though pigs and birds are susceptible to their
own strains respectively, they will not generally cross into other
species. Not without a bit of help, that is.
Labs around the world however, are currently experimenting with ways
to ‘help’ these viruses cross the species barrier – to try and create
vaccines in advance of the predicted pandemic.
As we saw with Baxter’s inclusion of live avian influenza virus in
their flu vaccine, accidents can and do happen and when they do, the
results can be deadly.
The strains of influenza being diagnosed in Mexico and the US are
brand new. They have never been identified before. Not necessarily
unusual or cause for concern. What is concerning however is the fact
that in this outbreak, the flu strain we are seeing is a combination
of human, avian and swine influenza – and the genetic codes for these
viruses match those that normally circulate in Europe and Asia.
Not only are we seeing these viruses jump the species barrier – they
are jumping the intercontinental barriers as well.
The question then becomes – did they jump or were they pushed?
Are we seeing yet another pharmaceutical company mistake – one now
with deadly results?
The only way to answer this question is to immediately test all
currently licensed influenza vaccines for contamination with foreirn
flu viruses. The Australian Vaccination Network feels that this would
be not only a prudent move on the part of the government, but one
which could stop a potential outbreak of this deadly disease from
reaching our shores via a pathway that is currently not being
For further information, call the AVN on 02 6687 1699, 0414 872 032 or
visit their web site – www.avn.org.au.