Flu pandemic giving tiny companies big stage
Tiny companies with big ideas for making flu vaccines have captured the attention of investors and
governments looking for a quicker way to make a vaccine against the pandemic of swine flu.
The World Health Organization forecasts that as much as a third of the world's population, or 2 billion people, will eventually become infected with the new H1N1 virus, a tempting market for many companies.
"There's a lot of companies that put out these press releases because they're looking for investor money," said Dr. Greg Poland, a vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who tests new vaccines. "What I have learned over several decades is 'Show me the data.' They put out these wild things hoping to attract angel funding, but you look at the data and they've got a study in 20 mice."
Reuters, by Julie Steenhuysen, 09/08/09
Health workers under pressure to get flu shots
Tens of thousands of health care workers who typically avoid flu shots are under more pressure than ever to get vaccinated as hospitals and clinics prepare for a spike in swine flu cases this fall and winter.
Roughly half of health workers skip the immunizations, raising two concerns: If doctors and nurses get sick, who will treat what could be millions of Americans reeling from seasonal or swine flu? And could infected health workers make things worse by spreading flu to patients?
"If health care workers have concerns about the safety and efficacy of a vaccine that has been around for decades, I'm sure they're going to have those same concerns about a vaccine that we've never used before," said Dr. Gregory Poland, a Mayo Clinic vaccine specialist. He says health workers are ethically obligated to get vaccinated for both kinds of flu. He supports requiring them.
Associated Press by Lindsey Tanner, 09/08/09