Viral Times

A viral novel to inject hearts with hope and health

Archive for the ‘Public health’ Category

Israeli pharma promises immunity boost drug

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Cancers are caused by viruses. (So many diseases start with a virus.) A new drug might be able to treat people who already have a cancer, by employing the body’s natural immunity T-cells to attack cancer cells. No mention in this link about availability of the drug, but since it’s developed outside the US, approval can be much swifter. You’d still need traditional chemo/surgery for advanced cancers. But this is a novel way to get a pharma solution to ally with natural immunity. If you can afford the booster shots.

This is the kind of medicine that the PharmAlliance wants to create in Viral Times. There is the US government in the way of approving that drug, in my future of 2021. But for now, here’s the early report on ImMucin.

A traditional vaccine helps the body’s immune system fend off foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses, and is administered to people who have not yet had the ailment. Therapeutic vaccines, like the one Vaxil has developed, are given to sick people, and work more like a drug.

Vaxil’s lead product, ImMucin, activates the immune system by “training” T-cells –– the immune cells that protect the body by searching out and destroying cells that display a specific molecule (or marker) called MUC1. MUC1 is typically found only on cancer cells and not on healthy cells. The T-cells don’t attack any cells without MUC1, meaning there are no side effects unlike traditional cancer treatments. More than 90% of different cancers have MUC1 on their cells, which indicates the potential for this vaccine.

ImMucin is foreseen as a long-term strategy — a shot every few months, with no side effects — to stop the cancer from reoccurring after initial treatments, by ensuring that the patient’s own immune system keeps it under control.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 11, 2011 at 11:21 am

Posted in Public health, Vaccines, Virus protection

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The future of naturopathic medicine

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Tabitha Parker

Utne Reader has posted an article about medicine that plays a major role in defense of viruses in my novel Viral Times. Dr. Tabatha Parker’s skill set is similar to Delta’s, as well as my co-protagonist Angie Consoli. They are naturopaths, 10 years into the future.

The global health care system is in crisis, says Dr. Tabatha Parker, founder of Natural Doctors International (NDI). It relies on the exportation of a Western model—one that doesn’t even work in the countries it’s coming from—to developing countries that can’t afford it.

Parker, a naturopathic doctor, sees NDI as a bridge between exported conventional medicine and centuries-old indigenous healing techniques, such as the use of herbal medicine, which in some places in the world is the dominant type of health care. “That has to be a part of the system if you’re going to actually reach people,” Parker says. Naturopathic doctors “are trained in a way that no one else in the world is trained: to be [that] bridge.”

Read more: http://www.utne.com/Mind-Body/Utne-Reader-Visionaries-Dr-Tabatha-Parker-Natural-Doctors-International.aspx#ixzz1dPVANRIL

Written by Ron Seybold

November 11, 2011 at 10:22 am

Enough of the vaccine, already

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Ah, the heady drama of last fall. H1N1 was a steady source of worry, creating the Worried Well and sparking a fevered drive to stock up on vaccine. In October CBS interviewed Dr. Troyen Brennan, the Chief Medical Officer of CVS, the drug store chain.

Asked if there will be enough H1N1 vaccine to go around, Brennan said, “We do believe there will be enough. The government’s been very careful in terms of the amount of H1N1 it’s ordered and that’s coming online right now.”

And so millions of Americans queued up for a Swine Flu shot, some at CVS, along with a seasonal flu shot. Boy, was there ever enough of the H1N1 vaccine. Too much for Europe, where some claim that Swine Flu was a fake epidemic. From NPR, “Governments all across Europe are canceling orders of swine flu vaccine as frantically as they were clamoring for it a few month ago.” Alas, we’re more determined to be protected in the US.

The government is thinking about how much more swine flu vaccine to order up and pay for. But Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall says any decision to scale back vaccine orders is “weeks away.” Let’s take stock. Last spring the US government signed contracts for $1.5 billion worth of vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus–251 million doses. So far, 55 percent of that amount has been shipped, and something like 60 million Americans have been vaccinated. That leaves 45 percent of the contracted-for vaccine yet to be delivered. That’s 115 million doses, worth about $675 million.

Okay, it’s under a billion dollars, so it won’t even show up in the US budget.

But the cost of stress-induced concern about health, missed work time to vaccinate, isolation of the populace that didn’t want to risk being in this epidemic: much greater. There’s a payoff for coverage as breathless and shallow as the CBS Early Show stuff, thank goodness. We’re being innoculated from the sudden panic of virus outbreaks. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ron Seybold

January 14, 2010 at 5:31 pm

ABC believes H1N1 is on the wane

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A weekend report from ABC News explores the idea that the Swine Flu panic may be ebbing. Now that didn’t take long.

As part of its insights, the TV network took note of the Austin children’s hospital which pitched tents in the parking lot to vaccinate kids back in September. The tents are gone, ABC finally noticed. (The Dell Children’s Hospital here in my hometown took the tents down more than six weeks ago, but a reporter has to call around to find out anything. Apparently the local affiliate KVUE’s stories didn’t float up to the mothership.)

My friend Tom Coefield, who works as a planner for rival Columbia Healthcare St. David’s hospital, took note of the tents too. He was impressed by how thoughtful the tactic seemed. The hospital had no good reason for erecting the easy-to-spot tents, at least not public health-related. “But it showed everyone how much they cared,” Tom said with a wink.

Comments on the ABC TV web site assert that perhaps the recent alarm about Swine Flu was related to winning some stimulus monies for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Web site comments are way down the ladder on the reliable source chain, of course. And the H1N1 virus hasn’t departed our populace. But Tom says the test for determining if your flu is Swine is only accurate about 30 percent of the time. So much for the accuracy of reports about how many people have contracted it. Now come reports that H1N1 is mutating. Good news? That flu shot you got for H1N1 will be somewhat useful in creating immunity if you encounter a mutated live virus in the air, somewhere.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm

WHO reports: Swine vaccine now in 65 million bodies

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The World Health organization has surveyed 16 countries and believes that 65 million vaccinations for swine flu have taken place worldwide. Perceived risks of vaccination include Guillain-Barre syndrome, and the WHO report says “fewer than 10 cases of Guillain-Barre syndrome have been reported” among people who received vaccines.

24 more countries are among those surveyed by the WHO, but the results in this majority of the world aren’t part of the report. Despite the safety reports, a new CNN poll asserts that the majority of Americans don’t want to receive an H1N1 vaccination.

According to the poll, 55 percent of adults don’t want to get the swine flu vaccine and don’t plan to get a shot. Another one in five say they want to get inoculated but haven’t taken any steps to do so; 14 percent want a shot and have tried to get it but have been unsuccessful. Just 7 percent have been inoculated for H1N1.

A “small number” of deaths have been reported to the World Health Organization, but given its optimism for the vaccine, the WHO believes its investigations can’t find a link between vaccine and death. “The results of completed investigations reported to WHO have ruled out a direct link to pandemic vaccine as the cause of death.”

But the CNN poll lists concern over side effects as the top reason more than half of the US residents surveyed don’t want a vaccine. The poll director calculates that 28 percent of the adult population don’t plan to get inoculated due to the risk of dangerous side effects.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 19, 2009 at 7:12 pm

More social distancing from flu

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The Infoworld enterprise computer newspaper reports that working outside the office is a new employment perk.

The H1N1 pandemic is pushing companies to upgrade their secure remote access capabilities in order to enable more employees to work out of their homes and other remote locations in an emergency.

Vendors of remote access technologies are reporting an unexpected increase in demand for their products over the past several months as a result of H1N1-related concerns.

Being honest, the lack of contact with other humans and their coughing is one sure way to reduce chances of infection. It will, however, lead to severe withdrawal from the physical pleasures we enjoy in life. And so, the need for SimSuits is born in Viral Times.

Written by Ron Seybold

November 12, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Let’s blame it on the children

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NPRstoryA story appeared on the NPR Web site this morning that reports pigs in Iowa might have caught H1N1 from schoolchildren. That’s right, pigs might have caught swine flu from people.

But the reporting is so bad, it’s as if some journalist looked up and saw the clock and thought, “Holy crap. I gotta file my daily swine flu story.” So we get the following:

Pigs in Minnesota may have tested positive for the H1N1 virus… officials cautioned that further tests are needed to confirm that the pigs have been infected with H1N1. The pigs did not exhibit signs of sickness and may have been infected by a group of children with the virus, they said. Officials said a group of children staying at dormitory near the Minnesota State Fair contracted the H1N1 virus at the same time that samples were taken from the pigs. However, officials said no direct link between the pigs and the outbreak among the children has been made.

This is just bad journalism. No test results, just a group of researchers from Iowa and Minnesota Universities “documenting instances of influenza viruses where humans and pigs regularly interact, such as state fairs.”

You can already guess who’s most worried about this. America’s pig farmers, with one more rumor to grind down their sales of pork products. This is how rumors grow: from stories about children staying in a “nearby” dorm who “might have” infected pigs. But we don’t know anything for certain until the test results come back from from the apparently-healthy pigs.

So instead of worrying about the children, let’s blame it on the children. Or their parents. Gad, what half-baked work passes for news now. The headline on the NPR site is “H1N1 Flu Claiming a Rising Toll.” 86 dead so far, twice the number in a usual year. This news influences the spread of the flu; worry and dread reduce the immunity in your body. What might be healthier: reading an article in the Atlantic Monthly that will have you questioning every “flu killed that child” statistic used in such poor reporting.

Written by Ron Seybold

October 17, 2009 at 7:09 pm