And you thought the regular flu was bad

As it is, the flu is a nasty disease, and there have been pandemics in the past where large numbers of people have died. Now a mad scientist has made a flu that can bypass our immune systems. Aside from the question of “dear god, why would you ever want to do this?” (and I suspect that the answer is “For Science!“), now that we have this super-dangerous thing, how do we keep it safe and out of the hands of terrorists? I don’t have a good answer for this. The original version of this flu killed half a million people, and the new version would be much worse if it ever were released in the wild.

Actually, articles like one are easy to make sensationalist and sound like the world is ending. Actually, this kind of research into how viruses evolve helps researchers make better vaccines.

Does Tamiflu really work?

An article on The Scientist highlights a study by the British Medical Journal that casts doubt on the efficacy of Tamiflu. It seems that the best Tamiflu can really give you is shortening symptoms by about half a day, which doesn’t seem worth it given the side effects of nausea and vomiting.

As expected, the manufacturer, Roche, denies the conclusions.

Given how much money is spent stockpiling the drug, studies like this should have been done and fully analyzed before using it in such quantities.

The flu has struck!

Well, at least I think my son has the flu. He’s feeling miserable, and achy, and has a high fever, and would be horrified to know that I’m blogging about him. I’ve had the flu shot, but the rest of the family hasn’t. While it’s not my fault that my wife hasn’t had it, I have to take some responsibility for my son not getting it.

Anyway, you may want to take a look at google’s flu trends map, and check out the CDC’s flu information pages, including their map that shows that the flu is widespread.

Hope you’re healthy.