Archive for June 13th, 2013

Medical World Anxious for Super Vaccines: H7N9 and SARS/MERS

posted by Dr. Ad Versery Bored @ 19:02 PM
June 13, 2013

article-mer1-0530-1    International health officials worry more than ever that two geographical areas––China and Saudi Arabia––have present case loads that can produce world-wide pandemics.  And science has not produced vaccines to fight them.

Scientists still do not know how either disease transfers to people from the animal kingdom.  H7N9 presumably reaches human beings through domestic chickens or wild birds, and that the coronavirus MERS comes through bats.  But there are all kinds of chickens, birds and bats.

In ‘Pressure Grows to Create Drugs for Superbugs,’ Barry Meier of The New York times insists:  “Government officials, drug companies and medical experts, faced with outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant ‘superbugs,’ are pushing to speed up the approval of new antibiotics, a move that is raising safety concerns among some critics.” Scientists report 5.3 new super diseases come forth annually.

Because of such pressure, lawmakers consider waiving former requirements for testing of thousands of patients before drug approval.  And the U.S. Health and Human Services Department has agreed to advance $40 million––and up to $ 200 million over five years––to GlaxoSmithKline to development a new vaccine.

MERS stands for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.  According to Helen Branswell of Scientific American, there have been 55 MERS cases around the world since early May, and 41 have been in Saudi Arabia.

That nation expects a vast number of Muslims there in July to celebrate Ramadan, their month of fasting.  Yet, Branswell points out, the Saudis have not been forthcoming with information for the World Health Organization (WHO) World_Health_Organization(1)on their MERS cases.  But it is believe that some 30 of those victims have died.

Extremely close person-to-person contact during Ramadan would provide the perfect setting for rapid spread of MERS, as would following pilgrimages following in October.  Thus WHO is scrambling for correct patient information.

MERS is closely related to SARS––known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome––which started in China in 2002, then spread to Hong Kong, Singapore, Hanoi, Toronto and other cities by way of air travel.

If the Saudis continue to withhold information, WHO may have to resort to the tactics they used in 2003, that is to urge airline and other types of travelers  to avoid cities considered to be infected hubs for spreading diseases.

Such announcements would surely affect those wanting to visit Saudi Arabia for religious observances, as well as those participating in China’s thriving commercial markets.  But unless those nations start dealing more truthfully with world health organizations, it would be impossible not to issue such warnings.

Hopefully, Christians will pray about such health issues.  These new diseases could kill billions. As Christian messages aver, The LORD Jesus is Healer:  “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed (1 Peter 2: 24).

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