Would You Trust Baxter to Make a Swine Flu Vaccine?

I am not a proponent of vaccination. But does anyone see the preposterousness of this story?

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus (27th February 2009)

The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.

And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.

“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.

“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”

The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.

Public health authorities concerned about what has been described as a “serious error” on Baxter’s part have assumed the death of the ferrets meant the H5N1 virus in the product was live. But the company, Baxter International Inc., has been parsimonious about the amount of information it has released about the event.

On Friday, the company’s director of global bioscience communications confirmed what scientists have suspected.

“It was live,” Christopher Bona said in an email.

The contaminated product, which Baxter calls “experimental virus material,” was made at the Orth-Donau research facility. Baxter makes its flu vaccine — including a human H5N1 vaccine for which a licence is expected shortly — at a facility in the Czech Republic. Full Story

* * *

Baxter International working on swine flu vaccine

Specialty drug maker Baxter International Inc. will work with the World Health Organization to develop a vaccine that could stem an outbreak of a deadly swine flu strain in Mexico.

Baxter spokesman Christopher Bona said Saturday that the Deerfield, Ill.-based company has asked the WHO for a sample of the flu strain. He says Baxter has patented technology that allows the company to develop vaccines in half the time it usually takes — about 13 weeks instead of 26.

Mexico’s health minister says the disease has killed up to 86 people and likely sickened up to 1,400 since April 13. U.S. officials say the virus has been found in New York, California, Texas, Kansas and Ohio, but so far no fatalities have been reported.

Humans don’t have a natural immunity to swine flu strain that emerged in Mexico in March. Officials have warned the outbreak could become a global epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say two flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem effective against the new strain. GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Relenza, and Roche, which makes Tamiflu, confirmed that the swine flu strain is sensitive to their drugs.

Both Relenza and Tamiflu have to be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective.

GlaxoSmithKline spokeswoman Sarah Alspach said Friday the British drugmaker had been in touch with the World Health Organization on identifying the exact strain. Roche spokesman Terry Hurley said the Swiss drug developer’s emergency Tamiflu stockpile is on 24 hour stand-by. The company was contacted by the World Health Organization and is prepared to immediately deploy the stockpile if requested, he said.

* * *

And speaking of Tamilflu, it looks like Rumsfeld stands to profit handsomely:

Rumsfeld’s growing stake in Tamiflu
Defense Secretary, ex-chairman of flu treatment rights holder, sees portfolio value growing.

The prospect of a bird flu outbreak may be panicking people around the globe, but it’s proving to be very good news for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other politically connected investors in Gilead Sciences, the California biotech company that owns the rights to Tamiflu, the influenza remedy that’s now the most-sought after drug in the world.

Rumsfeld served as Gilead (Research)’s chairman from 1997 until he joined the Bush administration in 2001, and he still holds a Gilead stake valued at between $5 million and $25 million, according to federal financial disclosures filed by Rumsfeld.

The forms don’t reveal the exact number of shares Rumsfeld owns, but in the past six months fears of a pandemic and the ensuing scramble for Tamiflu have sent Gilead’s stock from $35 to $47. That’s made the Pentagon chief, already one of the wealthiest members of the Bush cabinet, at least $1 million richer.

Rumsfeld isn’t the only political heavyweight benefiting from demand for Tamiflu, which is manufactured and marketed by Swiss pharma giant Roche. (Gilead receives a royalty from Roche equaling about 10% of sales.) Former Secretary of State George Shultz, who is on Gilead’s board, has sold more than $7 million worth of Gilead since the beginning of 2005.

Another board member is the wife of former California Gov. Pete Wilson.

“I don’t know of any biotech company that’s so politically well-connected,” says analyst Andrew McDonald of Think Equity Partners in San Francisco.

Full Story

Donald Rumsfeld makes $5m killing on bird flu drug

9 responses to “Would You Trust Baxter to Make a Swine Flu Vaccine?

  1. I don’t know what to make of this but….I’m involved in a site with people from all over the world posting. This apparently from Mexico.

    Yesterday on a radio program was a woman who ask to be anonymous, she says she was a doctor of Hospital general, she says there where 200 deaths just in that hospital.

    A friend who works in especialidad de Neumologia says there is a whole floor with thousands of patients just in his hospital.

    My ex, told me there where 2 doctor who die yesterday on Hospital del Seguro.

    I live like 2 kilometers of Centro de epidemiologia in Mixcoac. well guys is guarded by the army, there are ambulance every minute and believe me that place was a very peaceful always it is odd the situation there now.

    official toll is not true

    • The story you mention sounds like the kind of reports coming out of Mexico as reported on the BBC, which I included in my post on “global quarantine’. What’s really going on…?

  2. The person who reported what I posted above seems to be the same as this person-

    and this person

    And seems a little overly exuberant in his reporting to look credible.

    It gets frustrating trying to separate truth from fiction doesn’t it? Those darned humans, so deceitful. I think I’ll get me a dog. 🙂

    • Ah, yes George. I saw the video; what a shocker when he starts violently throwing up. I recall him saying to one of his viewers that he and his family had gotten flu vaccines. I’ll trust my health to true immunization – a healthy, organic (vegetarian) diet and a chemical-free lifestyle.

  3. ya know i live in california and there have been 10 confirmed cases of swine flu in my school alone and the school is scared the students including me are scared i see freshmen asking to move to a new seat because the person behind them got swine flu
    it is scary

    • With all the media hype, there is a lot of fear spreading. It’s also a way to sell the vaccine, even though the swine flu has recently been lowered to a Category One Pandemic, the same as the flu.

      The best course of action is to adopt a healthful lifestyle, and learn about natural, safe remedies that keep the immune system strong and thus able to defend against foreign antigens. It’s the only true immunization.

  4. October 2009 from The Lancet Medical Journal: The Lancet is the world’s leading general medical journal and specialty journal in Oncology, Neurology and Infectious Diseases.


    About: Importance of background rates of disease in assessment of vaccine safety during mass immunisation with pandemic H1N1 influenza vaccines

    Because of the advent of a new influenza A H1N1 strain, many countries have begun mass immunisation programmes. Awareness of the background rates of possible adverse events will be a crucial part of assessment of possible vaccine safety concerns and will help to separate legitimate safety concerns from events that are temporally associated with but not caused by vaccination.

    We identified background rates of selected medical events for several countries. Rates of disease events varied by age, sex, method of ascertainment, and geography. Highly visible health conditions, such as Guillain-Barré syndrome, spontaneous abortion, or even death, will occur in coincident temporal association with novel influenza vaccination.

    On the basis of the reviewed data, if a cohort of 10 million individuals was vaccinated in the UK, 21·5 cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome and 5·75 cases of sudden death would be expected to occur within 6 weeks of vaccination as coincident background cases.

    In female vaccinees in the USA, 86·3 cases of optic neuritis per 10 million population would be expected within 6 weeks of vaccination.

    397 per 1 million vaccinated pregnant women would be predicted to have a spontaneous abortion within 1 day of vaccination.

    We most definitely have NOT been informed of the “highly visible symptons” nor the 397 who spontaneously abort. Please pass on to all you know.

  5. I think we are being scared into taking the vaccine so Rumsfeld and Schultz benefit worldwide via Gilead.

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