Tag Archives: Mexico

What’s the Agenda Behind the Swine Flu?

Swine Flu Martial Law Bill Clears Massachusetts Senate

Ron Paul – the sky isn’t falling

Drug companies responsible for swine flu outbreak?

WHO Admits Only 7 Deaths, But Issues Level 5 Alert

The possibility of a quarantine over this, despite the fact that Regular flu has killed thousands since January.

Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO

A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO’s patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths – all in Mexico – and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

“Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that’s not information that’s come from the World Health Organisation,” Ms Allan told ABC Radio today.

“That figure is not a figure that’s come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico.”

Ms Allan said WHO had confirmed 40 cases of swine flu in the Americas, 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, two in Spain, two in Britain and three in New Zealand.

Ms Allan said it was difficult to measure how fast the virus was spreading.

She said a real concern would be if the flu virus manifested in a country where a person had had no contact with Mexico, and authorities were watching all countries for signs of that.

“There is no pattern that has emerged at this stage to be able to say that it is spreading in a particular way or it is spreading into a particular country … the situation is continuing to evolve,” she said.

She said the WHO was not recommending against overseas travel, but urged those who felt sick to stay home and others to ensure they kept their hands clean.

No decision had yet been made about vaccinations.

“This virus is not airborne, it’s caused by droplets … so it’s not a time for worry. It’s a time to be prepared,” Ms Allan said.

Crude oil price drops

Oil prices dipped in Asia today as concern that a swine flu outbreak could undermine crude demand overrode optimism about an eventual recovery from a global slump.

Benchmark crude for June delivery was down 39 cents to $49.53 a barrel by midday in Singapore, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract Tuesday fell 22 cents to settle at $49.92. Full Story

Loss Of Civil Liberties, Martial Law & Swine Flu

Will NorthCom take over in Swine Flu Outbreak?

The swine flu outbreak raises a lot of fears.

Here’s one you might not have thought of yet: The Pentagon may be taking over more and more of our civil society in this crisis.

Back in 2002, President Bush created NorthCom, the Pentagon’s Northern Command, which has jurisdiction over the United States.

And NorthCom has been running preparedness drills in the event of a flu pandemic for at least the past three years.

Making things more alarming, NorthCom got assigned its own fighting unit six months ago—the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which had spent much of the last five years battling things out in Iraq.

The assignment of that fighting unit alarmed the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law,” said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel. Full Story

See: Why all the Hype, and What’s the Real Story on the Flu?

Swine Flu ‘Network of Genetic Engineers’

Mexican Flu Outbreak 2009: SPECIAL REPORT by Dr Leonard Horowitz

This unprecedented H1N1-H5N1 flu outbreak implicates the Ango-American Vaccine Pipeline, says world leading consumer health protector, Dr. Leonard Horowitz

Consider the skyrocketing stock values of Novavax, Inc., precipitated by dozens of alleged flu deaths in Mexico. Then investigate the leading Anglo-American network of genetic engineers manipulating, mutating, and distributing these viruses. The evidence compels you, for the benefit of public health and safety to seriously consider, even decree, a conspiracy to commit genocide, according to this Harvard trained expert in emerging diseases.

Here, Dr. Horowitz urges an investigation of Dr. James S. Robertson, Englands leading bioengineer of flu viruses for the vaccine industry, and avid promoter of U.S. Government funding for lucrative biodefense contracts, along with collaborators at the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). These suspects helped Novavax, Inc., in Bethesda, Maryland, produce genetically-modified recombinants of the avian, swine, and Spanish flu viruses, H5N1 and H1N1, nearly identical to the unprecedented Mexican virus that is allegedly spreading to the United States at the time of this posting. The outbreak was precisely timed to promote the companys new research and huge vaccine stockpiling contracts.

Scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are implicated through collaborations and publications involving private contracts with Novavax, a company that obtains its biosimulars through CDC Influenza Branch director, Ruben O. Donis, and Dr. Rick Bright, previously working with Donis at the CDC, now Novavaxs Vice President of Global Influenza Programs.

Descriptions of this virus is pathognomonic, or diagnostic, of a virus that came from Robertsons circle of friends, Dr. Horowitz charges. No other group in the world takes H5N1 Asian flu infected chickens, brings them to Europe, extracts their DNA, combines their proteins with H1N1 viruses from the 1918 Spanish flu isolate, additionally mixes in swine flu genes from pigs, then reverse engineers them to infect humans. The end product could only have ended up in Mexico via the United States from Britain in care of the CDC. The CDC had to have sent them to Novavax, where Rick Brights team is now implicated in a conspiracy to commit genocide—the mass killing of people for profit.

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

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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.

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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

Will the Swine Flu Provoke a Global Quarantine?

Interesting that Mexico City has shut down for ten days, yet air travel between the United States and Mexico is still permitted. If the flu is human-to-human contact, wouldn’t it make logical sense to close the airports in Mexico?

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Swine Flu Fears Prompt Global Quarantine Plans

Mexico’s Calderon Declares Emergency Amid Swine Flu Outbreak

Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an emergency in his country’s swine flu outbreak, giving him powers to order quarantines and suspend public events.

Authorities have canceled school at all levels in Mexico City and the state of Mexico until further notice, and the government has shut most public and government activities in the area. The emergency decree, published today in the state gazette, gives the president authority to take more action.

“The federal government under my charge will not hesitate a moment to take all, all the measures necessary to respond with efficiency and opportunity to this respiratory epidemic,” Calderon said today during a speech to inaugurate a hospital in the southern state of Oaxaca.

At least 20 deaths in Mexico from the disease are confirmed, Health Minister Jose Cordova said yesterday. The strain is a variant of H1N1 swine influenza that has also sickened at least eight people in California and Texas. As many as 68 deaths may be attributed to the virus in Mexico, and about 1,000 people in the Mexico City area are showing symptoms of the illness, Cordoba said.

Obama’s Visit

The first case was seen in Mexico on April 13. The outbreak coincided with the President Barack Obama’s trip to Mexico City on April 16. Obama was received at Mexico’s anthropology museum in Mexico City by Felipe Solis, a distinguished archeologist who died the following day from symptoms similar to flu, Reforma newspaper reported. The newspaper didn’t confirm if Solis had swine flu or not.

The Mexican government is distributing breathing masks to curtail the disease’s spread. There is no vaccine against the new strain of swine flu, health authorities said. Full Story

U.S. declares public health emergency as swine flu spreads

The United States government declared a public health emergency Sunday as the number of identified cases of swine flu in the nation rose to 20.

The declaration is part of a “standard operating procedure” that will make available additional government resources to combat the virus, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at the White House.

Additional cases of swine flu are expected to be reported in the coming days, added Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No one has died in the U.S. from swine flu, officials said Sunday.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said eight students at St. Francis Prepatory School in Queens have tested positive for swine flu. More than 100 students at the school were absent with flu-like symptoms last week, he said.

State public health officials in Ohio confirmed one case of swine flu on Sunday. There have been seven confirmed cases in California, two in Kansas, and two in Texas, Besser said.

The World Health Organization advised all countries to be on the lookout for “unusual” outbreaks of flu, after an emergency meeting Saturday as the seriousness of the outbreak became clear.

By Sunday, 81 deaths in Mexico had been deemed “likely linked” to swine flu. Viral testing has confirmed 20 cases, said Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Mexico’s health secretary.

In Mexico City, the massive downtown Cathedral of Mexico City was open but Masses were not scheduled. Dozens of worshippers put on masks and went inside the church anyway to pray on their own.

The H1N1 strain of swine flu is usually associated with pigs. When the flu spreads person-to-person, instead of from animals to humans, it can continue to mutate, making it a tougher strain that is harder to treat or fight off. Full Story

Venture capital firm set to reap rewards on swine flu

The swine flu outbreak is likely to benefit one of the most prolific and successful venture capital firms in the United States: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Thomson Reuters Private Equity Week reported on Friday.

Shares of the two public companies in the firm’s portfolio of eight Pandemic and Bio Defense companies — BioCryst Pharmaceuticals (BCRX.O) and Novavax (NVAX.O) — jumped Friday on news that the swine flu killed a reported 60 people in Mexico and has infected people in the United States.

The World Health Organization said the virus appears to be susceptible to Roche’s (ROG.VX) flu drug Tamiflu, also known as oseltamivir, but not to older flu drugs such as amantadine.

Shares of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG closed up 3.48 percent after falling sharply earlier in the week on a cancer drug disappointment, while shares of U.S. biotechnology company Gilead Sciences Inc (GILD.O), which gets royalties from Roche on Tamiflu sales, slipped 10 cents to $45.80 on Friday.

But BioCryst, a maker of drugs that block key enzymes in viral diseases, jumped more than 26 percent on Friday to $2.21 per share. Viral vaccine maker Novavax rose more than 75 percent to $1.42 per share. Full Story

Army: 3 vials of virus samples missing from Maryland facility

Missing vials of a potentially dangerous virus have prompted an Army investigation into the disappearance from a lab in Maryland.

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command agents have been visiting Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland, to investigate the disappearance of the vials. Christopher Grey, spokesman for the command, said this latest investigation has found “no evidence of criminal activity.”

The vials contained samples of Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis, a virus that sickens horses and can be spread to humans by mosquitoes. In 97 percent of cases, humans with the virus suffer flu-like symptoms, but it can be deadly in about 1 out of 100 cases, according to Caree Vander Linden, a spokeswoman for the Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. There is an effective vaccine for the disease and there hasn’t been an outbreak in the United States since 1971.

The vials had been at the research institute’s facility at Fort Detrick, home of the Army’s top biological research facility, for more than a decade. The three missing vials were among thousands of vials that were under the control of a senior scientist who retired in 2004. When another Fort Detrick scientist recently inventoried the retired scientist’s biological samples, he discovered that the three vials of the virus were missing. The original scientist’s records about his vials dated back to the days of paper-and-pen inventories. Full Story

Virus mix-up by lab could have resulted in pandemic

It’s emerged that virulent H5N1 bird flu was sent out by accident from an Austrian lab last year and given to ferrets in the Czech Republic

before anyone realised.

As well as the risk of it escaping into the wild, the H5N1 got mixed with a human strain, which might have spawned a hybrid that could unleash a pandemic.

Last December, the Austrian branch of US vaccine company Baxter sent a batch of ordinary human H3N2 flu, altered so it couldn’t replicate, to Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, also in Austria. In February, a lab in the Czech Republic working for Avir alerted Baxter that, unexpectedly, ferrets inoculated with the sample had died. It turned out the sample contained live H5N1, which Baxter uses to make vaccine. The two seem to have been mixed in error.

Markus Reinhard of Baxter says no one was infected because the H3N2 was handled at a high level of containment. But Ab Osterhaus of Erasmus University in the Netherlands says: “We need to go to great lengths to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen.”

Accidental release of a mixture of live H5N1 and H3N2 viruses could have resulted in dire consequences. While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

Baxter: Product contained live bird flu virus

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

Mexico flu: Your experiences

Readers in Mexico have been emailing the BBC describing the sense of fear gripping the country as a result of a flu virus outbreak, which has so far claimed more than 80 lives.

The World Health Organization says the virus has the potential to become a pandemic.

Read a selection of BBC readers’ comments below.

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here. Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

I am a doctor and I work in the State of Mexico. I don’t work in the shock team; I am in the echocardiography team, but I do get some news from my colleagues in the hospital. There have been some cases of young people dying from respiratory infections, but this happened before the alert and they were not reported because the necessary tests weren’t done. We doctors knew this was happening a week before the alert was issued and were told to get vaccinated. I went to buy some anti-virals for my husband, who is also a doctor, because he had contact with a young patient who presented influenza symptoms and died. I don’t think pharmacies stock enough anti-virals.

I understand the government doesn’t want to generate panic, but my personal opinion is that they issued the alert too late. Still now, the population is not getting the information they need. We have been out in the street and some people are not wearing face masks and are not taking any preventive measures. Guadalupe, Mexico City

Read Reader Experiences

Obama Pumping Billions of Dollars into ‘War on Islam’

Obama: U.S. ‘Not at War With Islam’

Obama seeks $83.4 billion in special war money

President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Obama’s request, including money to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion

since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.

Obama is also requesting $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan.

“Nearly 95 percent of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future — and work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, acknowledged that Obama has been critical of Bush’s use of similar special legislation to pay for the wars. He said it was needed this time because the money will be required by summer, before Congress is likely to complete its normal appropriations process…

…Some Democrats were not pleased.

“This funding will do two things — it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011, and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely,” said anti-war Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. “Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts.” Full Story

Night-time raid on home leaves five civilians dead