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Quebec Takes Action Against Pandemic Influenza

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  • Quebec Takes Action Against Pandemic Influenza

    Hat tip Senior Moderator Muscade

    translated via google tools

    On Monday, 11 August 2008

    $ 50 million against bird flu


    Jean-François Cliche

    Le Soleil

    Quebec

    In addition to reserves of Tamiflu vaccines already formed, the Quebec government is preparing to invest an additional $ 50 million in its preparations against a possible pandemic of avian influenza, told The Sun. These are used to stockpile antibiotics to combat the "secondary infections, such as pneumonia, which often accompany the influenza virus.

    A year ago, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has assembled a team of experts to draw up a list of drugs - other than vaccines - which could be scarce during a pandemic influenza. "And here it is a step to establish a reserve of drugs that have been identified. Purchases must begin in the fall and we will have a gradual build-up of the reserve, "said Dominic Belanger, a pharmacist DHSS who sits on the committee preparing for a possible pandemic.

    "It's an exercise that is not easy, he says, because the threat is not clearly defined contours. The virus, we do not know well, there is not yet (in a form that is transmitted from one human to another). "Additionally, several different types of antibiotics should be stored," because We do not know in advance what bacteria or viruses will be opportunistic. "

    According to Pierre Laflamme, coordinator of the Committee for the DHSS on the pandemic, purchases spread over "12 to 18 months and will involve expenditures" on the order of $ 50 million. It was also considered the lifetime of drugs and signed agreements to make sure that always have enough, "he adds.

    This is made all the more necessary to reduce the cost of their operations, hospitals manage their reserves of medicines on the model "just in time" - ie they keep inventories relatively low and deliver what they need "just in time".

    Moreover, said Robert Day, professor of pharmacology at the University of Sherbrooke who works precisely on a drug against avian influenza (see other text) the flu vaccine available at this time, Tamiflu, "is useful, but has its limits. (…) We should give very early in the viral infection, within 48 hours or within the first few days. Afterwards, the amount of virus replication and become very difficult to stop. "

    But those who catch the flu must often fight with other invaders, then called "secondary infections", taking advantage of the momentary weakness of the immune system to attack, causing pneumonia, for example, says Day. Then other medicines to treat new infection - antibiotics for bacteria and viruses to antiviral drugs - and it is these drugs whose MSSS feared missing in the event of a pandemic.

    If tens of millions of people worldwide contracted the H5N1 influenza strain known at the same time, many risk of contracting secondary infections, which increase the demand for certain drugs.

    More dangerous

    Note that these opportunistic microbes can do the same, if not more damage than the flu itself. By the way, in the scientific journal Emerging Infectious Disease of this month, two American researchers focus on the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919, which killed between 20 and 100 million people around the world, and conclude that Influenza itself "has made limited damage and rarely fatal (but) allowed strains of bacteria produce very deadly pneumonia."

    However, and unfortunately, it seems that the H5N1 strain is virulent enough to claim this work alone. Mr. Day pointed out that victims of bird flu have received antibiotic treatment, but they were not enough to save them.

    A new antiviral developed in Quebec

    The tablets of Tamiflu (Gallery Sun)
    Larger image

    The tablets of Tamiflu
    Gallery Soleil

    The next response that science reserve the avian flu could come from Quebec. Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Sherbrooke, Robert Day has just received a grant of $ 770 000 Ministry of Economic Development, Innovation and Exports (MDEIE) and other "partners" for the "pre-" d A new antiviral promising.

    The approach of Mr. Day is quite different from those used so far in the fight against influenza. "Instead of attacking the virus directly (as does the famous Tamiflu), has developed some prototypes that would give armor cells," Day said in a telephone interview. In other words, the strategy would be to prevent the flu virus from entering cells in the lungs, where it multiplies.

    More effective than tamiflu?

    The new avenue, he believes, could be even more effective than Tamiflu - yet that a combination of both would be feasible, he says. In addition, the virus will likely find it difficult to adapt to this tactic, while "When we attack the virus itself, it can change its shape and avoid medicine" fairly quickly.

    "We are at the stage of" improvement "of this molecule," says Day. (…) As regards the possible medication, it will surely be built and operated largely in Quebec. "

    http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20.../6584/CPSOLEIL
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