A universal flu vaccine

Wired reports: Today, independent teams reported inScience and Nature Medicine how they’ve tinkered with a piece of viral protein so it can teach immune systems—in this case, in mice, ferrets, and monkeys—to fight whole groups of viruses rather than just a single strain. “It’s a great first step in the road for generating a universal…

Lifetime protection aganst the flu?

The Atlantic has an interesting article about recent efforts to create a flu vaccine that protects patients against influenza for decades, or even their entire lifetime. Currently, the flu vaccine helps the body produce antibodies that attack influenza surface proteins. The problem is that the flu is quick learner; it readily mutates ts surface proteins…

Should health care providers be compelled to work during declared public health emergencies?

Carl Coleman say no.   Working during a pandemic is a supererogatory behavior — i.e., acts that are commendable if done voluntarily, but that go beyond what is expected.  Coleman argues that “…while health care professionals can legitimately be sanctioned for violating voluntarily-assumed employment or contractual agreements, they should not be compelled to assume life-threatening risks…

Flu Surveillance

Google searches as a public health resource: Google.org has released Flu Trends, an online reporting tool for flu-related search activity. It’s long been theorized that Google’s search data would be useful to predict epidemics. This is the first time they’ve released a tool like this to the public. As they say on the main page: We have found a…