It's a talk by Laurie Garrett, from the Council on Foreign Relations, from 2007. She discusses lessons learned from the 1918 Spanish flu (that also derived from birds) and how that knowledge can help formulate plans for the possible H5N1 bird flu pandemic. (I'll put her bio in footnotes.1)
A few things I learned from this video:
- Curiously, 100% of pregnant women who were infected with the 1918 Spanish flu died. They don't know why.
- There were two (or three?) waves of the Spanish flu. The first wave was considered "mild"...
"The 1918 Spanish flu virus went around the world in a mild enough form that the British army, in World War I, actually certified that it was not a threat and it would not affect the outcome of the war. After circulating around the world again it came back in a form that was tremendously lethal."
- Re: Tamiflu - Only about 20% of what we takes gets used by the body. The rest gets excreted, enters the environment, is taken up by waterfowl, and encourages the virus to mutate to a strain that is resistant to, you guessed it - Tamiflu:
"When a human being ingests Tamiflu only 20% is metabolized appropriately to be an active compound in the human being, the rest turns into a stable compound which survives filtration into the water systems thereby exposing the very aquatic birds that would carry flu and providing them a chance to breed resistant strains. We now have seen Tamiflu resistant strain in Vietnam."Also, regarding Tamiflu, no nation had enough stockpiled (in 2007) to cover their populations for more than a few weeks, and the virus is likely to remain present, in some form, for 18 to 24 months. (Do we really want to be taking Tamiflu every day for 2 years?)