"Quigley Corp. said Thursday its herpes treatment was not effective in treating infections of the eye in an animal model, but that the drug maker's Quigley Pharma unit will pursue other uses for the treatment. The company said animal tests to gauge the effectiveness of QR-435 against Herpes Keratitis, when the herpes simplex virus infects the eye, showed that the treatment did not remain in the eye long enough to penetrate the cells to get to the virus. The treatment has eliminated the virus on direct contact in other studies."
Good news for me, though! I've always secretly wanted to get herpes of the eye so I could wear an eyepatch and look badass like James Joyce. Of course, it would only be fun in one eye, total blindness isn't very badass. I suppose I should be careful for what I wish for...
On another personal note, my family had a one-eyed cat for about 6 years (we named him Jack, of course). He was a black long-haired Himalayan who had Herpes Keratitis, we rescued him from the shelter. Unfortunately about two years ago it finally came back and hit his other eye. Cats, unlike dogs, can't live very well blind. They generally just sit in one place and eventually die of starvation if you don't force feed them. We had him put down; he was the kind of cat who owned the neighborhood and took down both prey and rivals with impunity. We knew that the life of a blind cat was no life for him and knew he did not want that misery. Poor guy.
PS: There's still no major news source reporting the test results of the Vietnamese family... The source I cited might be fake news...
Sunday, December 31, 2006
From Daily News and Analysis:
"HANOI: A Vietnamese family has tested negative for bird flu, a health official said on Sunday, after their hospital admission with respiratory ailments had sparked fears of a resurgence in human infections.
The mother and her three children fell ill a week earlier after eating a chicken that had died on their farm in Ca Mau, one of three southern provinces where the H5N1 strain of the virus has killed poultry this month.
But tests at Ho Chi Minh City's Pasteur Institute found that the family was not infected with the avian influenza virus, which between 2003 and 2005 killed 42 people in Vietnam, said the institute's Dr Phan Van Tu.
"All four people, the mother and her three children from Ca Mau province, on Saturday tested negative for the H5N1 virus," Tu said.
"They were suffering normal pneumonia."
A whole family comes down with pneumonia at the same time? How cold do those Vietnamese winters get? I have a feeling they'll be redoing the tests if the family's condition worsens.
I'm hoping the tests are true, though, and that the hospitals in Ca Mau are warm and dry.
INVESTIGATIVE EDIT: The high temperature yesterday in Cau Mau, Vietnam was a frosty 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Perfect conditions for a chest cold to settle in and grow nasty, right??
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/31/2006
"Hanoi: Four members of a Vietnamese family have been hospitalized with symptoms of bird flu after eating sick chickens in the country's south, where the disease re-emerged in poultry earlier this month.
If confirmed, they would be the first reported human infections from the H5N1 bird flu virus in Vietnam since late 2005.
The mother and her three children, aged between 3 and 13, all suffered from high fever, coughing and lung infection. They are being treated at Nam Can Hospital in the southern province of Ca Mau.
"Their samples have been sent for bird flu tests in Ho Chi Minh City and results should be available soon," an official at the Ca Mau Provincial Animal Health Department said yesterday.
Bird flu has killed 42 of the 93 people infected in Vietnam."
Either this family is really really stupid, or really really poor. I'm thinking its the latter. If I was one meal away from starving to death I'd risk eating sick chicken. A 50% chance of dying from bird flu is still better odds than the 100% chance of dying of hunger.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/31/2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
From the Cincinnati Post:
"DAYTON, Ohio - A man accused of putting envelopes containing a white powder inside about 30 residential mailboxes was identified from an image taken by a grocery store security camera.
Brian Beeson, 25, of Centerville, made his first court appearance Tuesday on federal charges of threatening to use a biological weapon and threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Federal agents have accused Beeson of placing the envelopes in residential roadside mailboxes last week in Centerville, Miami Township and Washington Township.
The outside of the envelopes said "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," "You're a winner," and "Just for you," while greeting cards inside contained the powder and messages such as "Now you are sick," "Enough to infect you" and "You're infected," the FBI said.
One of the envelopes was found at the home of Beeson's mother, Yevetta Castiglione, FBI Special Agent Michael Wiggins said in the affidavit for search and arrest warrants filed in federal court.
Tests on the powder determined it was not dangerous, the FBI said.
The greeting cards, made by Hallmark, could be purchased at several stores in the Dayton area. A customer at a Kroger in Centerville bought two packages of the greeting cards and a pack of 10 disposable gloves Dec. 18, the day before the first card was found in a mailbox, Wiggins said in the affidavit.
U.S. attorneys said they will ask for a mental examination of Beeson, who faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted."
Wow... Brian Beeson. Sounds like a real nice guy! I hope he gets at least some prison time for such a mean-spirited and cruel stunt.
Which reminds me about the main intent of terrorists, to terrorize. If baking powder will do the trick why spend the money on real anthrax?
The question is, why did he buy the gloves? Did he think he had the real deal? If so he certainly is in a whole heap of trouble.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/29/2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Report from Bloomberg:
"Bird flu killed three members of a family in Egypt, pushing the number of fatalities worldwide this year to 79, more than reported in the previous three years combined.
The Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population confirmed that the H5N1 strain of avian influenza had infected the three, who belong to an extended family in Gharbiyah province, 80 kilometers (50 miles), northwest of the capital, Cairo, the World Health Organization said in a statement yesterday.
The patients had all been in contact with sick ducks, WHO said. Egypt has struggled to control H5N1 outbreaks in poultry, first reported in February, leading to at least 18 human cases, including 10 deaths.
Diseased birds increase the opportunities for human infection and provide chances for H5N1 to mutate into a form more dangerous to people. Millions could die if H5N1 becomes easily transmissible between people, sparking a lethal pandemic.
The H5N1 virus is known to have infected 261 people in 10 countries in the past three years, killing 157 of them, WHO said yesterday. Last year, 42 fatalities were confirmed, after 32 in 2004 and four in 2003. Six of every 10 reported cases have been fatal and a majority of cases has occurred among children and young adults.
Since July, 26 human cases have been reported in four countries, compared with 88 infections in eight countries in the first half of the year.
"In the second half of 2006, there was a steep decline in the number of case reports, although similar declines occurred in 2004 and 2005, but were then followed by resurgences," the influenza team at the European Centre for Disease Surveillance and Control in Stockholm wrote in a Dec. 21 report in Eurosurveillance Weekly.
Females are over-represented among H5N1 patients aged 10-29 years, possibly because it is usually young people and women who look after domestic poultry, the influenza team said.
Indonesia, with 74 human H5N1 cases to date, including 57 fatalities, is the country worst affected by the virus. Outside Asia, Egypt has the most cases."
Yep. Counting up all three years H5N1 has been active in human populations we get a global mortality rate of ~60%.
In Egypt the mortality rate is around 44%, and Indonesia has a rate sitting around 77%.
It's quite clear to me that this is something to be worried about. I don't know how anyone can spin this situation in any way other than "god-damned frightening."
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/28/2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
"CAIRO (Reuters) - A 26-year-old Egyptian man died of bird flu on Wednesday, the third member of his extended family to die of the virus, a World Health Organization (WHO) official told Reuters.
Brick factory worker Rida Farid Abdel Halim from the Nile Delta province of Gharbia had been in hospital for 10 days, Hassan el-Bushra, WHO regional adviser for communicable diseases surveillance, said. The province is some 80 km (50 miles) north of Cairo.
It was the 10th death from bird flu in Egypt since an outbreak of the virus started in February. Bushra said Egypt had no other bird flu patients receiving treatment. Eight Egyptians had contracted the disease and recovered.
A 15-year-old girl from the factory worker's family died on Monday and a female relative died the day before, raising concerns about the possibility of human-to-human transmission.
The man showed symptoms of the disease on December 14 and was admitted to a rural hospital three days later. He started receiving Tamiflu treatment on December 20 after a second case appeared in his family and the medical staff learned that he may have come into contact with poultry, Bushra said."
Tamiflu's not working in Egypt or Indonesia.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/27/2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
"Dec. 26 -- Bird flu killed a woman in northern Egypt as authorities attempt to eradicate the lethal virus that infected two other members of the woman's family. The infection killed a teenage girl in Cairo, Agence France-Presse reported.
The woman from Zifta, in the northern province of Gharbia, had been in contact with infected poultry, Egypt's Ministry of Health said in a statement on its Web site today. Fowl kept by the family and neighbors have been culled, and people in contact with the birds are being tested, the ministry said in a separate statement on Dec. 24.
A 15-year-old girl died from the H5N1 strain of avian flu in a Cairo hospital, AFP reported yesterday. She was transferred from a hospital in the Nile delta province of Garbiya, where she was admitted Dec. 20, AFP said.
World health experts are trying to control the H5N1 virus, which risks infecting humans and mutating to become more contagious. A virus that spreads among people as easily as seasonal flu could spark a deadly pandemic capable of killing millions of people, health authorities have said.
The H5N1 strain is known to have infected 258 people in 10 countries during the past three years, killing 154 of them, the World Health Organization said on Nov. 29, when it reported the last fatality.
Avian flu has infected 19 people in Egypt -- including the four cases recorded during the past week -- killing nine of them. Infections in Egyptian poultry were reported for the first time in February.
All of the nine fatalities in Egypt have been female, suggesting women are more at risk of avian flu than men, the United Nations' Integrated Regional Information Network reported yesterday."
It seems more likely that it the sexual disparity is due to women being more likely to handle the families dead poultry than men. At least here in the states I know that chicken slaughter is usually done by the female head of the household.
I must confess, however, I don't know much about gender roles in domestic animal slaughter in Egypt.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/26/2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Here's some more hot hot Prof. Boyle allegations, from OpEdNews:
"The perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attack on Congress likely was a government scientist employed at the Army's Ft. Detrick, Md., bioterrorism lab having access to a "moonsuit" that made it possible to safely process and manufacture super-weapons-grade anthrax, a bioterrorism authority says.
Although only a "handful" of scientists had the ability to perpetrate the crime, the culprit, or culprits, among them may never be identified as the FBI ordered the destruction of the anthrax culture collection at Ames, Ia., from which the Ft. Detrick lab got its pathogens, the authority said.
This action made it impossible "to pin-point precisely where, when, and from whom these bio-agents had originated," said Dr. Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois at Champaign. It was Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention.
Boyle says destruction of the Ames anthrax "appears to be a cover-up orchestrated by the FBI."
Calls for comment to two FBI press offices in Washington, D.C., on this charge were not returned. Members of the Senate have been pressing the FBI for additional information on its investigation, thought to be ongoing.
If impartial scientists could have performed genetic reconstruction of the anthrax found in letters mailed to Senators Daschle(D-S.D.) and Patrick Leahy, (D -Vt.), "the trail of genetic evidence would have led directly back to a secret but officially-sponsored U.S. government biowarfare program that was illegal and criminal" in violation of biological weapons conventions and U.S. laws, Boyle said.
"I believe the FBI knows exactly who was behind these terrorist anthrax attacks upon the United States Congress in the Fall of 2001, and that the culprits were U.S. government-related scientists involved in a criminal U.S. government biowarfare program," Boyle said."
Ok, Boyle's conspiracy is lost on me. Sure, "Weapons-grade Anthrax" was born in America (or Germany, by some accounts). But seriously, it's the Soviet SKS of the bioweapons world. I'd imagine any nation or terrorist organization with access to bioweapons has in it's arsenal some anthrax of the variety originally perfected by the American Dr. William Hagan, dubbed "Hagan's Best" (as if it were a prized strain of pipe tobacco...).
It's just not that hard to get a hold of weapons-grade anthrax, and there's no need for a terrorist organization to produce some itself. Whether or not Ft. Detrick is still producing the stuff, I seriously doubt a DOD attack on congress would consist of powder mailed via envelope. That's really really simplistic and points directly to an, albeit professional, non-national terrorist organization.
I think Boyle's passion for exposing America's "secret" bioweapons program is clouding his history; powdered deadly anthrax was all over the place post WWII and even more so during the cold war. The stuff sent to congress really could have come from anywhere.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/23/2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
From the Middle East Times:
"WASHINGTON -- In violation of the US Code and international law, the Bush administration is illegally developing offensive germ warfare capabilities on an unprecedented scale. In fact, it is spending more on such weapons (in inflation-adjusted dollars) than the $2 billion spent on the "Manhattan Project" that made the atomic bomb in World War II.
So says Francis Boyle, the professor of international law who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by Congress. He states the Pentagon "is now gearing up to fight and 'win' biological warfare" pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted without "public knowledge and review" in 2002.
The Pentagon's Chemical and Biological Defense Program was revised in 2003 to implement those directives, endorsing "first-use" strike of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) in war, says Boyle, who teaches at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
Terming the action "the proverbial smoking gun," Boyle said the mission of the controversial CBW program "has been altered to permit development of offensive capability in chemical and biological weapons!"
The same directives, Boyle writes in his book Biowarfare and Terrorism, "unconstitutionally usurp and nullify the right and the power of the United States Congress to declare war in gross and blatant violation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution."
For fiscal years 2001-04, the Federal government funded $14.5 billion "for ostensibly 'civilian' biowarfare-related work alone," a "truly staggering" sum, Boyle wrote. Another $5.6 billion was voted for "the deceptively-named 'Project BioShield,'" under which Homeland Security is stockpiling vaccines and drugs to fight anthrax, smallpox, and other bioterror agents, Boyle wrote. Protection of the civilian population is, he said, "one of the fundamental requirements for effectively waging biowarfare."
The Washington Post reported December 12 both houses of Congress this month passed legislation "considered by many to be an effort to salvage the two-year-old Project BioShield, which has been marked by delays and operational problems." When President Bush signs it, the law will allocate $1 billion more over three years for new research "to pump more money into the private sector sooner."
"The enormous amounts of money" purportedly dedicated to "civilian defense" that is now "dramatically and increasingly" being spent, Boyle writes, "betrays this administration's effort to be able to embark on offensive campaigns using biowarfare."
Boyle said Federal spending has co-opted and diverted the US biotech industry to biowarfare, pouring huge sums into university and private sector laboratories. According to Rutgers University molecular biologist Richard Ebright, over 300 scientific institutions and 12,000 individuals today have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare and terrorism. At the same time, Ebright found, the number of grants by the National Institute of Health to research infectious diseases with biowarfare potential has shot up from 33 in the 1995 to 2000 period to 497.
Academic biowarfare participation involving the abuse of DNA genetic engineering since the late 1980s has become "patently obvious," Boyle said. "American universities have a long history of willingly permitting their research agendas, researchers, institutes, and laboratories to be co-opted, corrupted, and perverted by the Pentagon and the CIA."
Ok so the guy has some nice corroborating evidence but no real proof. Down here in the choir that Boyle is fortunately not preaching to, we know that all US biological defense research has been "dual-use," ever since the end of WWII.
It is rather illegal, however, to develop new strains of pathogens for the sole purpose of testing their capabilities as a biological weapon. Even under the guise of biodefense, offensive biologicals are not permitted by Geneva, and a host of other international treaties. Why this has gone on for over 50 years without the US Presidents who OK'ed these programs getting hit by an international war crimes tribunal is simple: we have nukes and bundles of cash, m'kay?
So we know that the University of Iowa is covering mumps and norovirus, I wonder what the other big biotech schools are up to?
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/19/2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
It's been very quiet this season. Did it just decide to go away on its own? Cause, ya know, viruses love nothing more then to not replicate... More likely, the mass culling, vaccinations and "overprotective" measures helped curb the bastard.
Of course, there's always those select few who don't understand the concept of cause and effect, so here's a pontificating retard (Michael Fumento) from CBS for you to enjoy:
"It's that time of year again — avian flu panic season. As the weather turns colder in the Northern Hemisphere and the flu starts making its annual rounds, the media and their anointed health experts are chirping and squawking once again about how we could be blindsided by a pandemic that some have estimated could kill a billion persons worldwide. New books like "The Coming Avian Flu Pandemic" join last year's "The Monster at Our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu."
A year ago in these pages I clucked at all this, laying out the evidence that the alarmists were wrong, that avian influenza type H5N1 would not become readily transmissible from human to human and therefore not become pandemic — meaning a global epidemic. (See "Fuss and Feathers: Pandemic Panic over the Avian Flu," November 21, 2005.)
Some of the arguments I made have quietly caught on. For instance, health officials, including National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci, no longer talk about an "overdue pandemic" (because there is no pattern to when pandemics occur; they are never "due" or "overdue"). But the damage has been done.
A Harvard School of Public Health survey of adults who have children revealed that 44 percent think it "likely" or "somewhat likely" there will be "cases of bird flu among humans in the U.S. during the next 12 months." Less than a fifth of respondents considered it "not at all" likely.
Not coincidentally, an avian flu bureaucracy has become entrenched. Like all bureaucracies, it will fight to survive and thrive, egging on governments to provide ever more money. The alarmingly titled 2006 Guide to Surviving Bird Flu is published by no less than the Department of Health and Human Services. Never mind that no one in this country has yet even contracted bird flu. Congress last year allocated $3.8 billion to prevent the ballyhooed catastrophe (Bush requested almost twice that amount).
The latest "scary news," promulgated in the November 23 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine by über-alarmist Robert Webster of St. Jude Memorial Children's Hospital, is that human cases of H5N1 contracted from birds are continuing to increase. Indeed, confirmed cases for 2006 are running ahead of those for last year.
But the difference is slight; 97 worldwide for all of last year versus 111 through the end of November 2006. This difference could be entirely explained by better surveillance. Moreover, the real concern is not sporadic bird-to-human transmission, but human-to-human transmission. Far more people die of tuberculosis in an hour than all those known to have died from H5N1.
So it's time to revisit the allegations and show that, as small as the risk was a year ago, it's nevertheless dropped considerably since.
. . . "
His self-inflated fallacy-ridden blabber continues for sometime. Yes, I'm sure that a columnist for the CBS news website has far more advanced knowledge about the threat of avian influenza than the New England Journal of Medicine.
Hey guys, no one in America has gotten H5N1, there's obviously no risk!!
All the scientists and virologists and public health experts are just trying to make you buy into the culture of fear! That's why Mike Davis, avid critic of the culture of fear, wrote a book about the bird flu! He's just a janus-faced Bushite!
Look, H5N1 isn't some made up concept designed to keep you inside watching your television, and the fact that it's seemingly been suppressed is good news and shows that our response to its threat did something, not proof that it was a bogeyman.
I may be a bit reactionary and paranoid, but at least I can truthfully say that my bills are not paid by people who make money via patenting DNA and suing farmers.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/18/2006
... in Europe. The States will have to wait, I guess. From MedIndia:
"London – 'Daronrix', Glaxo's bird-flu vaccine, will hold a pride of place in the annals of preventive medicine, to be the first experimental bird-flu vaccine to receive certification by the European Medicines Agency, for its use in protecting people in the event of a bird-flu pandemic.
This first generation vaccine can be used only after the WHO or the European Union officially declares a pandemic.
A second –generation vaccine has also been conceived by the same company, Glaxo, and work is underway to study the effects of the vaccine in combating the H5N1 virus strain. The product is slated to go in for approval in the subsequent weeks. This second generation vaccine is intended to strengthen the immune system, as a preventive measure against an imminent pandemic.
The vaccine is doubly beneficial as it has been developed necessitating lesser quantity of antigen to elicit a powerful immune response, which will allow the production of the vaccine in huge quantities, especially beneficial during mass vaccination programmes."
Great news all-in-all, but I'm a little worried about the second-gen vaccine's "immune system boosting" effects. I was under that impression that a strong immune system is what leads to death from H5N1 - aka, the cytokine storm. Perhaps just a bit of bad reporting?
In other news, as of the end of this week President Bush still hasn't signed the bio-bill into law. My guess is that he is waiting until he's crafted a nice little signing statement to make the DHS more included.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/18/2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
"The disease prevention non-profit group Trust for America's Health (TFAH) Tuesday released the fourth annual "Ready or Not? Protecting the Public's Health from Disease, Disasters, and Bioterrorism," report which found that five years after the September 11th and anthrax tragedies, emergency health preparedness is still inadequate in America.
The "Ready or Not?" report contains state-by-state health preparedness scores based on 10 key indicators to assess health emergency preparedness capabilities. All 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia were evaluated. Half of states scored six or less on the scale of 10 indicators. Oklahoma scored the highest with 10 out of 10; California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Jersey scored the lowest with four out of 10. States with stronger surge capacity capabilities and immunization programs scored higher in this year's report, since four of the measures focus on these areas.
"The nation is nowhere near as prepared as we should be for bio-terrorism, bird flu, and other health disasters," said Jeff Levi, PhD, Executive Director of TFAH. "We continue to make progress each year, but it is limited. As a whole, Americans face unnecessary and unacceptable levels of risk."
For the state-by-state scoring, states received one point for achieving an indicator or zero points if they did not achieve the indicator, therefore zero is the lowest possible overall score and 10 the highest. The data for the public health indicators are from publicly available sources or public officials in 2006.
Among the key findings:
- Only 15 states are rated at the highest preparedness level to provide emergency vaccines, antidotes, and medical supplies from the Strategic National Stockpile
- Twenty-five states would run out of hospital beds within two weeks of a moderate pandemic flu outbreak
- Forty states face a shortage of nurses
- Rates for vaccinating seniors for the seasonal flu decreased in 13 states
- Eleven states and D.C. lack sufficient capabilities to test for biological threats
- Four states do not test year-round for the flu, which is necessary to monitor for a pandemic outbreak
- Six states cut their public health budgets from fiscal year (FY) 2005 to 2006; the median rate for state public health spending is $31 per person per year"
Woooo! America! Best Healthcare system in the world! Unless you're sick, that is. How many wake-up calls do the general public need before they stop hitting the snooze button on major healthcare reform in this country?
Look, it's this simple: imagine a system where everything is separated and information and access is handled completely differently in every compartment of the system, patchwork bridges have been built with many large gaps one must jump over to get to another part of the system, there is no communication between components and you only get what you want if you shell out about $300-$500 dollars a month for a service you rarely use anyway. This is how healthcare "works" in America.
Its a monstrosity of complex work-arounds that just don't quite work-around. Also figure in the fact that those least able to advocate for themselves get the lowest quality care, and doctors are told by financial institutions what medicines they are allowed to prescribe (insurance companies are nothing more than banks that invest in human frailty instead of money markets).
God better bless America, it needs some serious help.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/15/2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
"Lawmakers approved legislation early Saturday morning creating a Health and Human Services agency aimed at the prevention of bioterrorism, in a move that continues to delegate to HHS more responsibility in preparing for and responding to a potential biological attack.
The Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, which now awaits President Bush's signature, would authorize more than $5 billion for biomedical research projects and would allow funds for vaccine research and development. The measure would clarify that the HHS secretary would assume the lead role in the event of a bioterrorist attack or disease outbreak, and essentially would relegate the Homeland Security Department to a supporting role.
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said the legislation "supports our efforts to improve coordination of preparedness and response programs across the department."
The new agency within HHS would be called the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. The bill authorizes $1 billion for the agency.
The bill reauthorizes the 2002 Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act, which was passed as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
A White House spokeswoman said that as of Wednesday afternoon, President Bush had not signed it."--------------------------------------
He's too busy clearing brush and fishing, I'm sure. You'd think he'd be all over this, creating new agencies is kind of his thing. Except, this time it would be under the control of the HHS, not the DHS. He'd better not pocket veto this thing because it snubs his precious little dog-and-pony show of a secret police force.
I just hope they get whoever makes the DOD's websites to do BARDA's, cause HHS pages tend to be a bunch of royal blue on pale yellow snooze fests. With a name like Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, it deserves a weapons grade web design.
"U.S. Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was in critical but stable condition Thursday after undergoing late-night brain surgery, creating uncertainty over the Democrats' tenuous hold over the incoming Senate.
The U.S. Capitol physician said Johnson suffered from bleeding in the brain caused by a congenital malformation present from birth. Doctors had to drain the blood that had accumulated in Johnson's brain and stop continued bleeding.
"The senator is recovering without complication," Adm. John Eisold, the physician, told reporters. "It is premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long-term prognosis."
Most likely proximate cause: ruptured cerebral aneurism (grade III from the sound of it).
As for the term "congenital malformation," the press is usually really bad with this stuff, so I really don't know if they just mean "general birth defect" or an actual physiological deformation present in the Senator's cranium.
I think it's either thrombocytopenia or a cerebral arteriovenous malformation.
Guess I jumped the gun on the whole "Bushites murder a Democratic Senator" bit... Unless...
Unless... they traveled back in time, force fed Senator Johnson's mother loads of thiazides while pregnant, then had Karl Rove jump through the time vortex at several points throughout the Senator's life to make sure he went unaffected by his congenital defect until the critical point of 2006, where he uses a supersonic EMP device to rupture the 60-year-old man's cerebral blood vessels and thus WIN BACK CONTROL OF THE SENATE.
I think I've been watching too much Dr. Who lately.
From the New York Times:
"WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 — Senator Tim Johnson, a Democrat from South Dakota, was hospitalized today after what his office at first called a “possible stroke,” leading to concern among Democrats that their new one-vote majority in the Senate could be in danger.
By the end of the day, after what his office called “a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team” at George Washington University Hospital here, a spokeswoman for Mr. Johnson said that he had not suffered a stroke or a heart attack. The spokeswoman, Julianne Fisher, gave no further details about Mr. Johnson’s medical condition.
His office said that Mr. Johnson, who will turn 60 on Dec. 28, became disoriented during a conference call with reporters at midday. He stuttered, then seemed to recover before asking if there were more questions and then ending the call.
He walked back to his office, where he was examined by the Capitol physician, who decided that Mr. Johnson should be seen at the hospital. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance around noon.
On Capitol Hill, the news highlighted the fragility of the Democrat’s new majority in the Senate. If Mr. Johnson’s health problems are serious enough that he is not able to serve, his replacement would be named by South Dakota’s Republican governor, Mike Rounds.
Assuming that Mr. Rounds named a Republican, the 51-49 Democratic majority in the new Senate would become a 50-50 split between the two parties, allowing Vice President Dick Cheney to break the tie, effectively giving Republicans control of the chamber."
Disorientation is the only given symptom, not a clear diagnosis of much. There was no mention of muscle weakness or physical sensations. Is the Bush regime "pulling a Putin" in order to wrest back control of the Senate? Seems easy enough - choose a low profile Dem with a Republican as his back up, give him some equine encephalitis and BAM, you just gave Bush back his mandate.
I don't know how paranoid to be these days. Biologicals aren't even necessary though, as pointed out by Michael Moore:
"A rival can decide to discredit you at a major event. Have a big presentation or important appearance where it’s critical that you look good? Imagine sudden disorientation, a blank mind and being unable to put one intelligent sentence after another. Your adversaries can do this to you with electronic weaponry.
The technology to do all this is available today. Lethal directed energy microwave devices exist, so does sonic weaponry, ELF, extremely low frequency microwave. It’s real and not science fiction. And it’s in the hands of organized crime and hate groups who use it at will with devastating results."
And what about evil splinter sects within the Republican party who want nothing more but to get very rich off of oil and war profiteering?
Watch poor Senator Johnson die and under unusual circumstances no autopsy is performed.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Looks like a lot of lawmakers had the same ideas I did about the FDA getting in the way of developing crucial biodefence drugs and vaccines, as the "bio-bill" has this juicy new proposal:
"After two years of delays, Congress is poised to pass biodefense legislation in December that would create a new federal agency to speed development of drugs for an array of infectious diseases that are bioterror threats.
That prospect has scientists and biotechnology entrepreneurs anticipating a resurgence of government-sponsored research that could significantly benefit the public by producing drugs that counter not just a single biological threat, but whole classes of viruses as well, from anthrax and Ebola to influenza and hepatitis.
The bill that would establish the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, was passed unanimously by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives in September. The Senate's new Democratic majority leader, Harry M. Reid of Nevada, has called the legislation a priority for the December lame-duck session of Congress.
The broader social implication of BARDA, and its proposed $1 billion fund, is the promise of breakthroughs in the treatment of infectious diseases, research that pharmaceutical companies have largely abandoned in the past two decades."
Mark this as the first SuperStrain post to use the topic "BARDA"!!
I'm glad this has bi-partisan approval, I was afraid the GOP's ties to big-pharma was going to make this a no-go.
Posted by Frobisher Smith at 12/05/2006