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" NEW YORK – Esti Lamonaca's illness started with a high fever, a cough and achy bones, just a couple of days after she returned from a spring break trip on the beach in Cancun with friends. By the weekend, her voice was hoarse and she was wearing a surgical mask.
More than half of the flu viruses that have been analyzed in the U.S. this season are of the H1N1 strain, said Joseph Bresee, chief of influenza epidemiology and prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Virtually all the H1N1 viruses the agency has tested, 72 of 73, are Tamiflu-resistant, he said.
The Geneva-based agency has been stockpiling doses of Roche Holding's Tamiflu, known generically as oseltamivir, a pill that can both treat flu and prevent infection.
The new virus, not previously detected in pigs or humans, has proved sensitive to the drug, the WHO said in a statement.
The CDC says two flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, seem effective against the new strain. Roche, the maker of Tamiflu, said the company is prepared to immediately deploy a stockpile of the drug if requested.
Both drugs must be taken early, within a few days of the onset of symptoms, to be most effective.
Cordoba said Mexico has enough Tamiflu to treat 1 million people, but the medicine will be strictly controlled and handed out only by doctors. "
What they have in common is that each victim took the influenza antiviral Tamiflu shortly before they died. According to the Japanese Health Ministry, 54 people have died after taking Tamiflu — the drug governments around the world have stockpiled for use against avian flu — since the drug was approved for use in Japan in 2000. Most suspiciously, in multiple cases people, including those cases above, acted erratically after taking Tamiflu. Though the Health Ministry has said there is no clear evidence linking Tamiflu to the deaths, there is growing concern among doctors and parents in Japan over the drug's possible side effects. That is potential cause for concern in the rest of the world, because in the absence of a vaccine, Tamiflu will be the drug of first and last resort in the event of a pandemic
NEW YORK (Fortune) - 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.
I would like to call your attention to when Donald Rumsfeld was CEO of Searle, manufacturers of aspartame. For 16 years the FDA refused to approve it, not only because its not safe but because they wanted the company indicted for fraud. Both U.S. Prosecutors hired on with the defense team and the statute of limitations expired. They were Sam Skinner and William Conlon. Skinner went on to become Secretary of Transportation squelching the cries of the pilots who were by now having seizures on this seizure triggering drug, aspartame, and then Chief of Staff under President Bush's father. Some of these people reach high places. Even Supreme Justice Clarence Thomas is a former Monsanto attorney. (Monsanto bought Searle in l985, and sold it a few years ago). When Ashcroft became Attorney General, Thompson from King and Spalding Attorneys (another former Monsanto attorney) became deputy under Ashcroft. (Attorneys for NutraSweet and Coke).
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.