Wednesday, May 20, 2009

thoughts about H1N1

If the low death rate from H1N1 in the U.S. is due to superior medical facilities and early detection, then the Third World is in for some serious decimation. Can you imagine what might happen if H1N1 exploded in Sub-Saharan Africa? There would be few accurate numbers on the rate of spread, and there would be little or no access to the effective anti-virals.

Sure, you hear lots of people talk about how hundreds of people die from seasonal epidemics every year, and in this case, look how low the death rate is if patients are found early and given adequate treatment. That's because these people are assuming the entire planet looks exactly like the U.S., when they are much more likely to just die off in such large numbers, no monument can hold their names. The only way to stop from decimating the Third World is to slow the spread of H1N1 enough such that we get a vaccine in production before it's out there.

Current music: The Magnetic Fields - Washington, D.C.

1 comment:

  1. 1. Not just sub-Saharan Africa, though it would certainly hit hard there. Winter starts soon in the Southern Hemisphere.
    2. Roche, eat your heart out.

    A news piece in this week's issue of Science makes a good point: We may not in fact be looking at the worst-case scenario with H1N1 yet. The worst-case scenario could involve H1N1 meeting another flu virus in an infected individual and swapping genes willy-nilly. Then it's bye-bye vaccines for a while.