Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Tamiflu - The Truth

Dr John Crippen, the NHS blog doctor, asked the other day if Tamiflu had side effects.

Today he explains why the government are pushing Tamiflu so hard - it's nearly past its sell-by date which is in the early part of this autumn.

'He then told me why the Government were very keen for us to prescribe it to everyone who has a sniffle and a high temperature: you see, most of the stockpiled Tamiflu was for a previous flu scare, and it expires (passes its sell-by date) in the early part of this Autumn (2009) when it effectively and officially becomes useless (as opposed to being pretty useless anyway).'

After reading his posts I think I could cope with an extra day of flu symptoms, couldn't you?


Vronsky said...

There's a very informative website on the H1N1 virus and related vaccination issues maintained by Meryl Nass here. I'd strongly recommend some careful reading of the content on this blog and the data it links to in order to compensate for the clueless British media. In particular, the BBC's output on this subject is singularly fact-free.

Dr Nass' site also tracks the progress of the FBI investigation into the 9/11 anthrax attacks - worth following, as the suicide of the man accused of the attacks has resonances with the case of Dr David Kelly here.

subrosa said...

Many thanks for that Vronsky. I shall read it when I have time to concentrate fully.

subrosa said...

Vronsky's link doesn't work for me. If anyone would like to visit it here's the long one to cut and paste:

John McClane said...

The Wikipedia
page on the 1918 Spanish flu is also interesting. Swine flu is so far following roughly the same pattern: a mild, spring/summer epidemic resembling a typical flu epidemic but affecting mainly the young. The early outbreak of Spanish flu was however followed by a lethal second wave in the autumn of 1918. Spanish flu was, like swine flu, an H1N1 strain of flu.

If swine flu comes back in the autumn and in a deadlier form it should arrive just after the use-by date of all this Tamiflu.

John McClane said...


It seems to be standard at Dalaman airport at least that passengers arriving on flights from the UK are screened using thermal imaging cameras to detect those running a temperature.

Vronsky said...

Beware of comparisons with Spanish Flu. Around 95% of fatalities from Spanish flu resulted from secondary, opportunistic infections like pneumonia. This was in 1918, before the NHS and (relatively speaking) general availability of antibiotics.

The Spanish Flu killed my granny, leading more or less directly to my mother's emigration at a very tender age to Canada, where she met my father. I was almost a Canadian - they returned to Scotland before I was born. But for that choice I'd probably be an activist with the Quebecois now. Isn't chance a funny thing....

On vaccines, the trend of expert opinion outwith the mainstream media (i.e. beyond the Labour Party line) seems to be that you're better off taking your chances with the flu - but let's keep an open mind, and keep reading Meryl Nass and John Crippen (links in sr's post and my earlier post).

subrosa said...

Vronsk, we must be grateful for the decision of our mothers (excluding mine).

I agree with you, better to go with the flow or flu rather than pump yourself full of unknowns unless to save your life.

subrosa said...

John, as I'm sure you're aware, Britain wouldn't manage such security issues. They can't even record who comes in here or departs.

John McClane said...

Vronsky, as far as I know, there's only been 1 fatality from swine flu that has not been said to be suffering from 'underlying' medical conditions which could well include pneumonia, pace your granny. 'Underlying' is a difference of emphasis.

John McClane said...

Subrosa: They know who goes out and when they leave and who comes in and when they arrive. I know that because they illegally matched those records to the duty-free shop's records which showed that I'd bought 1,000 cigarettes for a week abroad. They confiscated all my duty-free on return, plus my wife's.

subrosa said...

Jings John that's a bummer. One thing though, at least you must feel reasonably safe. I feel safe here (because I'm in the sticks of Scotland) but in other parts of the UK I don't think I would do.

It's getting a balance I suppose and hoping the balance suits all sides.

Clarinda said...

Reading some of articles and others on 'swine flu' - and some postulation re eugenic selective properties of the vaccine and related involvement of Bilderberg group plots - I think I may take up flower arranging instead of spending too much of my mornings trawling my favourite blogs - "Is it safe, is it safe?". ???

subrosa said...

Too much information can be as bad as too little Clarinda.

The BBC admitted this morning the new vaccine due at the end of the year hasn't yet been tested.

Don't think I'll be in the queue for it.

Unknown said...

I saw this post when you initially made it and meant to comment on it.

My worry is that I have essentially 2 if not 3 high risk people in this house - a husband with asthma, a child and me with my somewhat knackered immune system at the moment.

Do I take my chances against the unknown flu or the unknown drugs? Same goes for the vaccine when it comes out.

I'm not looking forward to having to think about these issues in greater detail.

subrosa said...

Caron, that's a bummer of a question in your situation. All I can say is read the good information on the net and make a decision.

For me, being older and a few health problems, I'd rather take my chances until I know the vaccine has been effectively tested.

Oh, there was something about it on the New Scientist today. I'll get the link, just a minute.

A fair and unbiased site in my opinion.

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