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Biotech Science

Super-Vaccine For Flu In Development 165

Adam9 tipped us to a DailyMail article about the possibility of a revolutionary flu vaccine that could work against all strains of the Influenza A disease. This 'holy grail' of vaccines would work on everything from the annual 'winter flu' to the 'bird flu'. The best part is that just a few vaccinations may provide complete immunity, unlike the annual boosters are current defenses require. From the article: "The new jabs would be grown in huge vats of bacterial 'soup', with just two pints of liquid providing 10,000 doses of vaccine. Current flu vaccines focus on two proteins on the surface of the virus. However, these constantly mutate in a bid to fool the immune system, making it impossible for vaccine manufacturers to keep up with the creation of each new strain. The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years."
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Super-Vaccine For Flu In Development

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  • by Timesprout ( 579035 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:27PM (#17400820)
    But the formula was stored in a researchers gmail account.....
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      On a more serious note, here are some vital resources about the flu:

      If you don't do anything else, read John Barry's The Great Influenza [].

  • unchanged protein (Score:5, Insightful)

    by javilon ( 99157 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:27PM (#17400828) Homepage
    "The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years."

    I bet it will change in the next 5 years...

    • Is a cure enough? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:34PM (#17400944)
      Having a cure is not enough to prevent the disease from happening. A concerted effort to suply the vaccine is also needed.

      Smallpox etc seems to have been handled pretty well, yet TB - a totally curable disease - still kills more people than 'flu.

      • Re:Is a cure enough? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:53PM (#17401200)
        True, but this requires one shot - then you are protected for some short period of time. TB is bacterial and has no vaccine. Most of the patients are either drug users and/or have compromised immune systems (e.g. AIDS). Worse, the cure is a 6-9 month course of antibiotics. It is hard to consistently take antibiotics for 6 months even if you are well - a heroin addict can be much less reliable and may miss doses or abandon treatment. So now we have antibiotic resistant strains... etc.

        In short, it's a much different problem. Hell, the flu even goes away on its own over 99% of the time. Frankly, I think that if we could cure AIDS, I think that TB would largely go along with it in the developed world.
        • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:52PM (#17401938) Homepage
          TB is bacterial
          ...and is therefore a little bit easier to cure, since we've had antibiotics for a longer time than anti-viral drugs, and since anti-viral drugs tend to be much more bug-specific than antibiotics.

          and has no vaccine.

          Guess what ? I *happen* to be vaccinated [] against TB. There are vaccine against TB. It isn't as widely used in the USA is it was in eastern country in the past or still today in Africa. The main reason that it is less used in the western world is that TB isn't very prevalent, and therefor, TB vaccine is only given to people at risk.
          (A less important reason is also aesthetic : adults and older children may have a small permanent scar at the point of injection).

          Most of the patients are either drug users and/or have compromised immune systems (e.g. AIDS).

          In the western world. The largest part of the patient are in third world countries. The TB is prevalent there because of poorer population and harder access to medication, lower quality of life, etc...

          Worse, the cure is a 6-9 month course of antibiotics.
          ...which is on of the reason that TB is prevalent in the 3rd world and that there, vaccine is simpler and cheaper.

          I think that TB would largely go along with it in the developed world.

          No, as long as there is still a source were the bacteria can proliferate they'll still be there around and still find ways to travel back to your home. There are lot of disease that are clearly under control - with both vaccine and treatment available - but that are still not extinct, because they can proliferate in some animal population (not even in another human population living somewhere else).

          The main reasons why there's still TB around are mainly the economic situation in counrties where it's prevalent.
          (then there also some other smaller reason like the fact that the bacteria can hide in cavities where they're less accessible to drugs, and also they can stay dormant for a long time).
          • Re:Is a cure enough? (Score:4, Informative)

            by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @08:32PM (#17404746)
            Sorry, you are correct - there is a TB vaccine. I had forgotten all about that. However, it doesn't really work very well (especially in adults) and interferes with TB testing. In the US, they only recommend the vaccine to certain health care workers and other high-risk folks, but many of them get it anyway. We have a high incidence for a developed country because we have so many immigrants - incidence in foreigners is something like 9 or 10 times higher than in the US-born population. We also have large numbers of people living in homeless shelters, prisons, and nursing homes. These crowded facilities are full of people with weak immune systems, and the disease spreads relatively quickly. Even then, the incidence is something like 14,000 new cases of active TB a year, which is really quite low in a country of 300 million. Deaths number in the hundreds (700-ish?), so we're doing just about as well as the UK I think, with their 350 or so in a population of 61 million :)

            All that said, there are several new vaccines undergoing trials right now, so hopefully one will be more effective in adults.
            • We have a high incidence for a developed country

              Huh? The US has a very low TB rate, certainly lower than any of the developed countries in Europe.

              From wikipedia:
              "In the United Kingdom, TB incidences range from 40 per 100,000 in London to less than 5 per 100,000 in the rural South West of England.[41]; the national average is 13 per 100,000. The highest rates in Western Europe are in Portugal (42 per 100,000) and Spain (20 per 100,000). These rates compare with 113 per 100,000 in China and 64 per 100,000 in
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 )

          TB is bacterial and has no vaccine

          Every child in the UK is given the BCG vaccine against TB at school. Each school is visited for a few days every few years and every pupil in a certain age range is injected unless their parents opt them out. Before the widespread vaccinations took place, up to 25% of annual deaths were caused by TB (although typically the figure was closer to 10%). Now, less than 50 people die of it in the UK each year; it is effectively extinct here. A vaccination against the flu would likely have similar effects of

      • Re:Is a cure enough? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dunbal ( 464142 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:38PM (#17401784)
        yet TB - a totally curable disease - still kills more people than 'flu.

              Umm, where did you get THAT little snippet of misinformation?

              TB is not totally curable - in fact we are seeing a huge increase in multi-resistant strains of this bacillus. You have to take up to 6 different antibiotics (rifampin, isoniazid, ethambutol, pyrazinamide, streptomycin and pyridoxine) and supplements during up to 6 months or more. There is poor compliance with the treatment, which makes this a disease that is very hard to cure. I would also argue that although TB and its complications might directly kill more people (the death rates are similar in the US, 0.6 per 100,000 for TB and 0,4 per 100,000 for influenza), the consequences of influenza - especially in the elderly, are usually devastating for quality of life and prognosis purposes.

        Smallpox etc seems to have been handled pretty well, yet TB

              Also I must point out that smallpox is caused by a virus, while TB is a very slow growing bacterium. Not the same critter at all.
      • by samkass ( 174571 )
        There are all sorts of factors that lead to the ability to drive a disease to extinction. Smallpox had no non-human reservoir, while the flu-- sometimes even specific strains-- can infect many mammals and can often be fatal or harmful to several species. Even if every human on the planet was completely inoculated against flu, the flu wouldn't be eradicated. As soon as humans stopped vaccinating, it would be back.
    • by soloport ( 312487 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:50PM (#17401158) Homepage
      In related news, the stock has plummeted for McAffee and Intuit as researchers discover a cure for all computer related viruses:
      "The universal 'vaccine' focuses on a different program called Outlook, which has barely changed during the last 100 years."
    • I think Richard Dawkins remarked something like that if doctors would undestand evolution we wouldn't have a huge crisis of drug resistant bacteria in hospitals.
    • Once the chinese vaccinate all their chickens it won;t be effective within the year. It's as simple as that.
  • by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:27PM (#17400830) Homepage Journal
    I was contemplating vaccines and software patches and other items that constantly need updating and never really solve the problem and came up with a theory of selling reality -- do you ever want to sell a product that never needs updating or repairs or replacement? Is it anyone's goal to truly fix a problem forever?

    One of my businesses is IT consulting, and we really do try to fix our customers problems for good -- when possible. We find that solving problems today ends up giving us more work tomorrow through referrals, etc. We even have a popular warranty where we always fix things that break again for free (even if we lose money on the net), even due to user error. Yet most consultants love the repeat business -- why fix something forever if you're sure that only temporarily patching a problem is enough?

    Are there any vaccines or medical products that really do anything permanent? Is part of the reason for temporary cures or fixes just the basic realistic knowledge that temporary cures mean job security?

    I don't trust anything that is sold as a "permanent fix" for a problem -- I don't know if we humans are capable of doing anything so self-sacrificial as that.
    • In the cancer realm, there is an increasing number of drugs like Avastin [] that have shown abilities to attack a wide variety of cancers such colon cancer [] and lung cancer []. Indeed, products like Avastin seem to create complications (specifically, increased risk of complications of high blood pressure in the brain and a neurologic disorder), but the primary fix seems to be more important than the secondary complications. That is, while the 'permanent' fix is flawed and creates later problems, often the later pr
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Watson Ladd ( 955755 )
      Do you see smallpox around anymore?
    • Counterexamples: polio, smallpox.

      I think it's simply very hard to produce a panacaea. I find it hard to believe that human greed is the reason we don't have more panacaeas. After all, if I had a vaccine that prevented all infectious diseases (say), think how much I could sell it for! Greed would drive my interest in developing and marketing this vaccine, not in holding it back.

      Similarly, if you could create a computer system that never needed upgrading and had all the capabilities of existing systems, y

      • I think it's simply very hard to produce a panacaea. I find it hard to believe that human greed is the reason we don't have more panacaeas. After all, if I had a vaccine that prevented all infectious diseases (say), think how much I could sell it for! Greed would drive my interest in developing and marketing this vaccine, not in holding it back.

        I'd agree that it's hard to create a panacea. One factor to keep in mind though is that artificially restricting the supply of a panacea could potentially result

        • ...restricting the supply of a panacea could potentially result in higher profits...

          This works while you have patent control. Once you lose the monopoly, though, this plan goes out the window, so this isn't really a long-term concern.

          Some governments would rather not see portions of their populations vaccinated, because of corruption or other political factors (rebellions, civil wars, etc.).

          Probably, but this has nothing to do with my point that greed isn't preventing panacaeas.

          And certain governmen

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TaoPhoenix ( 980487 )
      Believe it or not, this is a scorching topic in the Business Case Study area.

      Auto makers tried the Made-To-Rattle approach in the 1970's and nearly got wiped out. The Japanese realized that there are quite a lot of people to sell to ONCE, and selling their cars once was better than Detroit not selling anything at all.

      The "Temporary Patch" mentality is the kind of thing people can trick themselves into from desperation. One of my old professors once said, "Suppose your customer wants to spend $100,000 with y
      • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:03PM (#17401356)
        I know that in my business (semiconductor assembly equipment), we introduced a new low-end machine that invaded a competitor's formerly exclusive niche. Our machine was much faster upon introduction. As soon as we got on-site, our competitor showed up and was able to nearly double the speed of their machine in a few hours with a software patch. The intended effect, no doubt, was to show how much better their machine was then ours so that the customer wouldn't bother buying our equipment. Instead, the customer was infuriated that our competition had been "sandbagging" all this time, throttling down their machines so that the customer would have to buy more units to meet demand. In response, we now get 50% of their orders with our slightly slower machine - just to "keep them honest".

        You need to watch out if you are considering holding back from your customers, and you see it on the consumer level, too. The iPod wouldn't even be around today if Sony hadn't sandbagged with their Walkman follow-ons. Artificially restricting your product is usually not very healthy in the long-term.
        • by dada21 ( 163177 ) *
          I concur, fully, which is why we like to go beyond the call of duty and beyond expectations. Many of our customers are tech-friendly (some even ready slashdot regularly), so they're regularly surprised when we can beat even a low-end Windows PC into submission for the long haul. For us, it is more important to focus on the long-term goals of customer profitability (which is a great indicator of efficiency and even can be an indicator of employee happiness if there are perks to sustaining a profit-goal) ra
          • Government, on the other hand, has absolutely no reason to solve any problem because they've got a monopoly on their "business."
            I think that it's actually because in government, the "customer" tends to be special interests and lobbyists instead of voters. It is far more important (in the US, anyway) to raise a lot of money for your next campaign. Not that I can think of a better system, mind you, other than letting me be dictator. :)
        • Well, your post sounds very nice, but it raised a few questions in my mind (which you probably won't be able to answer, either due to not knowing the answers or for not wanting to tell them, but...):

          1- Were they really artificially limiting the speed of machine on purpose, or did they just find an optimization?
          2- If they were limiting the speed, wasn't it due to safety, reliability or whatever? In other words, did the patch decrease the reliability of the machine?

          Those are important points, which of course
          • 1. Obviously I can't know this for sure, but I strongly suspect that they were deliberately holding back - they were likely "saving" the optimization for the next generation of machine. This is quite common, because it makes your next machine look like a generational leap (or marketing thinks so, anyway). We sometimes do the same thing, but never such a large jump! We were honestly blown away by how much they sped it up - we knew that they would respond well to our challenge, but we honestly didn't expect t
      • by HiThere ( 15173 ) *
        Occasionally greedy companies can act to block something "too good", but nimble smaller groups by concept have to stake their claim at being better than the behemoth.

        Blocking the nimble smaller groups is one of the purposes of patents.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      do you ever want to sell a product that never needs updating or repairs or replacement? Is it anyone's goal to truly fix a problem forever?

            Ethically, yes you should. However the words "Business" and "Ethics" in the same sentence, especially when another word called "Money" is used, really generates creative results. The old adage applies - if you can't fix the problem forever, at least you should do very well if you can fix it better than your competitor.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Are there vaccines or medical products that are permanent? Are you serious here? Maybe just googling for vaccines would help you out here. Had polio recently? Whooping cough? Rubella? Hepatitus? Is having a shot once a decade "too often" since it is only "temporary"? Geez sorry medical breakthroughs that are equivalent to miracles aren't convenient enough for you.
    • by vertinox ( 846076 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:03PM (#17401360)
      Is it anyone's goal to truly fix a problem forever?

      I can think of two...

      Laser hair removal and vasectomies.

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
      Perhaps they feel they have played out the flu profits. The pharmaceutical companies have lots of other diseases to sell temporary fixes for. It is also good to periodically come out with an actual cure now and then. Heck, it's even possible that as our population gets older, the pharma companies might be calculating that letting the flu run loose could kill enough of their very profitable customers that they would loose huge profits. This keeps the conspiracy theories down. The conspiracy theory quest
    • start worrying when somebody [] announces a cure for all disease, ever.
  • by giafly ( 926567 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:34PM (#17400938)
    Described as the 'holy grail' of flu vaccines, it would protect against all strains of influenza A - the virus behind both bird flu and the nastiest outbreaks of winter flu. .... Importantly, the vaccines would also be quicker and easier to make than the traditional jabs, meaning vast quantities could be stockpiled against a global outbreak of bird flu.
    If the vaccine protects against all strains of influenza A, why stockpile it? Surely just vaccinating people would be simpler and protect them immediately. There are several mentions of stockpiling, so I really wonder whether this article is accurate.
    • Are you new here? Why give out for free when you can horde and use it for power and influence.
    • by cnettel ( 836611 )
      There are plenty of vaccines that are giving too great side-effects to be administered generally, when the risk is low. Some guesses in this case might involve some pretty aggressive adjuvant to get the body to target a protein that you won't get immunity against after a normal infection. (Simple test: have a lot of people been infected with Influenza A twice in the last hundred years? Yep. So, obviously, the protein itself makes quite a lousy target and we need to provoke the immune system to actually reco
    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:33PM (#17401714)
      Probably because it would be hard to compel people to get the vaccine. I mean, there is a vaccine available now for this year's flu, yet I sit here un-vaccinated. Hell, I doubt that my tetanus shot is up-to-date. People only get vaccinated when they are scared - my infant is vaccinated, my wife is vaccinated (she's in health care), and many old folks get vaccinated. The rest of us just take our chances with the flu because we aren't scared of it and we don't get it every year.

      When something is more deadly, people get vaccinated. Everyone will be in line for an AIDS vaccine, and they certainly have no trouble getting folks vaccinated in the US against polio or smallpox.

      You'll never "stop" the flu as they have with smallpox and polio (almost), because it jumps species too easily. If birds still carry it, it will be very difficult to control in human populations.
  • by gzerphey ( 1006177 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:37PM (#17400980)
    Nature develops Super-Flu to counteract Vaccine.

    Nature sucks... We should just take off and nuke it from orbit.
  • Common cold next? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @02:38PM (#17400992) Homepage Journal
    Can they use a similar approach for the common cold next?

    Of course, the only reason they developed this vaccine is because of the panic spending on flu vaccine research because of the bird flu. Without similar funding, the pharmaceutical companies will happily keep developing cold remedies instead of preventions.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      As I understand it there is no desease called 'the common cold'. Instead there are literally thousands of deseases, some related and some not, that humanity has adapeted to to the point that we show only minimal symptoms. The symptoms that still show are the symptoms that get them spread: coughing, sneesing, etc. Headaches and feavers are side-effects of either the primary symptoms, or of our bodies' fighting the desease.

      So, no, they can't really. The flu is caused by one family of virus, and they can t
  • This anti-capitalist effort to destroy the flu vaccine industry must be stopped!
  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:03PM (#17401344) Journal
    The Daily Mail is probably one of the most ignorant newspapers published in Britain, read by reactionary permanently offended right wing little Englanders (the audience to which it panders). Unfortunately, if the report's only in the Daily Mail, it's almost certainly wrong in every important detail. The Mail is one of the least credible papers in Britain.
    • THE least clearly being the Diana Excess...
    • I've recently visited to the UK, and was completely shocked at the Daily Mail and the general level of the tabloids. Google daily mail and Hitler [], if you want to get a sense of how it is and was. They even serialised The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Sure, everywhere, there are plenty of crap media outlets. But I have never seen such a vicious level of lies and right-wing campaigning. You can't believe a word they say -- no need to ever pick them up. This is not just true of the Daily Mail, the gene
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tim C ( 15259 )
        They even serialised The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

        I don't read The Daily Hate, and while I'm (clearly!) biased I think it depends on how they serialised it. If the nature of the text was made clear, and it was being presented so as to better critique it, then that's fine.

        Given that it's the Hate, though, I doubt if it was done like that...

        They aren't there to be a news source. They are there to entertain and scare the masses.

        No, they're there to make money, through advertising and sales. The way they
  • The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years.

    Wild guess here, but I'm betting that there is a small percentage of the flu viruses out there will have some sort of resistance to this vaccine. Maybe their M2 protein will be slightly different and they'll all survive. Then all of a sudden, the only flu viruses left will be the resistant strain. With our luck these will also be particularly virulent. Then where will we be?

    • I'm guessing we would only give the vaccine to people. Seems to me that other species are the major hosts to the flu virus (migratory birds?). As long as we don't let the birds get a hold of it, we should be ok.
  • by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:11PM (#17401422) Homepage Journal
    The formula lies in a particular oleaginous substance which can be manufactured from refined cells of particular reptiles of suborder serpentes.
  • by The Step Child ( 216708 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:15PM (#17401492) Homepage
    From the article:

    The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years.
    The main question that comes to my mind is how they can claim that this vaccine will require only a booster shot every 10 years. The drug rimantadine is believed to act by inhibiting the M2 ion channel - however, drug resistance can develop if the M2 gene has a chance to mutate. Presumably, mutations that render "anti-M2" vaccines ineffective are also possible, perhaps not necessarily in the same range of probability (one could argue that mutations are far less likely when the virus is faced with the immune system versus a drug). However - especially at the population level - could placing selective pressure onto the M2 gene lead to resistance faster than the company anticipates? I suppose time (and human trials!) will tell :)
  • Super Flu? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:17PM (#17401504) Homepage
    Correct me if I'm wrong...but isn't the reason that we haven't cured the flu yet with all of our advances in medical technology due to the fact that the virus keeps mutating and evolving due to natural selection taking place when we apply vaccines? Won't this just serve to create a super flu? I really hope that the people doing this research (who obviously know quite a bit more on the subject) have already thought of this...

    • they did think of this. it's right there in the article, in fact. the vaccine targets the M2 gene, which has changed very little in the last 100 years. despite all the mutations that have taken place in the flu virus in the last 100 years, the M2 gene has not changed. that's what makes it a good spot upon which to target a vaccine.
      • But my point is that once we start targeting this M2 gene, then won't we just end up with flu viruses that do not have the M2 gene?

    • by lawpoop ( 604919 )
      Won't a "Super" flu only be "Super" in the sense that it resists the recently developed treatments and vaccines? In other words, a super flu really doesn't pose any more danger than the regular flu did before we had a vaccine for the regular flu. We are living with the super flu now.
  • Flu Virus Proteins (Score:5, Informative)

    by reverseengineer ( 580922 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:19PM (#17401528)
    The two proteins noted as being the current targets for flu research are hemagglutinin and neuraminidase- these are the "H" and "N" that influenza viruses are classified by (like H5N1 for the modern strain of avian flu of much concern). Hemagglutinin plays a major role in attachment of the flu virus to the host cell, while neuraminidase promotes viral release from infected cells. These have been the focus of most flu research because the body usually has strong antigenic responses to them.

    M2 happens to be an ion channel protein for the flu virus, which is also necessary for propagation of the virus (it's thought to be involved breaking down the virus protein coat once inside the host cell, freeing the genetic material to be replicated). As the article notes, it tends to be more conserved than H and N- there may be a severe disadvantage for a flu virus to have a mutant strain of M2.

    What the article does not mention, however, is that there are a couple of antiviral drugs already available which target M2. Amantidine [] and rimantidine [] both are thought to interfere with M2, and are already administered as antivirals against flu. (Curiously enough, they started as Parkinson's treatments- it was discovered patients taking them had serendipitous flu resistance). While a vaccine meant to target M2 might work differently than the adamantane-based antiviral drugs, it's worth noting that influenza, and H5N1 flu at that, resistant to those drugs is already quite common throughout Southeast Asia.

  • Smoking vaccine... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:31PM (#17401698)
    The article mentions the same company has developed a vaccine that makes nicotine ineffective. Googling it, it looks like it's being "fast tracked" and will be FDA-approved in 2008-9. How long before a smoking vaccine is mandated by companies, schools, and governments looking to reduce healthcare costs? How long before vaccines are developed against other drugs? Personally, I *like* some chemical substances that give me pleasure (mostly weed, cigs, and coffee). I don't overuse them. I can understand abusers wanting to quit, but I'd hate to see drug vaccines be mandated even for people who may use occasionally.


    • It'd be a sad day, for sure. But if flu vaccines are really that effective, why aren't the same organizations requiring mandatory flu immunization now? I would dare to bet that flu-related sick days cost the same organizations more money in lost productivity than the health care costs do.

      As an aside, it is not really necessary to mandate the use of the nicotine vaccine when legislation aims to achieve the same end in many areas in the U.S by barring smoking in almost all public places. An 'alcohol vaccin
      • But, I'll keep my fingers crossed in hopes that it stays that way. I'm not quite ready to give up booze and smoke just yet ;-)

        By that point, I'll have my own consulting engineer firm - taking my P.E. exams in 3 years. And I'll hire whomever I damn well please as long as they can do a good job at design. Whatever they do outside of work (as long as they're not serial killers or something) isn't anyone's business but their own.


  • Vaporware?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @03:55PM (#17401990)
    I am not a molecular biologist, but this blog entry [] suggests that this may be vaporware.
  • by AugstWest ( 79042 ) on Friday December 29, 2006 @06:00PM (#17403448)
    Viruses don't die. They don't get eradicated. We're supposed to get them, we're supposed to develop immune systems, and we're supposed to go on with our lives.

    The more we vaccinate for a virus, the more virulent it becomes. The more people get vaccinated for flu strains, the stronger they get.

    I can see vaccinations for hospital workers and the elderly, who are in real danger, but for the rest of us non-emergency people, we should just get sick and deal with it.
    • All of that is very true, and I agree that healthy adults really don't need, nor should get vaccinated under normal circumstances. But what if the next superflu that arises kills every single person not naturally resistant to it? The survivors' innate resistance is sure to cause a decline of the offending virus as a matter of course. That only serves to pave the way for even nastier stuff to come along.

      I remember reading a statistic somewhere that a large percentage of peoples of european descent are nat
  • As soon as you create a vaccine and distribute it that's when evolution takes place. If there is no reason for a virus to change (by and large) it won't.

    All the recent research shows how much of our genetic material comes from virus's to the point that one might consider virus's a third sex when it comes to spreading genetic material and genes. Do we really want bypass what gives us genetic diversity and a strong immune system?
    • [...]
      Current flu vaccines focus on two proteins on the surface of the virus. However, these constantly mutate in a bid to fool the immune system, making it impossible for vaccine manufacturers to keep up with the creation of each new strain. The universal vaccines focus on a different protein called M2, which has barely changed during the last 100 years."

      So they create a new vaccine every year, and the next year the virus has different proteins. What do they think will happen when they produce a vacci

  • You won't kill all the flu viruses (is that a word?), because some will be resistant, or the vaccine wasn't full-strength, or something. Survivors will reproduce like crazy because their weaker kin aren't there to compete with, and the weakest of THEIR descendents will be killed off, leaving a slightly more resistant population. Rinse, wash, repeat, and any countermeasure short of complete eradication will be worked around by nature. The only people who believe in a magic-bullet cure are the ones too ign

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain