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U.S. Government, Others Must Prioritize Development Of Universal Flu Vaccine

New York Times: We’re Not Ready for a Flu Pandemic
Michael T. Osterholm, professor and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Mark Olshaker, writer and documentary filmmaker

“…Given the century of medical progress since [the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic], one might conclude that we are far better prepared today to deal with such a worldwide catastrophe. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. … The only real solution is a universal vaccine that effectively attacks all influenza A strains, with reliable protection lasting for years, like other modern vaccines. … But there is no apparent effort to make these vaccines a priority in the current administration. Its National Security Strategy published last month cites Ebola and SARS as potential bioterrorism and pandemic threats, yet makes no mention of the risk of pandemic influenza nor any aspect of critical vaccine research and development. … The eradication of smallpox in the 1960s and ’70s was arguably the greatest achievement in the annals of public health. We have the tools to potentially accomplish this with influenza, and with the stakes as high as they are, isn’t it worth a Manhattan Project-scale effort to defend ourselves?…” (1/8).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.