I have this evening realized another failure of character on my part.
Being one of those who do believe that an serious pandemic influenza outbreak is on the horizon, as I read this article, I kept finding myself stumbling over something that I realize says more about me than the subject matter. This MedGuru article on a successful trial of a new flu vaccine targeted at the dreaded H5N1 strain of influenza details some good news on the preparatory work that the world of medicine is doing to mitigate the impact a pandemic would have. But, I must admit: it never occurred to me that they would be doing human trials so soon. I found myself stumbling over the term "volunteers":
The vaccine uses a clade 1 strain of H5N1 virus. Total 284 volunteers, aged 18-45 years were administered this vaccine, twice, with a gap of 21 days with and without adjuvant. The trials were conducted in Austria and Singapore.
Now, those who know about the recent work done to better understand flu pandemic of 1918 know that scientists have discovered that those most affected by the virus were healthy people between the age of 18 and 45. To know full well that scientists have compared H5N1 to the Spanish Flu in it's morbidity rate amongst healthier victims, and to then sign up to take 2 injections of (granted, a killed strain) of this virus separated by 21 days of monitoring requires a certain kind of bravery that I sadly don't think I am in possession of.
I would like to personally thank those 248 people and the folks working in the BHL-3 lab with live strains of H5N1 for taking the risks required to save the millions who might be saved should this vaccine prove safe and effective.
Now, before you go posting a comment decrying my use of the phrase "millions" above, let me point you to someone who has written more eloquently than I on the subject of what information is out there about the coming plague and how we all process it. This blogger, focused on the issue of the pandemic, has broken it down quite succinctly in the title of her post: We all make choices.
As she points out, the information is out there. There was news on the subject almost daily when the outbreaks in Asia were coming fast and furious. And now, the information is still there, but the impact of it is deadened by the fact that in reality, it is nearly impossible to determine how bad the outbreak could be until it starts happening. And, as she points out, "we don't know if H5N1 will cause the next pandemic (it may be some other pathogen)". So, in the face of all that uncertainty, yes, it is quite possible to think that those of us, like your humble correspondent, who keep an eye out for news on the subject are just wacko "Flubies". But I don't think we are. I would rather think that we are according to nature all of the respect she is due. And have chosen to be afraid. Very afraid. Yet optimistic.
As David said best in Psalm 139:14: "... I am fearfully and wonderfully made..."