Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bird flu and profits at Roche

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Remember the scare about anthrax? And smallpox? And SARS?

Bird flu has been affecting the world for many years.

Bird flus have been troublesome for agriculture at least since 1878, when Italian poultry were hit with a disease labeled fowl plague. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/10/17/MNGRHF9FID1.DTL

Each year, for many decades, a relatively small number of people have caught bird flu from birds.

In 1995 Mexico stopped an outbreak of severe H5N2 flu. In 2002 Italy became the first country to eradicate bird flu using a marker vaccine and regular testing. http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn4810

2,000,000 people die each year from tuberculosis.

Why is bird flu suddenly getting a lot of publicity in the media?

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,9068-1833185,00.html

Widespread fears of a bird flu pandemic have helped spark a sales surge at Swiss drugs group Roche, which makes Tamiflu

Roche, which is the world's only manufacturer of Tamiflu, revealed this morning that group sales had surged to more than £11.1 billion in the third quarter, driven by "significant growth" in sales of the drug.

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The UK Government spent 32 million pounds buying smallpox vaccine from a firm whose boss was Paul Drayson.

Paul Drayson, had donated 50,000 pounds to the Labour Party just weeks before the contract was finalised.


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