During the winter, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the health funds in Israel threw away millions of vaccines. We kept our distance so well that there was no flu season, and then, why get a shot?
But COVID-19 became a pandemic because we fly so much. Bird flu may become a pandemic even when we all stay put because birds fly so much.
The now-existing bird-flu virus variants can transmit from bird to bird and more and more from bird to mammal.
The two things important from a human point of view are:
- What percentage of birds survives; is there a threat of going extinct?
- Will we have a vaccine before it jumps from mammal to mammal?
It is not nice when many animals die, but we humans are each so unique and indispensable that, more than worrying about humanity going extinct from influenza, we count every human death and even illness.
The greatest danger to humans happens when bird influenza adapts itself to be able to infect human-to-human (or mammal pet-to-human).
The bioindustry is the most dangerous place. There, people work with thousands of birds, an ideal laboratory to breed (pun not intended) bird flu that could cause a pandemic. Yet, it won’t stop the mass breeding of fowl. People like meat, and all countries run on making money before anything else (capitalism), and democracies run on liberty, even if it’ll kill us (cigs).
A universal flu vaccine is in the making. It’s a race against the clock. There are hopes it’s available by next winter already. Yet, these things are hard to predict, and even if it’ll come in time, we don’t know how well it works.
“High global coverage with a universal influenza virus vaccine would significantly reduce the burden caused by influenza virus infections and could, if the herd immunity/community protection is strong enough, even eliminate influenza B and seasonal influenza A virus subtypes from the human population.” Compare smallpox eradication. This is important when we set our goals high enough. That is the plan to prevent, cure, and manage all diseases by 2100. We should all live that long.
More important is to close our cells’ open doors for infectious microbes to enter. Once, inviting strangers proved vital for our survival. We acquired and tamed mitochondria and possibly integrated useful DNA from other microorganisms. It’s high time to stop evolution experimenting with our health. When we find suitable inclusions (chlorophyll in skin cells), we’ll be advanced enough to take them in and leave nature’s Russian roulette.
I have an appointment for tomorrow for a flu vaccination.