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INFLUENZA |

The Health Wrap: What the evidence uncovered; reaching out to vaccine skeptics; health funding waiting games

By Kellie Bisset What the evidence uncovered Evidence has turned the tables on two issues this past fortnight: whether our multimillion national investment in antiviral drugs is justified; and whether significant spending on alternative treatments such as homeopathy is a good use of money. First, to antiviral drugs, and the release of a Cochrane Review [...]

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INFLUENZA |

An expert’s questions for the Australian Government on the “Scamiflu” saga

(A Federal Health Department response to this post was added on 18 April). “Most experts would agree that the modest benefits of Tamiflu and Relenza, as reported by the review, do not justify the increased adverse risks, let alone the money spent on them…” So says an NHS Choices analysis of an important systematic review [...]

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INFLUENZA |

UK report on Tamiflu highlights failings of health authorities, regulators, industry, and clinical trials

Longstanding questions about a key plank of the international response to pandemic influenza - the stockpiling and widespread use of the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) – have been reignited by a new UK Government report (for some background, see my 2009 story in Crikey). The report by the UK Parliament Public Accounts Committee report has also [...]

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INFLUENZA |

Why journalists don’t always reveal their sources’ conflicts of interests: findings from the swine flu pandemic

With concerns about avian influenza in China hitting the international headlines, there are some timely findings from a study investigating the experiences of 24 Australian journalists in covering the 2009 swine flu pandemic. An initial analysis from this study, published late last year in the  Medical Journal of Australia (abstract free, pay for full article), gave some [...]

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INFLUENZA |

Should this headline about the swine flu pandemic be really alarming or just a bit worrying?

A modelling study estimating the global mortality associated with the first 12 months of the 2009 swine flu pandemic has been published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (abstract free, pay for full article). It estimates that globally there were 201,200 respiratory deaths (range 105,700—395,600) with an additional 83,300 cardiovascular deaths (46,000—179,900) associated with the pandemic. Eighty [...]

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INFLUENZA |

Is antibiotic resistance the “greatest failure of modern medicine”?

(Following on from the previous post on infection control in hospitals.) The Centre for Research in Critical Infection held a meeting recently at the University of Sydney, where the threat of antibiotic resistance was a major topic of discussion. In the article below, the Centre’s director, Dr Jon Iredell, suggests that the lack of policy [...]

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INFLUENZA |

A legacy of swine flu: guidelines for public health officials & journalists dealing with epidemics

During the swine flu pandemic, journalists in the US became concerned about inconsistencies in how jurisdictions handled the release of information about H1N1 cases and deaths. According to the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ), the disparate approaches – with some jurisdictions releasing specific information about the age, gender and residence of victims and others [...]

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INFLUENZA |

A quick wrap from the Australasian Cochrane Symposium

Update, 5 July: The presentations and abstracts are now all available here. The symposium is underway today in Melbourne at the rather lovely Malthouse Theatre, with the theme Evidence, Communication and Impact. Below are some of the tweets from the symposium. Please note that this post does not intend to provide a full report on [...]

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INFLUENZA |

Influenza vaccination and children: weighing up the evidence

As has been widely reported, the Food and Drug Administration recently sent CSL a warning letter raising concerns about its manufacturing processes and the company’s investigation into problems with its influenza vaccine for children, Fluvax (which has been marketed in the US as Afluria). The letter, dated 15 June, asked for CSL to respond within [...]

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INFLUENZA |

Adverse events, vaccination and the case for a no-fault compo scheme

The issue of adverse events associated with vaccination has been in the news recently following the release of the Horvath report, An investigation into the management of adverse effects associated with influenza vaccination of children (with the Panvax and Fluvax products). Meanwhile, a rapid online publication by The Medical Journal of Australia has called for [...]

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