November 15, 2005

AVIAN FLU UPDATE: Michael Fumento thinks that there’s too much avian-flu hysteria. I certainly hope he’s right. Meanwhile, this article in Scientific American makes a useful point:

Some mysteries do remain as scientists watch the evolution of a potentially pandemic virus for the first time, but the past makes one thing certain: even if the dreaded H5N1 never morphs into a form that can spread easily between people, some other flu virus surely will. The stronger our defenses, the better we will weather the storm when it strikes. “We have only one enemy,” CDC director Gerberding has said repeatedly, “and that is complacency.”

That’s right. These two points aren’t necessarily at odds, of course: Hysteria in the short term can too-easily shift to complacency over the long term. We really need the kind of accelerated antivirus program, aimed at developing antiviral drugs and rapid vaccine production techniques, that Ray Kurzweil has called for.

Meanwhile, Tyler Cowen has much more on the subject.

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