November 01, 2005

So, How Do We Ramp Up Vaccine Production?

There's an interesting discussion going on over at Two Babes and a Brain.

Me? I'm a market chick. I honestly do believe that vaccine production has plummeted because of price controls and the threat of lawsuits. So I think Bush's proposal is a step in the right direction.

Posted by Attila at November 1, 2005 01:30 PM | TrackBack

Protecting vaccine makers from lawsuits arising from normal side effects of a live virus vaccine is important. All live virus vaccines are dangerous. We use them as the result of a risk-benefit analysis.

It is also true that the measures taken by the government would not prohibit lawsuits based on negligence, as some have stated.

But the major problem is the slow production method. The egg-based metjhod takes 6 months from the determination of what strain to vaccinate for to the amounts of vaccines necessary for general inocculation.

A newer, cell-based metjhod can cut this to 5 months, prospectively. The US government has awarded a contract to a French company to develop this method. But it may be several years before the kinks are worked out, and it is useful for vaccine production.

To me, flu virus is a natural for attack by non-living vaccines raised by genetic engineering. But there has never been much support for a program to pursue this. people just don't want "Frankenvaccines." but such methods would be much quicker than cell-based methods. (Remember here that a chicken egg is one cell!)

Most of the hysteria and blaming going on here are due to a misunderstanding of the sience. If one knows the science, one realizes that what flu vaccine making is now is a crap shoot.

Posted by: Averroes at November 1, 2005 02:07 PM

But what gets me is that a lot of the same people who think we can save public schools by pouring more money into them don't seem to think the pharma companies need any money to produce vaccines.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 02:24 PM

If you make it possible to make a profit producing vaccines, companies will do it. It's just not that vaccines are dangerous, a person doesn't need any scientific support or proof of causality to win a lawsuit and collect substantial damages. All you have to do is tug at the juror's heartstrings. Witness the recent case where someone with multiple organ failures and a recent history of three heart attacks before they ever used the drug won their suit after taking a pill for a few weeks. Or the family of a teenager with a history of three suicide attempts blaming his antidepressent for his death(by suicide), two weeks after starting use. It's sad that so many people see the death of a loved one as a "lottery win." And even sadder that members of the legal profession encourage it. Pretty soon we will have to prove we are in excellent health before we will be given a prescription drug. Can we do anything about this? How about letting these cases be decided by a panel of scientific experts rather than a jury of ordinary people. I assure you, no one wants a dangerous drug or product on the market. Let's at least be a little bit certain that the drug or product was responsible. I'll bet that heart defibrillators look pretty dangerous when you just look at statistics after their use. That's because they are only used when a person is technically "dead"...and a person can't always be rivived.

Posted by: Darrell at November 1, 2005 09:40 PM

Vaccines are a touchy subject on the referenced site, because Chris has two autistic kids and believes in the thermosil causation. (Not that you didn't know that)

Posted by: JFH at November 2, 2005 11:55 AM

I had no idea. Should I delete the link?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 2, 2005 02:17 PM

No, LMA, just put the link next to the "Elvis sightings" link.

All views are welcome.

Posted by: Averroes at November 2, 2005 04:55 PM

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