Whoops – How did that get in there?

Generally I use my blog for tech related issues, but recently I’m noticing there are many underreported news that would probably be worth mentioning in the media. Well, they don’t get covered.

For example: There’s been the case of Baxter International, who has just admitted that their flu product contained live bird flu virus! Or, like Adam and John suspect (listen below or to the No Agenda podcast), maybe they are just trying “to get the party started”. How did this product, even if it’s currently experimental, get out of their labs without anyone noticing it?

The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.

The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.

People familiar with biosecurity rules are dismayed by evidence that human H3N2 and avian H5N1 viruses somehow co-mingled in the Orth-Donau facility. That is a dangerous practice that should not be allowed to happen, a number of experts insisted.

While H5N1 doesn’t easily infect people, H3N2 viruses do. If someone exposed to a mixture of the two had been simultaneously infected with both strains, he or she could have served as an incubator for a hybrid virus able to transmit easily to and among people.

That mixing process, called reassortment, is one of two ways pandemic viruses are created.

Why haven’t I heard anything about this in mainstream media? Where’s the article on Spiegel.de? Any mentioning on our so beloved Tagesschau?

Searching for “baxter flu” on CNN.com and BBC.co.uk. Guess what: zero reasonable results.

But hey, I guess “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” (no. you’re not!) is more exciting than this.

Also, thinking about getting a flu shot? Why would you be willing to get one?! Oh wait, maybe because the first states in the US are forcing parents to get them for their kids. Thank goodness parents are standing up against it.