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Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) could cost the World Economy $5 trillion

Economics / Analysis & Strategy Nov 09, 2006 - 09:05 AM GMT

By: Phillipa_Green

Economics

Although Bird flu is off the prime time news of late. Unfortunately the virus has not gone away and is gradually working its way around the world with ever wider outbreaks and human cases of infections continue to increase, with the ever present danger of a global pandemic.

Bird Flu Statistics - Jan 2004 to Sept 2006
Country
Human Cases
Deaths
China
21
14
Vietnam
93
43
Indonesia
67
51
Cambodia
6
6
Thailand
24
16
Djibouti
1
0
Azerbaijan
8
5
Iraq
3
2
Egypt
14
6
Turkey
12
4

Up until December 2005, there were no bird flu outbreaks outside of asia, that soon changed during the first six months of 2006, when outbreaks were widespread amongst Asia, Africa and much of Europe, with Particular hotspots in central Europe, and the first human cases occurring in Turkey. Even Britain reported two confirmed Bird Flu outbreaks in the South East and Scotland.

For the latest period, July to Sept 06, Bird flu outbreaks have continued to occur, across the continents, including several in Europe, so the danger is ever present that it may combine with a human strain of flu to produce a mutation that is more dangerous and difficult to combat resulting in a Pandemic.

Scientists having identified the emergence of a new strain of Bird flu in March last year by researchers working at the University of Hong Kong, has been found mainly in birds and in a few cases in humans as well. According to the researchers, the percentage of the new strain increased "dramatically" from October last year. During the period April-June this year, the predominance shot up to reach 95 per cent. The researchers also found five human cases where H5N1 viruses from different provinces in China belonged to Fujian-like strain and were similar to those found in poultry.

More evidence now points to China being the "epicenter" for H5N1 bird flu virus. A paper published in the PNAS journal (February 21, 2006) states "... finding supports the "influenza epicenter" hypothesis, which argues that southern China is the epicenter from which [H5N1] influenza pandemics emerge." It also said that H5N1 virus has been circulating in Chinese poultry for over a decade and introduced into Vietnam in 2001, 2003 and 2005. More transparency is needed if bird flu has to be contained.

A pandemic similar to the one that killed 50 million people in 1918 'Spanish Flu' may cause global economic losses of as much as $2 trillion, as estimated by the World Bank. Poultry farmers in infected countries have already suffered because of outbreaks, with the cost so far of some $16 billions to date. Worst case scenario's suggests as many as 145 million people could die globally with the cost to the world economy as high as $5 trillions. Even a mild out break could kill some 2 millions with an economic cost to the world of $400 billions.

Investing in Bird Flu
The defence against Bird Flu in humans, is focused on antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu. which are used for any strain of flu, but they can only lessen the severity of the illness.

Tamiflu is produced by the Swiss pharmaceutical Roche's (ROG), and is expected to make enormous profits as governments around the world continue to stock up on the anti-viral drug.

Relenza, produced by Glaxo SmithKline (GSK), is only available in inhaler form, which makes it less appealing to patients, GSK is also working “flat out” to produce a vaccine that could be used to prevent bird flu from spreading to humans.

And thirdly, French Sanofi-Aventis (SNF) is working to produce a vaccine. Its bird flu research and development to date is much more advanced than any of its key competitors, having already secured a large contract with the US.


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Comments


12 Nov 06, 22:17
Re: Bird Flu (Avian Influenza) could cost the World Economy $5 trillion

I don't know if this is real or not. It all sounds kinda fowl to me. :)


rvadipoldkov
09 Jun 07, 08:51
Good site

Hello!

Nice design on www.marketoracle.biz, good info, thank you.


John
18 Jun 07, 15:10
Pandemic Bird Flu

Good article. People need to take proactive action to prevent a massive epidemic. There are free preparedness guides available for download at:

http://www.pandemicflu.gov


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