The Osterholm Quotes

"We have to adjust the practice of medicine to the science of medicine, and the science of medicine right now says get your flu shot as late as possible before the flu season."
"From the time you get the flu shot, every month after that the actual protection is reduced over time."
"While there are some differences, they’re not demonstrably different between a cell culture versus an egg-based, versus which kind of [flu] vaccine you get. I think the key thing is getting vaccinated."
"One more severe influenza pandemic would cost the world many trillions of dollars. So by shortchanging flu vaccine research right now, we are being penny-wise and pound-foolish."
"Last year we spent about $73 million on flu vaccine research. Meanwhile, for the eighth consecutive year, we spent more than $1 billion on HIV research. Now, I fully support that we need research into HIV vaccines, but it gives you some idea of the underfunding of flu vaccine work,."
"Even in 2009, when we had the last flu pandemic with H1N1 — similar to 1918 but not nearly as severe — that vaccine at that time only worked about 60% of the time even in healthy people, and of course it was not readily available for the first eight months of the outbreak, because it takes that long to grow it in chicken eggs."
"If we think the IV bag situation in Puerto Rico was serious, it pales in comparison with what could happen with any kind of hiccup with China."
"Now we are caught up in an economic war in the sense of tariffs. . . . If we were ever in an international incident with China, they would literally have their hands around our necks in terms of critical drugs. They wouldn’t even have to fire a shot."
“We have to find out what it is. Is it wildlife? We're not any farther along in preventing [illnesses] today than we were back [in May and June]."
"By the time cases are detected, the product is long gone. It's very hard to trace back."
"It's really important that we understand that this flu vaccine that we’re using today is largely based on World War II technology."
“Antibiotic resistance is a reality of evolution, and we have dumped a lot of gas on that evolutionary fire with a lot of human and animal use. We have put antibiotic resistance on hyperspeed."
"We fund this thing [public health preparedness] like Minnesota snow. There's a lot in January, but in July it's all melted."
​"Each year, the system [of medical product supply chains] gets leaner and leaner. It doesn't take much of a hiccup anymore to challenge it."
"I was told I'd have the freedom to promote antibiotic stewardship with the tools we have developed at CIDRAP. It's no different than serving on any scientific advisory committee. It's really important to promote the scientific agenda."
"I'm going to concentrate on low- and middle-income countries because it's the area of the fastest growth of antibiotic resistance."
"It's a unique opportunity to be involved with countries around the world on specific topics through official government channels. Antibiotic resistance and antibiotic stewardship is something we've been involved with at CIDRAP for many years, and that will be my focus."
"The bad news is, if we don't control it because it gets into a large urban metropolitan area, and we see hundreds and thousands of cases like we saw in West Africa, we might have a chance at detecting a real clinical impact with the [experimental] drug — but at a hell of a cost to the residents of Africa."
"With the use of the vaccine and the rapid response, we should be able to hold cases to a minimum. And in that situation, it’s going to be very difficult to test the efficacy of these drugs."
"What makes it difficult is that if the Chinese license a product and bring it to a low- or middle-income country … and we’re still trying to evaluate those vaccines and drugs that we believe are important, it may actually create a real challenge. The country may well be motivated to use the licensed [Chinese] product, even without potentially the same rigor of evaluation that we’re putting our vaccines through."
"This is the beginning of what I think is a very consequential change in international public health response, with impact on overall global health security. By beginning to turn our back on global health security … we have not understood that those that provide the emergency response and those that provide the vaccines and those that provide the care and treatment are often those who also have access at the table of the highest levels of government for every other thing, including trade, resources and all aspects of regional security."
"It [another flu pandemic] will happen. It's like earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis — they happen. It might be 20, 40, 60 years, but they happen. And so an investment in a flu vaccine right now that could actually take pandemic flu off the table would rival anything we did with eradicating smallpox."
"We're talking about billions of dollars [to produce a game-changing "universal" flu vaccine], and there has to be a business proposition meaning that companies are going to take this and move forward. Just building one plant to make flu vaccine is in the many, many hundreds of millions of dollars."
"We could have an Ebola-prepared Africa, where the vaccine is really promoted among health-care workers, emergency responders and burial workers and we could pre-deploy it."
"Influenza research today is a humbling experience. The more we learn the less we understand."


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