The Osterholm Quotes

“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."
"All it would take is one or two of these infected individuals to go into a larger metropolitan area . . . Kinshasa is a gas tanker waiting for a match to hit it."
"I don't know what the virus will do. But history tells us that influenza comes back and comes back and comes back."
"It's a whole different world today. We can't deliver public health like we did 20, 30, 40 years ago. Public health is a never-ending investment need."
"A pandemic would be the least of our problems; it would be all the collateral damage we'd have to deal with, and we're doing nothing, we're doing nothing."
"The good news is, for all intents and purposes, the [E coli] outbreak is over. The lettuce that was harvested looks like it came from a single farm and was harvested between March 5 and the 16th. Typically these products have about a 21-day shelf life, so what we're really picking up here is not ongoing transmission to new people but cases that are now only being detected by the public health system."
"It's gratifying to see many parties now talking about the need for a game-changing influenza vaccine—we've come a long way in this discussion. [But] just $10 million here and $10 million there is not going to do it."
"It's a broken system that we have to fix and we have only had marginal improvement. We've got to stop all this happy talk. We have to illustrate the problems … instead of just congratulating ourselves for what we accomplished."
"Pandemics are worldwide epidemics, and two diseases today that have the potential to become a worldwide outbreak overnight are influenza and antimicrobial resistance — not a single big outbreak, but a growing collection of serious challenges. With antibiotic resistance growing, we are entering a post-antibiotic era."


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