The Osterholm Quotes

"We've got to do what we can with what we have. But we can't be lulled into a false sense of security that what we have is what we need."
"[The flu vaccine is] causing actually almost an erosion of confidence in vaccines as opposed to increasing confidence. … If you look at over the past five years, the number of people being vaccinated has actually leveled off or in some groups actually decreased. And that's because I think people are really confused about this vaccine and what it does."
"I don’t think we're that close at all [in developing a game-changing universal flu vaccine]. I think the kind of work that's gone on has been critical and important, but it's only the first 5 feet of what would need to be a 100-foot rope."
"Pandemic influenza is going to continue. It's one of those things that when it happens, whatever we have for tools, that's it."
"Seasonal flu is bad, but this is not that unusual. When a totally new flu strain emerges in the human population, that's when we really have a problem."
"We live in a global just-in-time economy. A pandemic could put a screeching halt to that. [Aviation] is really a very accelerated way to move the virus that's unprecedented in human history."
"It's just a matter of when and where it starts. The possibility that we could have a 1918-type pandemic again is actually very real."
"People have painted this as the worst flu in recent memory, and it's probably not good. Any death from influenza is an unfortunate tragedy, but at this point, I'm hard-pressed to say that this is a significantly elevated year for influenza. It's more of a media issue than an actual data issue."
​"If you look at the confidence intervals, they all overlap. The results are very similar. There’s nothing here that's surprising. It's very consistent with what we've been seeing."
"The strain isn't in the damn vaccine, and it's giving cross protection."
"My colleagues who are over age 65, everybody wanted basically the Fluad or the Protein Sciences vaccine, Flublok."
"This year is more on the severe end, but this is what you should expect from seasonal flu."
"You have to have the vision coming out of the administration [to adequately fund flu research], and we don’t have that right now."
"You have a major funding deficit at the federal level, which is really dangerous. If we had a replay of the Spanish flu [the 1918 pandemic], we’d be hosed.”
"What's the business model here? Am I going to spend more than $1 billion to make a [universal flu] vaccine when I can only sell $20 million worth of doses?"
"We've really set ourselves up for a very, very serious situation. I'm afraid that this [relying on offshore medicine and devices] could be the worst mistake here with the flu. With the fall hurricanes we experienced, we're now seeing that very, very major problem, because over 60% of all IV bags we use in medical around the world are made in Puerto Rico."
"Putting a few million dollars here and there into a [game-changing] flu vaccine is not going to get us what we need. It's going to take billions of dollars and extensive collaboration and research to get a vaccine done."
"One of the things that makes pandemics of influenza more consequential today than ever is the fact that we've become so dependent on global trade for essential products of life. The collateral damage in the next pandemic could be substantially more than what's actually caused by influenza itself if we have a major shortage of these life-saving drugs."
"Just to supply the needs of Shanghai, about 100 million chickens are born each month. On average, it's about 35 days from the time a chicken is hatched until it’s on the plate. That's just one city."
"Each year, the healthcare system gets a thinner and thinner veneer of preparedness. It takes less and less impact for a healthcare system to go from routine to crisis."
"There's nothing really that can impact on a national level — or for that matter on an international level — more quickly than influenza."
"Australia, among other Southern Hemisphere countries, actually had a major problem with influenza. . . . And in that setting, the vaccine had only limited impact, about 10% protection. So we anticipated that could be the case here and unfortunately that's exactly what we're finding."
"The only real expertise in the world to make these vaccines [for emerging public health threats] in a quantity and a safety environment is in the private sector. If the private sector isn't fully engaged and involved, it's a show stopper."
"There is no apparent effort to make [universal flu] vaccines a priority in the current administration. Its national security strategy published last month cites Ebola and SARS as potential bioterrorism and pandemic threats, yet makes no mention of the risk of pandemic influenza."
"We are not prepared. Our current [flu] vaccines are based on 1940s research. Deploying them against a severe global pandemic would be equivalent to trying to stop an advancing battle tank with a single rifle."


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