The Osterholm Quotes

"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."
"As bad as this winter’s epidemic is, it won’t compare with the flu pandemic that is almost certainly on the horizon if we don’t dedicate energy and resources to a universal vaccine."
"If someone finds a way to make the Ebola virus more dangerous, I don’t believe that should be available to anybody off the street who could use it for nefarious purposes. . . . We want to keep some of this stuff on a need-to-know basis."
"I will be the first to acknowledge there have been no big outbreaks or situations that have occurred yet from a dead body. But I am absolutely convinced it’s just a matter of time."
"Unfortunately, [H3N2 influenza is] the one strain that the vaccine is really underperforming in, in every regard."
"Clinicians love to be independent operators. . . . What we have to do is basically share with them how they can improve their clinical care [using antimicrobial stewardship], when they are in control and have at their fingertips the best possible information in the quickest possible time."
"I must admit on a whole, we have not taken these areas as seriously as we can and should. I'm embarrassed to say in my own home state of Minnesota, only 24 percent of hospitals had a recognized antibiotic stewardship program in place [in 2015]."
"I'm convinced that taking everyone's temperature before they worked would have more impact in promoting patient safety than mandating the flu shot [for health workers]. If it's a requirement, it's on us to show the data demonstrating that it's useful. We don't have that."
"Some health care workers who get vaccinated, assuming that they are protected, they may actually in fact come to work when they shouldn't be working, with fever, and chills, and actually have a false sense of security, and transmit the virus to these patients."
​"The industry has no appetite for [a universal flu vaccine] right now, unless there are assurances of support throughout the process and that there’s a market at the end of it. There is no market at the end of the rainbow, so why even try to climb on the rainbow to begin with?"
​"Today, we see millions of people going around the world every day on airplanes, and with that, they can spread [a pandemic flu] virus very quickly, and unbeknownst to them that they might be infected, spread it very quickly.​"
​"​Seasonal flu is the one we deal with all the time, but pandemic flu frankly is the one that scares the hell out of us."
"Bird flu is our number one, two, and three priority. For both birds and humans."
"In some ways, the whole discussion now about universal or game-changing [flu] vaccine has somewhat shifted the landscape. Because now people are going to say, 'Wait a minute. Am I going to invest in an intermediate stage of vaccine production … and do this kind of fix on the current vaccine as an intermediate stage or interim stage?' "
"The influenza and antimicrobial resistance pandemic clocks are ticking; we just don't know what time it is."
"Remember the entire world will be in the soup at the same time. The United States and other developed countries will not be sending public health first responders and medical supplies to developing countries in response to the pandemic."
"It seems we've lost an understanding of the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic and what is required to prepare and respond to each."
"Who is going to pay for [a universal flu vaccine], given that the cost of research and development may mean the vaccine will be substantially more expensive than what we already have? What company will embrace that?"
"The work is very concerning in terms of the implications for what H7N9 might do in the days ahead regarding human infection. The whole world is worried about it."
"At the top of our crisis agenda are 2 frightening scenarios: the rapidly emerging consequences of a 1918-like influenza pandemic and the slow-moving tsunami of antimicrobial drug resistance."


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