Avian Flu Natural Remedy by
Sahelian, M.D. April
Everybody is talking about the bird flu. A major weekly magazine called me to find out if I had any ideas on how to prevent or treat bird flu virus if it ever occurred in humans in the USA. Since I have not seen any research in this area regarding natural supplements, I told the reporter that I could not say anything for certain. But, it does make sense that any steps one takes towards improving one's immune system could make it less likely to catch this condition or make the symptoms less severe if it ever occurs. I have Top Ten suggestions on how to keep your immune system at its best. See immune for suggestions. But keep in mind: most of us, at this time in June 2008, are infinitely more likely to catch a cold, another common bug, bronchitis, flu, pneumonia, or another serious infection than to worry about the avian flu.... at least in the short term foreseeable future. However, some experts believe the risk of a human influenza pandemic remains real and is probably growing as the avian flu virus becomes entrenched in poultry in more countries.
There may be some compounds in plants and herbs that could have an influence on the bird flu bug. If I come across any, I will mention it in a subsequent newsletter.
Kimchi for Avian Flu? - It works
Researchers at Seoul National University have used Kimchi Sauerkraut to treat chickens infected with avian flu. Kimchi is a seasoned variety of sauerkraut that shares Lactobacillus bacteria with traditional Sauerkraut, which may be the critical element in preventing Avian Flu. Both Kimchi and traditional Sauerkraut are made by fermenting sliced cabbage, producing a high level of lactic acid. According to an 2005 BBC report, Kimchi was fed to 13 infected chickens and 11 of them began to recover within a week. South Korean Kimchi consumption is up as a result of this report.
Avian Flu Natural Remedy
Do curcumin or turmeric work for avian flu?
We have not come across any human trials regarding the influence of curcumin or turmeric supplements on bird flu.
How Serious is Bird Flu
Infection in Humans?
There is a reason why the H5N1 avian flu that is so lethal in birds but has not been able to spread easily among humans. It is because bird flu viruses attach to receptors, or molecules on cells, in different regions of the respiratory system from human influenza viruses. Receptors act like doorways that allow the virus to enter the cell, multiply and infect other cells. Humans have receptors for avian viruses, including H5N1. The H5N1 bird flu virus can infect cells in the upper airway of humans and need not penetrate deep in the lungs to cause infection.
Doomsday predictions about bird flu seem to be spreading faster than the virus itself. But a small group of skeptics say the bird flu hype is overblown and ultimately harmful to the publicís health. Thereís no guarantee bird flu will become a pandemic, and if it does thereís no guarantee it will kill millions of people. The real trouble, these skeptics say, is that bird flu hysteria is sapping money and attention away from more important health threats.
Bird Flu - Avian Flu Update
2009 - Scientists have identified a synthetic
compound which appears to be able to stop the replication of influenza
viruses, including the H5N1 bird flu virus.
The search for such new "inhibitors" has grown more urgent in recent years as drugs, like oseltamivir, have become largely ineffective against certain flu strains, like the H1N1 seasonal flu virus. Researchers in Hong Kong and the Unites States screened 230,000 compounds that were catalogued with the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and found 20 that could potentially restrict the proliferation of the H5N1.
2007 - A
25-year-old Egyptian woman has died of bird flu. It is the first human
death in Egypt from the virus since June and the 16th since the disease
arrived in early 2006.
2007 - A third
Egyptian child has tested positive for the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus,
bringing the number of human cases in Egypt to 32.
2007 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $132 million in contracts to GlaxoSmithKline Plc, Novartis AG and Iomai Corp. for influenza vaccines that could be used in a bird flu pandemic. The contracts will help fund efforts to develop vaccines using an immune system booster called an adjuvant.
A Nigerian woman who died of flu symptoms has tested
positive for the H5N1 bird flu virus, the first reported death from the
virus in the West African country. The woman from Nigeria's commercial
capital Lagos is the first confirmed human victim of bird flu in
sub-Saharan Africa, after the deadly disease was first found in poultry in
Nigeria a year ago.
2006 - An 11-year-old Indonesian boy has died of bird flu, taking the country's death toll from the disease to 50. The boy died at a hospital in Tulungagung in East Java province, said Runizar Ruesin, the head of the ministry's bird flu information centre. Tests by two local laboratories confirmed he had bird flu. "He had contact with dead chickens. Chickens have died in his house.
Even if bird flu does arrive on U.S. shores on the wings of a migratory bird, the virus is unlikely to makes the inroads in poultry -- or in people -- that it has in less developed countries, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institutes of Health's infectious disease chief.
A novel "sialidase fusion" protein effectively prevents and treats human and bird flu infection in animals, researchers report. The protein, known as DAS181, works by removing flu receptors found in the lungs.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed that there have been 12 human cases of bird flu in Egypt, four of them fatal. This took the global total to 113 deaths out of 204 cases since 2003.
Alaska Natives may be the most likely people in
North America to be exposed to the avian flu virus because they depend for
food on wild migratory birds from Asia
The H5N1 avian flu virus has not yet made its way to North America, although many experts believe it will.
Tests on a dead swan have confirmed the Czech
Republic's first case of the H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus.
Eight months worth of sampling migratory birds has turned up no evidence of the dangerous H5N1 strain.
Bird flu has killed five young people in Azerbaijan. Confirmation of the five deaths takes the WHO toll from the virus to 103 since late 2003.
Israel detected its first cases of H5N1 bird flu. The virus has killed thousands of turkeys and chicken on two farms, and it hospitalized one person suspected of being infected.
Swiss drug maker Roche is boosting output of its flu drug, Tamiflu to meet increased demand from governments building stockpiles for a potential pandemic triggered by bird flu. The Basel-based group said it would lift production by an additional 100 million treatments to a total of 400 million treatments by the end of 2006. Roche Holding AG expects 1.1 billion to 1.2 billion Swiss francs ($921 million) in sales of the drug to governments this year, excluding its sales as a treatment for regular influenza. The production increase is designed to meet government orders for millions of doses of the drug, which has been recommended by experts as one of the most effective ways of treating humans who may become infected with evolving forms of the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Some scientists have questioned how well Tamiflu will perform in countering new strains of the disease and, in a bid to answer these uncertainties, Roche said it was conducting a range of studies to examine the drug's best use.
Swedish authorities have confirmed that two wild
ducks found on its east coast carried the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Denmark
also found one in a buzzard.
A cat that was found dead in northern Germany with the H5N1 bird flu virus had the highly pathogenic Asian strain that can be transmitted to humans.
A man has died from bird flu in southern China, the
ninth death from the H5N1 virus in the country. The man was the 15th human
bird flu case in China. He died in Guangdong province, which borders Hong
Kong. In Europe, France announced a new case of H5N1 in a wild duck in the
east of the country, while another test on a wild swan showed the virus
had spread several hundred kilometres (miles) to the south. France's
poultry sector, Europe's biggest, is losing 40 million euros ($48 million)
a month after an outbreak of H5N1 at a poultry farm. The news prompted
more than 40 countries to impose curbs on French poultry products,
including foie gras.
Bird flu vaccines mask the deadly H5N1 bird flu virus and fail to offer a general solution to the spread of the disease, Britain's farm ministry has said. Crucially, though these vaccines protect against disease, they will not prevent birds from becoming infected and shedding virus. Because symptoms of disease would be masked, the hidden presence of disease would pose a serious problem. European Union health experts decided to allow France and the Netherlands, the EU's two largest poultry producers, to vaccinate millions of birds against avian influenza as a precautionary measure. The deadly H5N1 strain, which has killed more than 90 people and millions of birds in Asia, Africa and Europe, has recently spread to the European Union.
Nigeria confirmed the first known cases of the
deadly H5N1 avian flu virus found among poultry in Africa
Azerbaijan said the lethal Avian Flu H5N1 strain had been found in wild birds on the Caspian Sea.
U.S. flu experts are
resigned to being overwhelmed by an avian flu pandemic, saying hospitals,
schools, businesses and the general public are nowhere near ready to cope.
Money, equipment and staff are lacking and few states have even the most
basic plans in place for dealing with an epidemic of any disease, let
alone the possibly imminent pandemic of H5N1 avian influenza. While a
federal plan has been out for several weeks, it lacks essential details
such as guidance on when hospitals should start to turn away all but the
sickest patients and when schools should close, the experts complained.
U.S. regulators have approved a new, faster test for diagnosing strains of bird flu in humans suspected of being infected with the virus. The test designed to detect strains of Asian H5 flu provides preliminary results on suspected samples within four hours, instead of at least two to three days with current testing technology. The H5N1 subtype of H5 flu virus has killed 86 people in Asia and Turkey, and is the strain doctors and scientists fear could cause a worldwide flu pandemic should it begin to be transmitted easily from human to human. More than half of the people known to have been infected by the H5N1 strain of bird flu have died. However, nearly all of the cases are believed to have been caused by exposure to infected poultry.
An outbreak of bird flu among poultry in Nigeria is the H5N1 strain that can kill people, the World Organization for Animal Health reports, the first time the bird flu virus has been found in Africa.
Bird flu virus has been detected in Iraq.
2006 - A new bird flu vaccine made using cleaner technology took just a month to make and completely protected chickens from the deadly H5N1 viruy. The genetically engineered vaccine appears to fulfill the promise of modern influenza vaccine technology being pushed by public health experts who want to improve the slow, old-fashioned methods now used to fight the flu. The team at the University of Pittsburgh is now putting together a plan to test the vaccine in humans.
Bird flu experts meeting in Beijing warned in Jan 2006 that there
was no time to lose in battling a disease that has killed almost 80 people
since 2003 and has now arrived at the gates of Europe and the Middle East.
The World Bank hopes the meeting will raise at least $1.2 billion to help improve health and veterinary services in developing countries grappling with outbreaks, and to strengthen surveillance in areas not yet affected by the H5N1 flu virus.
Avian Flu and Hygiene
While governments fret over antiviral drugs and elaborate plans to ward off a looming flu pandemic, the best prevention is simple: wash your hands and cover your mouth when you sneeze, and then wash your hands again. It's a bug that spreads like any other bug. As of Nov, 2005, a lethal strain of the bird flu virus, H5N1, has killed 67 of the 130 people it is known to have infected in Asia since 2003 -- mainly in Vietnam and Thailand. Most of the victims contracted the virus directly from handling infected chickens, but virus has not shown that it can spread easily among people.
Avian Flu and TamiFlu and Bird Flu
2005 - U.S. regulators are studying the deaths of 12 children in Japan who took Roche AG's flu-fighting drug Tamiflu, but they said it was difficult to tell whether the drug played a role in any of the cases. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was "concerning" that 32 psychiatric events, such as hallucinations and abnormal behavior, also had been reported in children who took Tamiflu, which is in high demand because it is considered to be one of the best defenses against avian flu in people.
The needles of pine, spruce and fir trees contain a fairly high concentration of shikimic acid, the main ingredient in Tamiflu. Countries all over the world are stockpiling the drug in anticipation of a bird flu pandemic. Most shikimic acid is obtained from star anise, a cooking spice from a tree grown in China. Prices of the spice skyrocketed when anxiety over a the possibility of a human outbreak of avian flu escalated. A small Canadian company, Biolyse Pharma Corp., is now processing thousands of discarded trees to retrieve shikimic acid.
Avian Flu Test
A new test may help provide a kind of early warning system for new and dangerous mutations of the avian flu virus. The test could alert scientists to when the virus starts to change into a form that easily infects people. The test, called a glycan array, shows it would take very little change for the H5N1 avian influenza virus to cause a human pandemic. Two mutations could change the specificity dramatically going from avian to human. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed more than 100 people since late 2003 and is spreading from Asia into Europe. But the H5N1 virus still primarily infects birds and only rarely passes into people. Experts fear this could change, and that a form easily transmitted from person to person could cause a pandemic, a global epidemic, that would kill millions.
Industry Coalition Advises
Against Use of Dietary Supplements as Remedy for Avian Flu
The trade associations of the dietary supplement industry -- the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), and the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA)-- have issued the following statement:
In light of increased media attention surrounding the threat of an avian flu epidemic, a coalition representing the dietary supplement industry reaffirmed its commitment to the responsible sale and use of health-promoting vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements, and encouraged consumers to use caution should they encounter products which claim to treat or prevent the avian flu.
The dietary supplement industry is keenly aware of public concern regarding avian flu and of the desire of the public to protect itself against this recent health epidemic, which can cause serious illness and, ultimately, death. We do not believe any dietary supplements have been specifically shown to prevent or treat avian flu. While federal law and regulations do not allow any dietary supplement product to claim to treat or prevent avian flu, we are issuing the following unified advisory for marketers and retailers, as well as for consumers of dietary supplements:* Marketers and retailers of dietary supplements are urged to refuse to stock or sell any products that are presented as preventing, treating or curing avian flu; * Marketers and retailers should refrain from promoting any dietary supplement as a preventative, cure or treatment for avian flu, and * Anyone who believes they may have avian flu or may have come in contact with it should immediately contact a healthcare professional. Millions of Americans value dietary supplements because they can enhance general immune function and disease resistance. However, therapies for the prevention or treatment of avian flu should only be recommended by qualified healthcare professionals or public health authorities.
The organizations supporting this advisory represent the majority of dietary supplement manufacturers. Each of the associations and its member companies remain committed to providing the American public with high quality self-care products. However, each of the associations also recognizes that consumers need to be educated and aware of health conditions which require the care of a health care professional. The potential for a global outbreak of avian flu is such a condition, and people who believe they may have contracted avian flu should consult qualified healthcare professionals for treatment.
American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Michael McGuffin, President Founded in 1983, AHPA is the recognized leader in representing the responsible center of the botanical trade, and is comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products. AHPA's mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. Website: http://www.ahpa.org
Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), Linda Suydam, President CHPA is the 124-year-old national trade association representing U.S. manufacturers and distributors of nonprescription, over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and dietary supplement products.
Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Steven Mister, Esq., President & CEO CRN has represented key manufacturers of dietary supplement ingredients and products for over 30 years, providing its member companies with regulatory guidance, scientific information on the benefits and safety of dietary supplements, public relations expertise, and legislative support.
SOURCE American Herbal Products Association; Consumer Healthcare Products Association; Council for Responsible Nutrition; National Nutritional Foods Association
The FDA and Avian Flu
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to nine companies marketing bogus flu products behind claims that their products could be effective against preventing the avian flu or other forms of influenza. FDA is not aware of any scientific evidence that demonstrates the safety or effectiveness of these products for treating or preventing avian flu and the agency is concerned that the use of these products could harm consumers or interfere with conventional treatments. "There are initiatives in place to deter counterfeiters and those who sell fraudulent or phony products to prevent or treat avian flu," said Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, Acting FDA Commissioner. FDA issued Warning Letters to nine firms marketing products making unproven claims that they treat or prevent avian flu or other forms of influenza. Eight of the products purported to be dietary supplements. Examples of the unproven claims cited in the Warning Letters include: "prevents avian flu," "a natural virus shield," "kills the virus," and "treats the avian flu." These alternative therapies are promoted as "natural" or "safer" treatments that can be used in place of an approved treatment or preventative medical product. In the Warning Letters, FDA advises the firms that it considers their products to be drugs because they claim to treat or prevent disease. The Warning Letters further state that FDA considers these products to be "new drugs" that require FDA approval before marketing. The letters also note that the claims regarding avian flu are false and misleading because there is no scientific basis for concluding that the products are effective to treat or prevent avian flu.