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17 October 2005

The Final Word on the Bird Flu Pandemic

Apart from noting the apparent confusion of a commentator interviewed for a news broadcast yesterday where the pundit stated the guideline figure of 50,000 deaths from Bird Flu in the UK is what his assembled team of experts were 'working for' before changing the meaning of his sentence entirely, The Antagonist has just this to say about the forthcoming bird flu pandemic:

BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD, BIRD,
flu.

2 comments:

Bridget said...

Thanks, Antagonist, I'll get the budgie vaccinated instead then.

The Antagonist said...

Just wait until the media execs roll into action...

Get your Bird Flu vaccine at POULTRY prices.

Bird Flu Vaccine going CHEEP. CHEEP.



On a more serious note...

Interesting too that the lack of available flu vaccine, Tamiflu, is the responsibility of none other than Swiss pharmaceutical company, Roche. Roche acquired the Tamiflu licence from Gilead Sciences Inc. of Foster City in 1996 (some foresight on Roche's part).

"Roche ... fully intends to remain the sole manufacturer of Tamiflu" said Terry Hurley, a Roche company spokesman.

Give that man a benefits package!

Of course Roche are no stranger to holding the world to ransom on the basis of licence ownership.

For a number of years they have been waging a war against biotechnology researchers and research on the basis of a tenuous patent they hold for a naturally occurring enzyme known as Taq polymerase.

Taq is is a vital part of the Polymerase Chain Reaction which allows biotechnologists to replicate DNA from tiny amounts of source material. Without Taq the Human Genome Mapping project and medical research generally would be a different beast entirely.

Opposition came from researchers and other Taq vendors but was led by Promega against whom Roche issued legal action. Promega countered:

"Due to prior art and failure to disclose the best mode for producing the invention, the Taq patent should never have issued."

Promega's last update on the litigation was on 31 March 2003 when they declared:

"The U.S. Court of Appeals has today affirmed the findings of inequitable conduct in the procurement of the Taq Patent. We are pleased with the finding by the Court of Appeals. The case will now be remanded to the Trial Court for a determination of remedies and sanctions. Promega remains confident in the ultimate favorable outcome."

Roche's battle with Promega on the basis of a tenuous patent was little more than a war on the something known as the 'Experimental Use Exception' which allows researchers to use patented processes without licence.

This sort of thing (NO ROI) upsets multinational corporations irrespective of whether they own the patent or not.

Roche and Promega between them have demonstrated brilliantly why patents aren't much use to anyone at all affirming once again the old adage that, "Taq is CHEEP".