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Thursday, November 17, 2005 

The ethics of avian flu response

Josh Braun (a "a card-carrying bioethicist") at Sciencegate, the official editorial blog of Seed Magazine, has posed a number of interesting questions regarding 10 topics in pandemic flu response and preparedness. Topics include many that I've considered, but don't have any definitive answers to, such as:

Is the mainstream media scare-mongering? Or is it providing a public service? If there is an eventual backlash in public support for pandemic preparedness that results in hundreds or millions of bird flu deaths, who is to blame?
and
...do developed nations have the right to stockpile antiviral medications for treating their populations at large in the event of avian flu, when the drugs are best indicated for the control of new avian flu outbreaks - outbreaks that are far more likely to occur in developing nations?

Lots of food for thought over there. I hope our leaders are having similar "what if/what's the right thing to do" brainstorming sessions.

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About me

  • I'm Tara C. Smith
  • From Iowa, United States
  • I'm a mom and a scientist, your basic stressed-out, wanna-have-it-all-and-do-it-all Gen Xer. Recently transplanted from Ohio to Iowa, I've spent most of my life in the midwest (with 4 years of college spent out east in "soda" territory). My main interest, and the subject of my research, is infectious disease: how does the microbe cause illness? What makes one strain nasty, and another "avirulent?" Are the latter really not causing any disease, or could some of those be possible for the development of chronic disease years down the road? Additionally, I've spent a lot of time discussing the value of teaching evolution, and educating others about "intelligent design" and other forms of creationism. My interest in history of science and medicine is also useful as a way to tie all of the above interests together. [Disclaimer: the views here are solely my own, and do not represent my employer, my spouse, that guy who's always sitting by the fountain when I come into work, or anyone else with whom I may be remotely affiliated.]
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