A leading scientist warned yesterday that the avian flu virus is on the point of mutating into a pandemic disease and says that current estimates that such a pandemic could cause 7.5m deaths may understate the threat.Canada and much of the West is embarked on a hugely expensive program to comply with the largely political goals of Kyoto. An adventure which is most unlikely to do a single thing to actually improve the global warming situation because it excludes both India and China.
His warnings come as experts writing in today's edition of Nature voice concerns about the world's inability to manufacture sufficient vaccines for a pandemic and warn of the impact that the virus - H5N1 - could have on the global economy.
Meanwhile, in South East Asia avian flu is mutating and learning how best to spread from human to human. This is an immediate threat and one for which we have real scientific evidence and, more to the point, scientifically feasible precautions which we can take.
Nature publishes a bit of future fiction in the form of a blog...The flu hits Christmas 2005.
(The good news is that Canada is somewhat more prepared than most Western countries with a decent stock of anti-virals. The bad is that a vaccine is months if not years away and the bird flu does not seem to be waiting.)