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Regina Lee

Avian Flu

By: Regina Lee
College Now Course - SCI 1

I'm generally oblivious to the world around me because I don't read the newspaper, listen to the radio, or watch the news. So, I am not familiar with current events; however, when I came into this College Now class, I learned a lot from the course, but also current events.

The lesson that intrigued me the most was the Avian Flu lesson, because it was scary how this disease has the potential to wipe out a whole civilization. I was completely stunned when I first learned about this disease. It made me a bit uneasy, because the avian flu has the symptoms of the common flu, which makes it very difficult for people to decipher whether it's serious, because by the time they do find out, they're infected with H5N1. It's most likely to be too late. Another startling fact is that scientists have not been able to find a vaccination to protect people from this possible epidemic or even worse, a pandemic.

The fact that only one company currently has a medicine that helps reduce the severity of the symptoms makes me feel even more insecure. It is produced by Roche, in a small factory in Switzerland, which means there's a limited amount of medicine being produced. As a result, there is a very long waiting list of medicine that is ordered by the different countries. Although Roche paused their patent for Tamiflu, the medication to help relieve H5N1 symptoms to allow other competing pharmaceutical companies produce medication similar to Tamiflu, I still feel unsafe.

Hopefully, we will be able to rid H5N1 for good before the disease mutates into one that is transferable from human to human. Once that happens, we're all in big trouble.