Countdown

by Karlos Allen


Grant Proposal 12967-A7

Abstract

The chance of a major influenza pandemic striking the world within the next ten to twenty years is considered by most medical authorities to be almost absolute. The effect of such an outbreak is estimated to be fully equivalent to a world war in both loss of life and economic impact. Previous responses to outbreaks have shown that reactive strategies are not satisfactory. Focus on containment of an existing outbreak, while saving some lives, is ineffective in preventing major losses in both lives and economic output.

Our proposal is to proactively seek out the possible mutations in the influenza family that have the greatest potential of triggering such an outbreak in the laboratory and develop tests and vaccines for these. These can be held in storage against a natural outbreak allowing a much faster and more accurate response.


From: Fred.Theo@arip.net
To: Ted.Jen@arip.net
Re: Grant Proposal 12967-A7

Ted - you did it! CDC approval has just been granted PLUS ten million dollars to get started! The Advance Resistance Influenza Project is a go. Congratulations!


From: Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net
Re: Re: Grant Proposal 12967-A7

Fred - thanks for your help in this. I've already started site preparation and initial personnel screening interviews have commenced. I predict that we will have the first test lab up and running before the end of this Fiscal Year. With luck, we can start some original sequencing within twelve months.


From: Fred.Theo@arip.net
To: Ted.Jen@arip.net
Re: data collection

Ted - you mentioned at yesterday's update meeting that there have been difficulties in collecting accurate data on the Bali Strain. Could you please fill me in on this? Specifically:

  1. What is the level of threat presented by this strain?
  2. What cultural/religious barriers have our field workers been seeing?
  3. How have local governments been helping (or hindering)?
  4. What kind of persuasion/pressure can be used to overcome these issues?
  5. What is your assessment on the threat level of this natural strain and what impact will failure to get this data have on the project as a whole?

From: Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net, Su.Lao@arip.net
Re: Re: data collection

Fred - The Bali Strain is a slow-acting relatively mild swine strain that has the potential to be come a minor epidemic. Our primary interest in this is as a control strain that will allow us to calibrate our own methods of prediction (recall 06-07-12 update meeting in which results from our model predicted a very similar virus). Since we may have already developed a vaccine for the predicted virus, sequencing this strain can give us the opportunity to show real progress in dealing with a real-world threat (albeit a minor one).

Lao - pls provide Fred with further details regarding bullets 2-4.


From: Su.Lao@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net, Ted.Jen@arip.net
Re: data collection (barriers)

Sirs - Strain H7:N3:I12 (Bali Virus) is found primarily among swine farmers and their livestock in Bali and nearby parts of Java. There are no real religious/cultural barriers, but both the farmers and the local governments are resistant to data collection because of fears that the farmers will be required to destroy their stocks, thus losing their primary means of living. If we can allay these fears by demonstrating that the proactive vaccine is effective we may gain their active cooperation.

With your permission I would like to arrange such a demonstration.

Su Lao


From: Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: Su.Lao@arip.net
Re: Re: data collection (barriers)

Lao - after consulting with Fred and the Board, we have decided to approve your test. Please reply with results.


From: Fred.Theo@arip.net, Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: ARIP_perssonel@arip.net
Re: congratulations on a great second year!

All - Ted and I would like to take this time to thank all of you on your hard work and contributions that have made ARIP such a resounding success. This year we have successfully sequenced 17 different influenza strains; one of which we later found in nature. Thanks to you, the Bali Flu no longer exists and our vaccine has been able to provide partial immunity to several related strains that had been affecting people throughout Indonesia.

With these successes under our belts, we hope to start tackling some serious threats in the coming year.

Thanks and Congratulations,

Fred Theodoupoulis CEO
Hsein (Ted) Jen Senior Project Manager


From: Su.Lao@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net, Ted.Jen@arip.net
Re: possible major threat modeled

Sirs - strain H7:I3 (Doomsday 2) has been successfully modeled. We have successfully duplicated said strain by mutating the Bali virus. Culture tests have shown that the predicted vaccines are effective. Per Plan Of Record, we have sterilized all equipment and have made up a stockpile of vaccine sufficient for 30,000 immediate inoculations.

We have also stored the recombinant bacteria capable of making the vaccine and can manufacture one million doses per week within 24 hours of detection. This particular strain attacks the central nervous system and the predicted symptoms consist chiefly of a mild feeling of malaise and, at its final stage, an extreme headache as cerebral hemorrhaging sets in.

Predicted mortality rate was 45.3% with approximately half of the survivors suffering from permanent brain damage similar to that of major stroke victims. Appropriate test kits have been delivered to participating heath centers around the world.


From: Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: Su.Lao@arip.net
Re: Re: possible major threat modeled

Congratulations Lao on corralling a real baddie! Since Bali Flu has been eradicated in nature what are the odds that we will see this strain show up?


From: Su.Lao@arip.net
To: Ted.Jen@arip.net
Re: Re: possible major threat modeled

Very slim. The greatest worry was that carelessness or accident could have released the mutated virus here. There was some initial conjecture that a reaction between the Bali vaccine and another flu could create this, but on review the data was shown to be suspect and actual chance negligible.


From: Ted.Jen@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net
Re: Fwd: Re: possible major threat modeled

Fred - we can rest easy on Doomsday 2. We have a vaccine and all equipment has been sterilized per POR. Further, since Bali was eradicated we reduced its chance of showing up naturally. FYI I'm forwarding Lao's reply.


From: Fred.Theo@arip.net
To: Su.Lao@arip.net
Re: Fwd: Re: possible major threat modeled

Lao - I understand that analysis of the Doomsday 2 virus showed an initial threat from the Bali vaccine. I understand also that the fieldworkers from the Bali project also received the vaccine. How confident are you that this interaction cannot take place?


From: Su.Lao@arip.net
To: Fred.Theo@arip.net
Re: Fwd: Re: possible major threat modeled

Out Of Office Auto Reply. I have gone home for the day as I've not been feeling well and have developed a major headache. Any urgent issues please contact Michael Tranh. Otherwise I will get back to you when I return on Monday.


Copyright © 2006 by Karlos Allen

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