8 July 2006
On June 29, 2006 US Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Michael Leavitt posted a 12-page “Pandemic Planning Update II” that contained valuable information on the chronology of the spreading avian H5N1 pandemic and of US preparedness countermeasures. Subheadings of this second update, posted at www.pandemicflu.gov include: “Monitoring and Surveillance”, Vaccines and Vaccine Production Capacity, Antiviral Drugs, State and Local Preparedness, and Communications.
Multiple key points were made in this update. For example, it was reported that “In May, the United States shipped an amount of the antiviral drug Tamiflu to a secure location in an Asian country. The Tamiflu could be used as part of the international community’s efforts to contain a pandemic.” Also, the successful effort of Thailand and Vietnam to control the outbreak of H5N1 in their human population was emphasized: “Up to now, the disease appears to be successfully contained through culling in Vietnam and Thailand.” This statement, however, does not include a major difference between the control measures of these two nations, namely that Vietnam has extensively used veterinary vaccines against H5N1 in their poultry, while Thailand has not.
Information provided in the text of this updated plan has been used (by this writer) to create the following table summarizing the current US stockpile of key items (termed “AS IS”) with plans to increase the stockpile in the future (termed “TO BE”).
Item AS IS (today) TO BE (in the future)
N-95 respirators 20.2 million 100 million (9/2007)
Surgical masks 12.3 million 50 million (9/2006)
Tamiflu (oseltamivir) 6.2 million regimens 21.6 million (12/2006)
(10 Capsule regimens)
Relenza (zanamivir) 84,000 regimens 3.984 million (12/2006)
Liquid Tamiflu 8,600 regimens not stated
(e.g., for small children)
Clade 1 H5N1 Vaccine ~ 8 million doses not stated in this update
Clade 2 H5N1 vaccine “toward development” not stated
Ventilators not stated 6,000 more (in 2006)
Daniel R. Lucey, MD, MPH e-mail: Daniel.R.Lucey@Medstar.net
Director, Center for Biologic Counterterrorism and Emerging Diseases
Washington Hospital Center EROne Institutes (see: www.BePast.org)
Co-Director, Master of Science Graduate Program in
Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Diseases,
Georgetown Medical School, Washington DC