A pandemic is an actively spreading disease outbreak occurring over a large region. Many diseases can result in pandemics including smallpox, typhus, tuberculosis and malaria. Other examples are the AIDS and bird flu viruses. As of 2011, about 34 million people were living with the HIV/AIDS virus worldwide and about 35 million people have died from this terrible disease since it was first discovered in 1981. New treatments have greatly reduced the death rate from AIDS but this virus is still not contained in Africa and other places in the world.
Avian influenza, or bird flu, is an avian influenza virus that has crossed the species barrier to humans and caused several pandemics. In 1918, an unusually deadly influenza pandemic called the Spanish Flu infected 500 million people worldwide and killed up to 100 million people, or what was then 5% of the worldâ€™s population. In 2003, an Asian subtype of this virus combined with human flu viruses to create a new virulent influenza strain that is easily transmissible and lethal. This outbreak, with a 60% mortality rate, occurred in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 2013, the World Health Organization announced that it had confirmed 630 cases of this avian influenza, including the deaths of 375 people since its first outbreak in 2003. Health officials say this is a very conservative estimate because China usually does not fully report its number of bird flu cases. Most of these illnesses occurred before 2009, but recent outbreaks in China killed at least two victims in 2012. Health advocates warn that it can take researchers months to develop antiviral medications for a new strain of bird flu once it has been identified. They also warn that during a pandemic these viruses can mutate within their hosts, resulting in new viruses that are immune to the medications which were effective before mutation. They claim that air travel, on the scale we have today, can quickly spread a disease throughout the world before it is even detected. Scientists have recently reported that they have made a â€œblueprintâ€ for a universal flu vaccine. It is estimated that we are about 5 years away from a vaccine that could counter the effects of all strains of the influenza virus.
The most recent pandemics, both extremely virulent, are the Ebola virus disease in West Africa which, as of August 4, 2014, had killed 932 victims out of 1700 reported cases, and Saudi Arabiaâ€™s Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a virus whose origin has been traced to camels. As of June 3, 2014, there were 282 MERS deaths from 688 reported cases. However, this is probably an inexact total since Saudi Arabia, like China, is not forthcoming about reporting all its cases. These pandemics have caused much worldwide concern – both for the victims and from an air travel perspective.
S.626 – Prize Fund for HIV/AIDS Act
I oppose reforming current pandemic policy and wish to defeat S.626
I support denying any person the exclusive right to manufacture, distribute, sell, or use in interstate commerce a qualifying treatment for HIV/AIDS, or to a manufacturing process for such a treatment; prescribing remuneration, in the form of prize payments from a Prize Fund for HIV/AIDS in lieu of such market exclusivity, and wish to pass S.626
I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to increase funding for the development of a universal flu vaccine