Commentary: This bloody Swine flu thing – how annoying!

I have to admit that Im quite frustrated about this whole swine flu thing. Everybody talked about it, the media hyped it and now it is almost over, isnt it?

Not quite, of course. We are still hoping that the flu doesn’t get worse, will be more or less contained and furthermore, wont come back in autumn – maybe this time round in a more deadly version. Swine flu is all bad – I got that – and I hate to see people dying from any sort of disease.

But there is one thing that I find really annoying. While we are having loads of money for flu vaccines and the stockpiles of medicines, others are simply less fortunate: the poor.

As Wikipedia explains, “each year, there are approximately 350–500 million cases of malaria, killing between one and three million people”. Now compare this with the 30,000 confirmed cases of swine flu so far.

I dont know how much we are spending on research on malaria as compared to flu, but I have a certain feeling about this. It is somehow understandable that pharma is not too interested in developing a vaccine or medication against a disease, for which nobody can pay the bill. But I believe, there still must be a different solution than just ignoring the problem (and focusing on flu)?

To be honest, I don’t have a solution myself. I just think, we cant continue like that – from moral grounds, but also because of selfishness: one day, these poor countries could be the launching pad for a new pandemic of a disease we dont know about today. If this happens, we can simply through away our stockpiles and preparedness plans and all the millions that we could have put in other prevention measures for the poor.

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