Cherry flavored ClimaPsychoTamiflugate

By Matt Ridley, The Times 06/01/14

It’s not only Tamiflu where inconvenient data goes unpublished. Try climate science and psychology too

Perhaps it should be called Tamiflugate. Yet the doubts reported by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee last week go well beyond the possible waste of nearly half a billion pounds on a flu drug that might not be much better than paracetamol. All sorts of science are contaminated with the problem of cherry-picked data.

The Tamiflu tale is that some years ago the pharmaceutical company Roche produced evidence that persuaded the World Health Organisation that Tamiflu was effective against flu, and governments such as ours began stockpiling the drug in readiness for a pandemic. But then a Japanese scientist pointed out that most of the clinical trials on the drug had not been published. It appears that the unpublished ones generally showed less impressive results than the published ones. [...]

To illustrate how far this problem reaches, a few years ago there was a scientific scandal with remarkable similarities, in respect of the non-publishing of negative data, to the Tamiflu scandal. A relentless, independent scientific auditor in Canada named Stephen McIntyre grew suspicious of a graph being promoted by governments to portray today’s global temperatures as warming far faster than any in the past 1,400 years — the famous “hockey stick” graph. When he dug into the data behind the graph, to the fury of its authors, especially Michael Mann, he found not only problems with the data and the analysis of it but a whole directory of results labelled “CENSORED”.

This proved to contain five calculations of what the graph would have looked like without any tree-ring samples from bristlecone pine trees. None of the five graphs showed a hockey stick upturn in the late 20th century: “This shows about as vividly as one could imagine that the hockey stick is made out of bristlecone pine,” wrote Mr McIntyre drily. (The bristlecone pine was well known to have grown larger tree rings in recent years for non-climate reasons: goats tearing the bark, which regrew rapidly, and extra carbon dioxide making trees grow faster.)

Mr McIntyre later unearthed the same problem when the hockey stick graph was relaunched to overcome his critique, with Siberian larch trees instead of bristlecones. This time the lead author, Keith Briffa, of the University of East Anglia, had used only a small sample of 12 larch trees for recent years, ignoring a much larger data set of the same age from the same region. If the analysis was repeated with all the larch trees there was no hockey-stick shape to the graph. Explanations for the omission were unconvincing.

Given that these were the most prominent and recognisable graphs used to show evidence of unprecedented climate change in recent decades, and to justify unusual energy policies that hit poor people especially hard, this case of cherry-picked publication was just as potentially shocking and costly as Tamiflugate. Omission of inconvenient data is a sin in government science as well as in the private sector.

Full story (subscription required)

h/t to The GWPF

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64 Responses to Cherry flavored ClimaPsychoTamiflugate

  1. mjmsprt40 says:

    The more I see of this stuff, the more I think certain branches of “science” are actually religious in nature rather than any kind of science. “Thou shalt not find any evidence that my theory is wrong!” “If any man find evidence that our pet project is wrong, let him have his funding cut!”

    Full disclosure: I am a member of a conservative Christian church, so I do know what religion looks like. Too much of this so-called science has the very worst elements of religion about it, including the condemnations for anybody who would dare to question the accepted view of the matter as proposed by the “prophets” of the “science” we seem to be questioning.

    Second disclosure: It’s cold in Chicago today. It does that every winter, AGW or not.

  2. Tim Williams says:

    Climate change has become a cult, not unlike Jim Jones.

  3. Lawrie Ayres says:

    We have been told over and over of these flawed science results yet not one of the perpertrators have been named and shamed in the MSM or in the science academies. Indeed they have, without exception, been touted as heroic figures. These frauds have imposed huge costs on society through the various changes to energy policies, they have destroyed faith in scientists generally and have caused deep and offensive insult to those who oppose them. They are a disgrace and it surprises me that science academies have not exposed them and their flawed science in order to restore a modicum of trust with their major funding contributors, the taxpayer.

  4. Auto says:

    mjmsprt40 says:
    January 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm
    The more I see of this stuff, the more I think certain branches of “science” are actually religious in nature rather than any kind of science
    ===
    Hmmm. Might that be the religion of the Exclusive Brethren of the Climatastrophist Kleptocracy?

    Auto

  5. Tom G(ologist) says:

    I’ve said it before, and I will likely say it again: This stuff is allowed to perpetuate because governments WANT it to be true because it represents $$$$$ without direct taxes on voters’ incomes. PERIOD.

  6. philjourdan says:

    I do not waste money on the Flu stuff. Until they announce a cure, I will just tough it out.

    But it does piss me off that the government wasted so much money on something with dubious benefits at best. That is OUR money after all.

  7. Rob aka Flatlander says:

    By posting this, can I assume that you are not on the “Big Pharma” payroll either Anthony?

  8. Joseph Murphy says:

    Tom G(ologist) says:
    January 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm
    I’ve said it before, and I will likely say it again: This stuff is allowed to perpetuate because governments WANT it to be true because it represents $$$$$ without direct taxes on voters’ incomes. PERIOD.
    ——————————————————–
    Real science restricts government action like a constitution. Hence government has no use for either. Only people have a use for these. Their use in government only goes as far as the peoples will to make it so.

  9. Hal Dall says:

    “It’s cold in Chicago today. It does that every winter, AGW or not.”

    But certainly never hot in summer before AGW!!

  10. Old England says:

    Take the time to look at the background studies which have been used for licensing various drugs, pesticides and insecticides. I did some years ago and was astounded and horrified at a lot of what I saw.

  11. Gail Combs says:

    Old England says:@ January 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    …. I did some years ago and was astounded and horrified at a lot of what I saw.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    AMEN!
    It is enough to make you understand why there is a ‘Homeopathy’ back to nature backlash against Big Pharma. – NOT a good trend.

  12. pokerguy says:

    “The more I see of this stuff, the more I think certain branches of “science” are actually religious in nature rather than any kind of science. “

    No, not religion, unless you’re talking about the church of ego and self seeking. These people knew exactly what they were going, and why.

  13. X Anonymous says:

    From wikipedia, “It was developed by C.U. Kim, W. Lew, and X. Chen of US-based Gilead Sciences,[2] and is marketed by Genentech.[3]”

    And the paper was published in 2000, so the chemical was found to be effective somewhere in the mid 90′s.

    Given that a virus can mutate within a single flu season, why would you stock pile something, that’s close to two decades old? Because the risk of not stockpiling (even if the drug is only partially effective) is much greater than doing nothing.

    You never know what tomorrow may bring, a super deadly virus which threatens to wipe out europe, which tamiflu is effective against?

    Of all the genuine threats in the world, iran, terrorists, etc. A pandemic is of great concern.

    Matt Ridley is full of it.

  14. Owen in GA says:

    If I were a corporate science manager, I’d want all the data on trials fully disclosed. That is the only way to immunize yourself against the tsunami of lawsuits if the product isn’t as effective as the end user hopes or produces known side effects. If Tamiflu negatives were not published, the company has left itself open to massive litigation losses should it massively under-perform the published data in a pandemic event.
    Every effective drug has side effects – that’s why doctors should be very careful to match dose and duration with the symptoms and keep drug use to the minimum required. The same is true of industrial chemicals and pesticides – use only the bare minimum to perform the mission and no more.

  15. timetochooseagain says:

    “It appears that the unpublished ones generally showed less impressive results than the published ones.”

    This is straightforward publication bias. To my knowledge, the only area you aren’t allowed to suggest is impact by publication bias is Climate Science (TM). To do so is HERESY.

    “Omission of inconvenient data is a sin in government science as well as in the private sector.”

    “The Tamiflu tale is that some years ago the pharmaceutical company Roche produced evidence that persuaded the World Health Organisation that Tamiflu was effective against flu, and governments such as ours began stockpiling the drug in readiness for a pandemic.”

    I wished to juxtapose these two statements because I believe it is a little misleading to just say that hiding inconvenient data happens in the private sector, at least if you only evidence there of is this particular case. In transactions between private individuals and companies, such practices may occur, but it is unlikely people would get away with it for long, for the simple reason that if the product doesn’t actually work, it is a loss to someone, and wanting to minimize losses and maximize gains (profits) people and firms are going to tend to figure this stuff out: if they don’t, it’s lost money. On the other hand, in this case what happened was that the Government doesn’t have those same concerns, so a private company could dupe them in a way it would have more difficulty fooling a non government. The government doesn’t care about profit and loss, it cares about things like elections and support from the public. Naturally the public readily supports anything that it can be made to believe will protect it from something frightening; be it a pandemic or catastrophic global warming. That’s true whether the fear is justified or not. So it is easy for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage of the situation.

  16. jorgekafkazar says:

    X Anonymous says: “Matt Ridley is full of it.”

    No, YOU are full of it. Show me one thing Matt Ridley said that you can prove isn’t true. Most of his post only pointed out that “climate science” suffers from the same degeneracy as the pharmaceutical industry, of which Tamiflu is but one bad example. As for your desperate appeal to a Pascal’s Wager, it’s nonsense and doesn’t take into account the probabilities and costs of all alternatives. From now on, I’d suggest you actually read and understand posts before you engage in a rant about content.

  17. Mike says:

    Its ironic that Ben Goldacre, a true CAGW believer, can take a shot at Matt Ridley (“Here’s a comment piece by Matt Ridley in the Times (caution: contains climate lols)”) but he fails to see the parallels between bad “pharma” science and bad “climate” science. When it comes to the latter he is only too happy to trust the science.

  18. Mike says:

    Pharma also have their own convenient thermometers like the Yamal trees…”professional” clinical trial participants who lie about their medical history (including being involved in previous drug trials) and don’t report symptoms (since that is a sure way to get kicked out of the trial).

  19. TAD says:

    Wow, I have never commented on this site, because I don’t have the expertise to add to the discussion. While I too believe in solar driven climatology as a default mode, and have seen first hand the use of cherry picked data, and erroneous data sets that mislead good analysis, I have to say the author of the article is way out of line conflagrating Tamiflu with the global warming cock-up, especially without citations.

    Tell you what, Mr. Ridley. You stay out of molecular biology, and I’ll stay out of Sunspots (as a proxy) for climate control.

    As to the readers of this wonderful website, any mol bio guy will tell you that Tamiflu was designed for a very specific 3D conformation of a very specific influenza. Tamiflu will not, and has not been, able to stop just any HxNx influenza. The Tamiflu stockpiles were a very good idea at the time, because if H5N1 influenza HAD made the jump to easy airborne transmission to people, I would have expected humans to become close to extinction due to the extremely high kill rate, and the concurrent breakdown is society and food distribution. Low probability, High impact risks. Asteroid anyone?

    It is NOT the fault of Tamiflu, that influenza has a very high, cross species, mutation rate. In fact, some scientists, myself included, believe that there is a very good chance that some dinos became extinct from influenza, and not “climate change” as we have been told in school.. Honestly, do any of you really, really buy the absurd story line that millions of millions of passenger pigeons suddenly became extinct do to out of control hunters? Heh. (think “bird flu” influenza) That the American Chestnut tree became extinct due to excessive logging? (fungal) Mother nature is a much more harsh bitch than she lets on.

  20. Kyle says:

    If you rally want to look at bad science, you should do some research into the history of the science behind HIV/AIDS, same thing, doctored research to keep the gravy train going.

  21. Bart says:

    X Anonymous says:
    January 6, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    “You never know what tomorrow may bring, a super deadly virus which threatens to wipe out europe, which tamiflu is effective against?”

    Maybe roach droppings would be effective against it. Should we stockpile those, just in case?

  22. timetochooseagain says:

    @TAD-You were told in school that Climate Change killed the Dinosaurs? How long ago did you go to school? Alvarez’s impact theory is taught as gospel nowadays.

    But the idea that influenza could have caused anything to go extinct, much less an *clade* of animals, is the kookiest thing I have heard in a while, thanks for that.

  23. Bart says:

    TAD says:
    January 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    Thanks. That is a more cogent criticism than X above. I do recall the concern about H5N1 going airborne.

  24. TAD says:

    @timetochoose — Ummmm, and just exactly what happened the week after an asteroid impact, hmmmm? timetochoose goes to prove the internet maxim, you can lead a troll to water, but you can’t make him think.
    AND
    some dinosaurs, and all dinosaurs, are two different assertions, no? And so you reject human caused global warming, but accept human caused extinction of the passenger pigeon? Why do you get to pick and choose? Are you of the mind set that all animal extinction events are human caused? If so, you are on the wrong website, bubba.

    @Bart Thanks! most epidemiologists are petrified of an HxNx going airborne with high R0′s and high morbidity rates. Spanish influenza a 100 years ago knocked the world on its ass, and it had a very low kill rate. H5N1 was 100% lethal overnight in chicken farms. That’s every f’ng chicken in a barn ok the night before, dead by morning. If that doesn’t terrify you, then you are a braver man than I.

  25. X Anonymous says:

    “Maybe roach droppings would be effective against it. Should we stockpile those, just in case?”

    Tell you what, Bart, in the case where both of us are too lazy to have a preventive flu shot (like the rest of the population), and there’s an outbreak of some type of deadly respiratory virus, you can take the droppings, I’ll take the Tamiflu, deal?

    I’ll live in modern society enriched with science, you and Matt Ridley can live in Big Whiskey.

  26. TAD says:

    @xanonymous – While I am a terrified pandemic monger, at the same time I am a flu shot denier…. Flu shots are at best a panacea, at worst a major health risk. Vaccines targeted at stable viruses are good, and should be mandatory, worldwide. Vaccines targeted at unstable viruses are bad, and should be banned.

    Biology is funny. If the posters here think that predicting weather is hard, predicting biological outcomes is even harder!

  27. OLD DATA says:

    X Anonymous says:
    January 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    “I’ll live in modern society enriched with science,”

    Hardly.

  28. Bart says:

    X Anonymous says:
    January 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    Sorry, your argument was simply a bad one. There is little reason to expect that Tamiflu would be effective against any viral agent other than the one for which is was designed.

    TAD’s argument was much more convincing.

  29. temp says:

    Flu vaxs are a joke period. Unless you are taking care of someone/people with the flu the chance of a flu vax preventing you from getting the flu is far less likely then getting hit by lightening, twice in the same day.

    As to H5N1 overblown fear mongering as with many of these events to make the WHO rich and noticed. By the time something like H5N1 makes it to countries that are stockpiling “vaxes” Tamiflu or others the flu will likely have changed a dozen times and said treatment will be far less effective if effective at all.

    Having proper containment procedures and such is far more useful then stockpiling questionable drugs that will likely expire before ever being used. Instead of wasting money of flu vax one can do the sensible thing and send people home for a few days to get better. Any “killer flu” that comes along and is a true threat isn’t something that one can make a vax for ahead of time and stockpile…. that simply not how the flu works.

  30. Khwarizmi says:

    The neuaminidase inhibitor was developed by the CSIRO at the expense of the Australian taxpayer. (Contrary to popular opinion, corporations don’t invent all new drugs.)
    The U.S. FDA delayed approval of the topically applied Australian drug until an inferior U.S. chemotherapeutic version was developed. Approval for the U.S. drug was rapid.
    The superior Australian drug, Relenza, is very effective when taken early (I’ve used it 3 times in 5 years) – just like antivirals that prevent cold sores from surfacing are effective if taken at the first hint of infection.
    That’s the true story:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanamivir

  31. Khwarizmi says:

    addendum:

    “According to the CDC, Tamiflu, zanamivir’s main competitor, is not as effective at treating the influenza viruses as zanamivir, especially in H1N1 seasonal flu. In fact, tests showed 99.6% of the tested strains of seasonal H1N1 flu and 0.5% of 2009 pandemic flu were resistant to Tamiflu,
    while no flu samples, seasonal or pandemic, showed any resistance to zanamivir.[4] [16][17]”
    – op.cit (wiki)

    Big difference.

  32. subpatre says:

    TAD claims,”H5N1 was 100% lethal overnight in chicken farms. That’s every f’ng chicken in a barn ok the night before, dead by morning. If that doesn’t terrify you, then you are a braver man than I.

    H5N1 kills at most 1%-3% among domestic chicken breeds and in the neighborhood of 0.5%-2% of other birds. Avian flu acts on birds like human flu acts on people, most birds that get it become sick (runny nose, congestion) a day or two and then they recover. ONLY among specific breeds of chickens —inbred and linebred for over 500 generations for specific growth characteristics and no thought for immunity— are the avian flues serious or fatal.

    So indeed, your illustration reinforces the OP’s point that “inconvenient data goes unpublished”, sometimes so that scare stories about something technical or scientific —a flue that will kill “every f’ng chicken in a barn” overnight [your quote]— sounds realistic to those who don’t know the reality.

  33. Bart says:

    Khwarizmi @ January 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm, subpatre @ January 6, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    Thanks for the other side. Lots to consider…

  34. Bart says:

    Khwarizmi says:
    January 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    “The superior Australian drug, Relenza, is very effective when taken early…”

    Yet, your Wikipedia link says:”There is low to moderate evidence that it decreases the risk of one’s getting influenza by 1% to 12% in those exposed.”

    Are such rates of effectiveness considered “good” in the communicable disease arena? Personally, I don’t see those odds as particularly comforting. Not that Tamiflu’s seem any better by comparison.

  35. hunter says:

    Never took tamiflu until yesterday when I was having a relapse of the flu going through Houston.
    My Dr. buddy called it in and it made me better already. I was unaware of any controversy regarding it. But he is a prof. and practicing physician in a specialty that deals with patients with extreme immunity issues and cannot be sick around them and he thinks it works.

  36. Bart says:

    At any rate, I suppose the important thing for this thread is that Tamiflu’s makers did, indeed, apparently suppress adverse results for the efficacy of the drug. And, so we see again that subversion of science for ulterior ends is very widespread, and not confined merely to the shenanigans of the Climate Brigades. Very sad.

  37. yam says:

    Some info on the Polar Star from Nat. Geo., Jan. 6, 2014: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/01/140106-antarctica-ship-polar-star-icebreakers-trapped-science-world/

    “”I would expect it could run circles around those other ships,” said Lawson Brigham, a retired U.S. Coast Guard captain who is now a professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.”

  38. Scott Scarborough says:

    The question is… is Tamaflu effective against any virus?

  39. X Anonymous says:

    Resistance is absolutely guaranteed in any population (eg. prostitute in Africa who is immune to aids). A drug that works one day may not work the next. In fact, as soon as you have an effective drug it begins to be ineffective through usage and selection. Whether a virus mutates into something of significance or not is simply due to statistical chance (or luck):

    “while no flu samples, seasonal or pandemic, showed any resistance to zanamivir”

    Not yet.

    Indeed, there is a very sound argument that with many of the diseases which humans have developed effective drugs against, that these diseases should be maintained in the general population. That way when a mutation does occur and resistance develops, there is a greater statistical chance the strain is similar to what the drugs are effective against. Some control is always going to be better than none.

    Ideally you want a big stock pile of all the possible “cures”, since the drugs effectiveness can vary between individuals. Some will be immune anyway (human resistance).

    And as for the 500 million pounds for the stockpile of Tamiflu, it is money well spent as long as it has not effected supply of other drugs such as zanwhatever, which maybe Matt Ridleys argument. I would argue that half a billion is a drop in the ocean for one of the worlds largest economies, and all drugs that have potential against future pandemics should be made at the ready. Thats’ what the US military are doing (clever people).

  40. AlanG says:

    I have had the seasonal flu jab every year for at least the last 20 years. The only time I got the flu was the 2009 swine flu which I hadn’t been vaccinated against. The swine flu was NOT mild for me as it went quite deep into my lungs. I started taking Tamiflu on about day 3. The symptoms improved a lot within hours, especially my breathing. Tamiflu is not claimed as a cure but reducing the severity of the disease can mean the difference between life and death.

    The UK has also stockpiled smallpox vaccine. It’s the people who stockpile smallpox virus that worry me. That’s the US and Russia by the way.

  41. Khwarizmi says:

    Bart,
    The “low to moderate” success in “preventing influenza” was the reason given by the FDA for delaying approval of Relenza for nearly a decade while a U.S. company was developing a less effective drug.
    But in reality, you have to get infected with influenza before the drug can work on the mechanism it was designed to interrupt, so all you can expect is a reduction in the severity of the infection while your immune system configures a response.
    So “getting influenza” is probably not the best measure of Relenza’s efficacy, just as “having herpes” is not the best measure for the efficacy of aciclovir.

  42. Kevin Kilty says:

    Irving Langmuir, I think, had some discussion with Joseph Rhine (Duke University no less) about his ESP research, and having been shown files containing the results of millions of trials asked Rhine whether all these had been incorporated into his results. Rhine said no; said that some of the data showed no ESP effect or even an anti-ESP effect, but this data having come from people who didn’t like him (Rhine), he had decided to disregard it. What we now call “cherry picking” has a long history in science, and became one of Langmuir’s signs of pathological science.

  43. Eugene WR Gallun says:

    Tad 2:18 pm

    I have always thought that story about people killing all the passenger pigeons to be ridiculous. (A Greenie’s wet dream.) I pegged it for some sort of quickly spreading disease. Passenger pigeons traveled in huge flocks and seemed to need the presence of large numbers to enable breeding. How easy for disease to sped and then low numbers prevented restocking.
    (Think of the amount of ammunition needed to kill their millions!)
    Examples of such extinctions are not ultra rare though not common either.
    Your suggestion about the dinosaurs i had not thought of. That could be a major factor except i don’t see sea life effected by what would effect land animals. And were dinosaurs so closely grouped that the disease could easily spread?
    I am pretty certain that buffalo numbers varied with how wet the weather was — how much grass could grow. They shot up during wet decades. I believe (but am not sure) that just as the white man and the Indians began hunting them the weather reversed and the rains ended and the grasses died. (The Indians were major traffickers in buffalo hides selling to the white traders. History often neglects to tell us about that — the Indian’s heavy participation in the slaughter.) So stress in their environment and lots of bullets combined to put the buffalo down. But without man’s help the buffalo numbers would have reduced through starvation to much lower levels.
    Well, these are my thoughts — but of course — my thoughts are not data.

    Eugene WR Gallun

  44. Khwarizmi says:

    TAD said:
    January 6, 2014 at 2:18 pm
    [...]
    As to the readers of this wonderful website, any mol bio guy will tell you that Tamiflu was designed for very specific 3D conformation of a very specific influenza.
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    How wrong could you possibly be?

    The neuraminidase inhibitor was developed by the CSIRO in Australia following their discovery of a specific 3D conformation on the protein coat of the influenza virus that was remarkable for the fact that it didn’t vary between different forms of influenza. CSIRO researchers inferred that the specific and unchanging conformation played a crucial role in the mechanism of viral reproduction in all conformations of the influenza virus, and so they fashioned crude molecules to fit that conformation, hoping to interfere with its inferred function. Those first crude molecules were apparently effective at reducing flu severity in trials on monkeys.
    Relenza (and the inferior latecomer Tamiflu) were designed to treat all types of influenza, not specific ones.

  45. M Simon says:

    Funny,

    You hardly ever see anything on the influence of the endocannabinoid system on the immune system. Especially with respect to cancer. There is some mention in the literature but most of the work is done outside the US. And only on animals.

  46. M Simon says:

    Gail Combs says:
    January 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Big pharma has no use for the endocannabinoid system. There are more endocannabinoid receptors i the body than any other receptor type. The trouble for big pharma is that even if they can patent the medicine it is easy enough to grow your own.

  47. MM says:

    Most Pharma do have very thorough testing phases for their new drugs and they are conducted as a double-blind scenario where neither the doctor or the patient knows whether they get the real drug or else another drug/placebo. For serious illnesses like cancer placebo is not an option if there is no other medication. Each testing phase is carefully planned and executed with a huge paper trail. Whatever the results of any of the test phases are, they are ALWAYS available to FDA and other overseers. Of course there is still a possibility of data manipulation but that is extremely risky as anyone caught doing it would be out of the business for good with lawsuits to follow. That is a risk no established company would take and the new ones are monitored even more thoroughly if possible.

    I think the Tamiflu (which BTW I have once taken with a 40c fever, dropped to normal overnight) was a desperate straw people wanted and it might even have been the governments/WHO with a motive to present it as more potent than it may have been. The possibility of another pandemia is very real, we will see if that threat realizes or not. If it does, I’d rather have a possibly potent vaccination/medication than nothing. With H5N1 it was just that, a better chance with a moderate pricetag. WHO knows if it’s effective ;)

    As far as CC is considered, it has been the governments and IPCC that have had a motive to scare people with CC and collect the taxes that follow. I’d be very surprised if he hockeystick wasn’t made to order.

  48. Khwarizmi says:

    At comment 30, I anecdotally reported that I found Relenza to be very effective if taken at the first hint of a flu infection. That’s the key to efficacy, as I understand it. The drug provides no significant benefit after day 1. Even starting late on day 1 is too late, in my experience.

    Following my report, three people chimed in with anecdotal reports on the efficacy of Tamiflu… all when taken late: even on three days into exponential duplication of virus particles by the cells lining the airways, with the drug conferring almost instant relief!
    That’s like having an ugly weeping cold-sore vanish in an hour or two after applying aciclovir too late. Pretty unlikely.

  49. Andrew says:

    Tamiflu is the greatest substance on the planet. I took it once – almost instant cure of a flu that should have wrecked me for a week at lesat. (And yes, I swabbed positive to the flu test I took at the doc so I didn’t imagine it.)

  50. federico says:

    As an otherwise admirer and follower of Matt Ridley, I am now dissapointed that in the climate discussion he now he uses analogies to fields of science where hes knowledge isn’t that solid, by which he looses credibility and finally behaves and looks as an activist.

    Tamiflu (Generic name Oseltamivir, discovered by Gilead, outlicensed to Roche/Genentech) was the first antiviral product on the market capable to effectively stop the replication of alltypes of influenza viruses, regardless of the specific strain they belongs to, as opposed to vaccines that need to be developed each year anew from the new (modified) strain. The effectiveness of Tamiflu was conclusively demonstrated during several years on the market, especially in Japan, the biggest Tamiflu consuming country before the bird and swine flu hypes (initiated by the WHO) came up, which made the name public and exposed the product to huge media coverage and controversy.

    Problem is, that pills need to be taken within 48 hours after the first symptoms appear, symptoms which can be confused at this early stage with common colds, etc. That was the reason why the drug didn’t take off as expected in the global market (except in Japan).

    I experienced within my own family and with several friends that the drug delivers what it promises, and can fully underline Andrew’s comments.

  51. hunter says:

    I second federico’s point.
    We are a community of climate skeptics.
    We are not a community of flu treatment or vaccine skeptics.
    Losing focus on this hurts our main effort.

  52. Ed Zuiderwijk says:

    There’s a word in the dictionary for it: fraud.

  53. Jeff Alberts says:

    That could be a major factor except i don’t see sea life effected by what would effect land animals.

    It would really be nice if supposedly intelligent people could learn simple things, like the difference between “effect” and “affect”, or “then” and “than” (in many other comments).

    /pedant

  54. Juice says:

    It appears that the unpublished ones generally showed less impressive results than the published ones.

    This is so common it’s almost not worth mentioning, but it probably should be mentioned even though everyone knows this. It’s common to show data and say that it is “typical data” but everyone knows that “typical data” really means “the best data we could get.”

  55. Jeff Alberts says:

    by which he looses credibility

    And between “loses” and “looses”. *rollseyes*

  56. yam says:

    Anthony Watts looses credibility upon a populace inured to deception.

  57. _Jim says:

    federico says January 7, 2014 at 4:13 am

    Problem is, that pills need to be taken within 48 hours after the first symptoms appear,

    Thinking here now that an anticipatory application before the next big family get-together might be a good idea …

    .

  58. _Jim says:

    yam says January 7, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Anthony Watts looses credibility upon a populace inured to deception.

    Paraphrasing: ‘The sins of the son reflected onto the father?’ “Can’t we all just get along” (- R. King) … or: take the post within the context of what it was intended?

    .

  59. TAD says:

    Don’t forget that the shelf life of Relenza is far inferior to the shelf life of Tamiflu. I recall studies that Relenza had a much better target profile than Tamiflu, with less resistance, but in no way is Tamiflu an antiviral for all influenza types. the shelf life of Tamiflu was recently extended to 10 years, and it is probably more than that! Relenza is 7.

  60. TRM says:

    Science for sale is a huge problem. it comes down to legalized bribery. At the individual level they can be swayed by generous “speakers fees”, at the corporate level it is advertising dollars and at the academic level it is “I’ll give you funding and here are the results I want”.

    We have the scientific method to thank for everything in our world. We abandon it now at our own peril.

  61. Khwarizmi says:

    TAD –
    You wrote a pile of retarded nonsense about Tamiflu and how it was designed to treat a specific type of influenza virus only.
    You annotated you comment with bombastic bile to berate Matt Ridley…

    quote: “mol bio guy will tell you that Tamiflu was designed for a very specific 3D conformation of a very specific influenza.”

    But you were wrong—-confidently and arrogantly WRONG.
    Any mol bio guy will tell you that.
    Maybe you should apologize to Mr. Ridley.

  62. Brian H says:

    Lawrie Ayres says:
    January 6, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    We have been told over and over of these flawed science results yet not one of the perpertrators have been named and shamed in the MSM or in the science academies. Indeed they have, without exception, been touted as heroic figures. These frauds have imposed huge costs on society through the various changes to energy policies, they have destroyed faith in scientists generally and have caused deep and offensive insult to those who oppose them. They are a disgrace and it surprises me that science academies have not exposed them and their flawed science in order to restore a modicum of trust with their major funding contributors, the taxpayer.

    When it comes to trust, prestige, and influence, scientists (especially in medicine and climatology) are “eating their own seed corn”. They are using all the assets piled up in the past (by other sciences, largely) and trying to use them to push through products like Tamiflu and agendas like AGW-mitigation that would crumble if treated with true scientific rigor.

    Big write-offs like the Tamiflu scandal and Turkey-gate have severely depleted the storage bins. Soon they’ll come to Mother Hubbard’s state: “But when she got there / The cupboard was bare”. Then listen to the poor dogs howl.

  63. Lance of BC says:

    Speaking of H5N1,Canadian is first to die from H5N1 bird flu in North America.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canadian-first-to-die-from-h5n1-bird-flu-in-north-america/article16244697/

    Canada has recorded the first human death from H5N1 bird flu in North America in a traveller who just returned from China.

    The Alberta resident was hospitalized on New Year’s Day and died Jan. 3.

    Government officials stressed there is no risk to the general public from the highly unusual case.

    “The risk of getting H5N1 is very low,” said Rona Ambrose, Canada’s Minister of Health. “This is not the regular seasonal flu. This is an isolated case.”

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