Friday, May 22, 2009

Notes from BIO: A "Fire Drill" on Flu

When it comes to the "swine flu" outbreak (forgive the non-PC term), its hard not to look on the dark side. Either we are facing a catastrophic outbreak we are unprepared to prevent, or we have succumbed to yet another media-stoked panic that makes us all feel silly.

Clearly the zeitgeist has tilted heavily towards the latter view, and surely we can all agree that is the better of those two choices.

Still, we were pleased when Vertex' outgoing CEO Josh Boger offered a third way of thinking about the current outbreak during a BIO "Super Session" May 20: this is a "fire drill"--testing our pandemic preparedness rather than our evacuation procedures--and like any fire drill it is only effective if everyone takes it seriously. So, if, as we all hope, this flu outbreak proves mild and manageable, we can still feel good about taking it so seriously.

Only time will tell if this outbreak is or is not the hamageddon it sounded like a month ago, but we at least were heartened that others on the panel (including FDA's point person on the flu, Jesse Goodman) adopted the "fire drill" metaphor as well. We feel better already.

1 comment:

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