Three Mutations Away from a Flu Pandemic

By LUIS MIRANDA | THE REAL AGENDA | MAY 9, 2012

The way to hell is paved with good intentions. This is the least that can be said about the creation of the most virulent form of H5N1 flu virus in two labs in the US and Holland. It is one of those cases where the medicine is worse than the disease. After lots of celebrations and pats on the backs, scientists revealed that their experiments to mutate the H5N1 flu virus had been successful, and the results had been replicated by different groups in Europe and the United States. What they didn’t seem to realize was that the results of those experiments, just as it happens with any other relevant scientific research, would have to be published to the medical community and then the public. Their satisfaction with the results of the experiments, or perhaps their incompetence, blinded them until some sense came back to them. Then came the censorship.

Initially, the procedures used to produce the mutated bird flu virus were blocked from the public as warnings were issued about the potential that so-called terrorists got a hold of the experiments and produced weaponized flu to spread it around cities with dense populations. Amazingly, that is exactly what the scientists did. They created a bioweapon in a lab, confirmed the results by replicating them in different labs, provided the findings to insiders in the scientific community and government officials, and now, they published the results out so anyone can take them, replicate them and create a pandemic.

The head scientist and virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka, who works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo, confirmed that it only took three changes made to the main gene of the virus to enhance it with the capacity to ‘jump’ from animal mammals to humans. Kawaoka and his team confirmed that after implementing the changes on the gene, the virus was easily and effectively transmissible among mammals. The final result of the research was a hybrid virus that would contaminate populations as fast as the air can carry it all over the planet. It doesn’t get anything easier than that, does it? After obtaining the new virus, the researchers injected it in ferrets where mutations in the gene called hemagglutinin — the H part of the H5N1 name — did the rest.

According to research, one of the mutations observed in the hybrid virus is similar to another found in the virus that affects areas of the world such as the Middle East, Asia, Europe and Africa, where it has killed at least 345 patients without even being weaponized. The 345 number accounts for cases reported as deaths caused by the virus or complications, although many other cases have been left out or simply not reported. Scientist allege that the work performed on the H5N1 virus was necessary in order to learn about it and how it could potentially evolve during a pandemic. They believe that after the first mutation seen in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, the virus will continue to change and that their experiments and results may help save many lives because there will be time to produce a vaccine to fight it. Does anyone see economic intere$t written all over it? This is the big $; I mean S in Health that few people realize the experiment is all about. As if the danger of a weaponized virus transmissible from other mammals to humans wasn’t dangerous enough, the pathogen also has the capacity to ‘jump’ from human to human, just as other flu strains.

The issue with human-made crisis such as the hybrid, lab-made H5N1 virus is that scientists have not figured out a cure to the infection it would cause, only a treatment for an ever changing organism, which only ensures that people will have to use vaccines and other medications for the rest of their lives and still be behind in the game. Not even the scientific inability to measure whether a virus like the H5N1 has the potential or not to become and out of control human transmissible virus was enough to stop well-financed scientists from creating quite a monstrosity. “Our study shows that relatively few amino acid mutations are sufficient for a virus with an avian H5 hemagglutinin to acquire the ability to transmit in mammals,” Kawaoka said.

Yushihiro Kawaoka’s paper, was published in the journal Nature. His is one of two papers around which scientists, government officials and biosecurity experts were debating about before the results were finally put out. Most of the opposition came from the  U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, an organization that protested the publication on national security grounds. Those in favor of publishing the results contrasted the public health concerns with a statement that said it was critical to share information in order to harmonize the analysis and response to flu epidemics or pandemics. Everyone else’s hunch is that the people concerned with sharing information are more interested in keeping the money flow going that allows them to finance their research. But scientists said that it was necessary to keep an eye on H5N1 natural changes and what they meant to the scientific community and the public.

Kawaoka’s research has earned him the rock star treatment from colleagues, a dangerous state of affairs if one thinks what can unlimited financing and genius do when they are off the leash. Back in 2003, China directly blamed the U.S. for the death of Chinese people who died after being infected with a violent strain of SARS. Back then, China floated the idea that the SARS virus was the product of a lab experiment that resulted in a bioweapon, a virus that was race specific. Other reports from main stream media even adventured expectations about the H5N1 airborne virus that Kawaoka and his colleagues produced in their labs. Another scientist, Ron Fouchier, who will also published the results of his experiments after the Dutch government allowed him to do so, announced his achievement just last week. His experiment will be published on the scientific magazine Science at a time that is still to be determined. As in many occasions, the US government was the top financier of the experiments conducted by Kawaoka.

The consequences of the artificial creation or mutation of viruses is well-known by the scientific community. The 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic was a result from the games played by scientists who created a hybrid virus with a mutated hemagglutinin gene from H5N1 that fused to the seven remaining genes from the H1N1 virus. Back then, scientists did not create a cure to the potential pandemic and the pharmaceutical industry heavily benefited by offering a useless and dangerous vaccine that hadn’t even been tested properly and which was linked to hundreds of side effects and allergic reactions not disclosed by the makers. Despite the unknowns, both government officials all over the world and pharmaceutical companies themselves guaranteed the safety of the vaccine and justified the absence of valid human trials on the unexpected appearance of the H1N1 virus. Vaccine makers multiplied their average earnings of $50 billion dollars a year as a direct result of the sale of the vaccines, which were purchased by governments with taxpayer money. In 2009, the people of the world were once again the subjects of a worldwide experiment performed under the pretense that it was necessary to learn how much would the correct dosage be for humans. It is important to remember that vaccine makers are immune against legal action should a person determined to have been damaged by a vaccine decide to sue for damages.

“It really is a wonderful study,” said Richard Webby, director of a World Health Organization collaborating center that focuses on studies of animal and bird influenza viruses at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. The World Health Organization itself was one of many entities that paraded around the world pushing people to buy and inject themselves with the H1N1 vaccine to prevent the much feared pandemic. In mid 2009, the U.S. agreed to spend at least $1 billion in flu vaccine production, which makes one wonder how much of that money went to finance experiments such as the one conducted by Kawaoka and his team.

Although he did not show proof of it, Webby said that mutations like the ones that transformed the H5N1 virus into a biological weapon may not occur in the wild. Of course, no one is counting on the virus to reach the virulent pandemic level by itself, now that it has been aided by out of control scientists. He said that viruses such as the one produced in a lab by Kawaoka require changes in functions the field has known for some time are key for avian flu viruses to make the leap to be able to infect humans. “Those include changing the type of cell receptors the viruses bind to, from receptors that are typically found in people only deep in the lungs to ones found in the upper respiratory tract, where human flu viruses attach.”

Other scientists like Webby see the research as a valuable piece of work that will help experts study the mutation mechanism of the virus, which they say, turns it more efficient when spreading from mammal-to-mammal. One of those scientists is Adolfo Garcia-Sastre, a flu virologist who works at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Although a warning for the potential mass infection has been issued by the scientists themselves, Garcia-Sastre says that the virus may not transmit that easily among humans. He believes that Kawaoka’s work will help scientists pick out viruses that present mutations from those that do not have them in order to study them and come up with solutions to a pandemic threat. This is, though, if the scientists studying them intend to actually help humans avoid such pandemic. The problem with his premise is that the system in place utilized to monitor the behaviours of viruses and other pathogens is rather poor. This deficiency in the monitoring grows exponentially if one takes into account that changes made to viruses in labs can go undetected for a long time, perhaps up until the moment it is released into the air. In a lab environment, where money and time are unlimited, scientists can deal with unsolved problems, tie all the loose ends and achieve any desired result just as Kawaoka did. For example, missing genes can be added or taken out to affect the virulence and the type of living thing it would be most effective on.

If anything positive has come out of this scientific development is the fact that flu scientists and others who seek to play God with dangerous forms of life like viruses and bacteria will be directly under the microscope as they come up with new ways to teach themselves how to create bioweapons for research purposes and for biowarfare. Richard Webby, from the WHO believes that the outcome will end in more monitoring for the kind of research completed by scientists all over the world. “There’s certainly going to be more paperwork. But in the long run it’s surely going to be a whole lot easier than what we’ve just been through since December of last year.” Sure, but what stops a scientist, or for that matter any other professional, from lying about experimental results to carry out his or her dream to be recognized or to obtain more funding for their signature life project? One only needs to look at climate science (Climategate, hockey stick, rising sea level) in order to find an answer to this question. Or perhaps if you don’t want to go that far, what stops a pharmaceutical company or government controlled entity from carrying out experiments out in the open? Remember Tuskegee?

I guess it all comes down to trust. Do we trust our fame-thirsty scientists or the pharmaceutical companies that hire them or the governments that experimented on humans without their consent?… and continue to do it today?

H5N1 GMO Virus a plot to sell Tamiflu?

Scientists contradict themselves as they stated the super virus had been created in lab experiment.

By DAVID BROWN | WASHINGTON POST | APRIL 4, 2012

Two controversial research projects with the H5N1 bird flu virus haven’t produced a killer bug but have generated useful information, two researchers told scientists and bioethicists gathered here to talk about the benefits and pitfalls of manipulating deadly pathogens.

“We can use this information to understand what’s happening in nature,” Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin told the group, which is meeting to discuss experiments on the much-feared flu strain that has infected 600 people, killing more than half of them, since 2003. He said his work is already shedding light on outbreaks in Egypt, the country with the second-largest number of H5N1 cases over that period.

The meeting at the Royal Society was called after two science journals agreed in December to hold off publishing two papers on the bird flu experiments because they were thought to contain information too dangerous for public consumption. The journals were asked to do so by the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, a committee of scientists that advises the U.S. government about federally funded research, such as these experiments.

That committee changed its mind last week after a closer examination of old and new data provided by Kawaoka and Ron Fouchier, who heads a research team at Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam. The journals, Nature and Science, say they plan to publish the papers soon.

A few details of Fouchier’s experiment were released last month, allaying some fears about its hazards. Kawaoka revealed an even fuller version of his work here Tuesday, further defusing worries. Numerous listeners, however, said it is only a matter of time before the question of whether to publish the results of “dual-use research” — research that could be used for good or bad purposes — comes up again.

Normally, bird flu is hard for people to catch. It requires close contact with sick birds and almost never passes from person to person. The ease of transmission is mostly determined by the structure of one protein, hemagglutinin. Kawaoka wanted to find out what mutations in that protein’s gene might make the virus more contagious in people.

He put a bird flu hemagglutinin gene into the 2009 pandemic “swine flu” virus and by various methods induced four mutations in it. The final bug was easily passed between ferrets, unlike viruses containing a “wild” bird flu hemagglutinin gene. But the engineered virus didn’t kill the animals and didn’t even make them as sick as the swine flu virus. The infections were also easily stopped with the drug Tamiflu.

Read Full Article →

The Heritage of Modern Medicine: Incurable Disease

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
February 20, 2012

Nature always finds a way to evolve and to survive. What could a human be thinking when a pharmaceutical is created in order to “eradicate” a virus or a bacteria? Humans don’t know nearly enough about microorganisms, how they live or adapt to adverse environments to claim that a treatment has been found or a universal cure exists. It is not the pursuit of a solution to keep us all free from disease what is wrong, but the arrogance of the so-called experts and scientists to claim that a final solution has been found. The field of medicine has evolved for as long as it has existed; and continues to do so today. There are no ultimate treatments, no flawless cures. Humanity evolves and improves, and so do viruses and bacteria.

One of the most dangerous sins of modern medicine and those who practice it is to assume that their discoveries and the benefits they believe come with them will somehow end all pain and suffering. Nature proves them wrong again and again.

The latest example of what I call medical insanity is the rise of untreatable, incurable disease. Just as weeds have found a way to survive the attack of herbicides and created mechanisms to survive, viruses and bacteria absorbed the shock from antibiotics and evolved through generations not only to become untreatable, but in many cases incurable.

In the United Kingdom, new bacteria and viruses turn out to be resistant to traditional medicines and now pose a threat greater than that presented by AIDS or a virus that causes a flu pandemic. E. Coli bacterium is an example of the type of menace that is getting out of hand. E Coli infection is turning into a disease that is impossible to treat. According to professor Peter Hawkey, from the Government’s antibiotic-resistance working group, the slow but consistent rise of bacteria that are becoming untreatable so far resulted in the death of 25,000 people a year in the European Union alone.

But the infections and deaths due to incurable and untreatable disease is not limited to the European continent. The threat of an untreatable bacteria or a virus spreading throughout a continent or the whole globe would not be an uncommon event. In fact, the presence of E. Coli bacterium in the blood of patients went up 30 percent. According to official accounts, the number of people who were victims of bacterial infections rose from 18,000 to 25,000 in just four years. The percentage of organisms resistant to antibiotics went from 1 percent to 10 percent in only 11 years.

“Only one in 20 of infections with [resistant] E.coli is a bacteraemia, so the above data are only the tip of an iceberg of infected individuals,” reads a report produced by Professor Hawkey.

Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies that once saw the development of antibiotics as a great opportunity to fill their pockets with money don’t see any incentive to continue or start new research into better medicines that can help diminish the effects of what seem to be immune microorganisms. It is not commercially interesting for Big Pharma powerhouses to continue to invest time and money in drugs that are taken by patients for just a few days, and that will be made obsolete in a matter of years. It is more profitable to engineer drugs that patients will depend on for decades at a time.

Just as it happens with the Bird Flu and the Swine Flu, E. Coli often attacks the elderly and the sick, two of the most vulnerable populations out there. People in these two groups usually die not because of the bacterial or viral attack, but due to medical complications that are enhanced by the relentless attacks caused by the already antibiotic-immune microorganisms. E. Coli poses an even greater threat that MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is caused by a strain of staph bacteria also resistant to the antibiotics.

As more and more antibiotic treatments become ineffective to treat E.Coli and MRSA infections, the need to use stronger drugs is more apparent. But the current line of antibiotic treatments is getting to the limit. The use of carbapenems, which are the last line available. And resistance to those is already emerging. “In the last two or three years we have seen [organisms] develop which destroy carbapenems, the highest level in antibiotic treatments is more often than not cited as the tool of last resort when dealing with viral or bacterial infections. Late in 2011, the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention cited several bacteria such as the blood poisoning K.pneumoniae as resistant to carbapenems in some countries.

According to the ECDC, the number of bacteria resistant to carbapenems has risen from 7 percent to 15 percent.

Microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses have historically found ways to overcome natural as well as man-made threats in order to survive. In the case of the bacteria, though, their evolution is not measured in decades or centuries. Their reproductive and evolutionary processes occur faster than in humans and they can adapt to hostile environments in a matter of months. The evolution and adaptation of life forms such as bacteria is as simple as it is explained in any science elementary school classroom. Although many bacteria or viruses may be killed by antibiotics, a few of them will always survive and those surviving members will modify their genetic structure to create a resistance to antibiotics. The advantage bacteria have against antibiotics is that their ability to survive and adapt is almost infinite, while the number of antibiotic combinations used to combat them is limited.

Put in simple terms, modern medicine has created temporary solutions for an everlasting problem, and now, pharmaceutical companies are out of ideas and science to continue the fight. It seems microorganisms have won the latest battle. I would like to know what would have happened if humans would have dealt with infections the same way bacteria deal with antibiotics. What if instead of creating new strains of the H5N1 flu, scientists would have understood that humans are just a small part of nature, not its creator.


Just Another Vaccine Hoax?

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
January 14, 2012

I don’t know you, but I have seen enough vaccine hoaxes in the last few years. However, for the medical and pharmaceutical establishment there aren’t seem to be enough of them. Swine flu, Bird Flu, Polio, AIDS (Watch “House of Numbers:  Anatomy of an Epidemic”)… take your pick. For example, Dr. Jonas Salk creator of the polio vaccine, says that analysis indicates that the live virus vaccine in use since the 1960’s is the principle, if not sole cause of all polio cases since 1961.”Polio was pretty obscure before the twentieth century. There’d been some outbreaks in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and most victims had been under the age of four”.

Because all those hoaxes collapsed by themselves, now there is a grand new hoax: The Universal Flu Shot is just around the corner. After poisoning most of the public’s brainwashed minds about a contagion and how only the government is capable of producing a solution to such an epidemic, it was more than expected, if you follow the modus operandi, to see the first coming of the miraculous universal flu shot.

But there is something that the fringe scientists who produce the vaccines in Big Pharma labs do not change. They continue to use fear and convenience as the two most powerful reasons for all of us to take the shot. Do you remember I AM LEGEND? Did you watch CONTAGION? Where are the ‘scientists’ when you most need them? They are right there, ready to sell you their next big thing, and it just happens this time it is a shot that cures it all.

“Annual flu shots might soon become a thing of the past, and threats such as avian and swine flu might disappear with them as a vaccine touted as the “holy grail” of flu treatment could be ready for human trials next year,” prays and info ad on the U.S. News and World Report. The positivism of the article is laughable is one understands that no vaccine has ever treated or cured a disease. At least none of the independently conducted and published trials have shown anything that indicated that a vaccine was responsible for curing a disease or stopping a pandemic.

Scientists go back to the Mumps and Polio vaccines to try to prove that vaccines work and state that an early vaccination with a universal shot is the solution to deadly strains of the flu, including the swine and possibly the bird flu. But why if such a vaccine is THE SOLUTION would people need boosters later? That is because vaccines don’t work. Viruses such as the flu mutate constantly, which is why the seasonal flu vaccine is such a useless mode of combating it. But taking extra boosters will not improve this situation either, because those boosters will also get outdated. See the hoax?

The only way a flu shot or a vaccine would work is if scientists could develop a way to foresee all the possible mutations a virus, for example, could take throughout its life, so they can come up with a shot that kills all possible strains. That of course is impossible because the evolution of a determined virus is unknown. It could take many ways. SO the idea of a Universal Flu Shot is just ‘kooky’.

Another interesting development on the vaccine front is why if the existing viruses and other disease are so dangerous, are scientists at universities and Big Pharma labs developing even more deadly pathogens? That’s right. In case you were under a rock through the holidays, some ‘scientists’ decided to create the deadliest of all flu viruses -that we know of- in two labs in Europe and the United States. They thought it would be a great idea to affect the virus in order to study it, even though the result would be a human race-ending pathogen that if released anywhere would kill as much as 90 percent of the population.

On November 28, scientists at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands announced they had been successful in the production of a genetically modified version of the H5N1 Flu virus. Their achievement however, could have negative consequences, as published research showed that the man-made flu virus could potentially wipe out humans if it were to fall in the hands of a terrorist group, whose members could release it into the air. The deadly genetically modified strain of the bird flu virus was tweaked in a lab and turned into a far more infectious type that had the capacity to spread so rapidly, that it cause a global pandemic that would kill millions of people at a time.

The research, as the Daily Mail reported, caused a storm of controversy among scientists, many of which warned that the experiment that resulted in the creation of the new strain should have never been carried out. As it happens often, the medical establishment works through compartmentalization, so the left hand does not know what the right is doing. This is what head scientist at Erasmus Medical Center wanted the public to believe when he said that the experiments were part of a drive to learn more and better how the H5N1 virus works. Virologist Ron Fouchier said that experiments revealed that just five induced mutations were sufficient to enable the virus to spread more quickly.

“It’s like putting up a tent over your immune system that protects against rapidly mutating viruses,” says Joseph Kim, one of the fringe scientists working on the miraculous vaccine. And this fantastic shot has come even earlier than predicted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Isn’t that remarkable? Besides Kim’s Inovio Pharmaceuticals, at least two other companies are also working on the Universal Flu Shot. In late 2010, Inovio earned a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to work on the vaccine, reports U.S. News&World Report.

According to Mr. Kim his company already completed successful human tests for vaccines that protect against all H1N1 and H5N1 flu strains. Wow, aren’t those the two latest strains of flu that supposedly threatened to cause a global pandemic? Again, isn’t that amazing. Can you hear those bank accounts cashing in already? I certainly can.

Inovio says it is working on vaccines that will protect people from strains such as H3N2, which has been detected on new swine flu viruses. Those, according to the company, will be mercifully combined in a powerful cocktail that should result on the all mighty Universal Flu Shot.

Please stay tuned.

China Awakens to Mass Vaccination Fraud

AP

China’s plans to vaccinate 100 million children and come a step closer to eradicating measles has set off a popular outcry that highlights widening public distrust of the authoritarian government after repeated health scandals.

Since the Health Ministry announced the World Health Organization-backed measles vaccination plan last week, authorities have been flooded with queries and Internet bulletin boards have been plastered with worried messages. Conspiracy theories saying the vaccines are dangerous have spread by cell phone text messages.

The public skepticism has even been covered by state-run media, which noted the lack of trust was about more than vaccines.

“Behind the public’s panic over the rumors is an expression of the citizens’ demands for security and a crisis in confidence,” a columnist wrote in the Chongqing Daily newspaper.

“The lack of trust toward our food and health products was not formed in one day,” said the Global Times newspaper. “Repairing the damage and building credibility will take a very long time. The public health departments need to take immediate action on all fronts.”

In recent years, government agencies have dragged their feet or withheld information about the spread of SARS, bird flu and, last month, an outbreak of cholera. China’s slow response to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, was widely blamed for causing the outbreak that swept the globe in 2003, and led to deep mistrust both internally and internationally.

Milk products contaminated with industrial chemicals are still found despite mass recalls and several criminal convictions, including executions, after tainted infant formula sickened 300,000 babies and killed at least six two years ago.

Feeding into worries about the measles vaccine were media reports in March that vaccines for encephalitis, hepatitis B and other diseases possibly killed four children and seriously sickened dozens in one province. The health ministry said an investigation showed those vaccines were improperly stored but subsequent illnesses were unrelated. Many remain unconvinced.

Meanwhile, two Chinese vaccine makers recently said they shut operations after rabies vaccines they produced were found to be substandard.

The ministry has tried to calm the public’s anxieties about the 10-day measles immunization drive, which started Saturday. It has busily issued statements, refuted rumors and held briefings to emphasize the need for the vaccine as well as its safety.

The campaign, likely the world’s largest, targets all children ages 8 months to 4 or 14 years, depending on locality, and is intended to include remote areas, migrant communities and other places where previous vaccination coverage has been spotty.

Yet the publicity is not likely to easily reassure a public increasingly skeptical of reassurances from a government often seen as opaque and unaccountable, especially where public health is involved.

“This time how could the public have no doubts? They are asking: ‘Is there an outbreak of the disease? Are previous vaccinations not working? Are the people in the government trying to make money from this?'” newspaper commentator Wei Yingjie said in an interview.

The public push-back marks a turnaround from the mass campaigns in the communist heyday under Mao Zedong and shows how prosperity and greater access to information are creating a more assertive populace.

“This campaign would have been no problem in the Mao era, but today we know with globalization, the Internet, the information explosion, this increasingly assertive civil society, they want to participate in the public policy process,” said Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that can develop into blindness, pneumonia and encephalitis and lead to death, and health experts say China needs an effective vaccination program.

Despite previous vaccination drives, China recorded 52,000 measles cases last year, including 39 deaths. The infection rates mean China is far from meeting its national pledge from 2005 to eradicate measles by 2012.

Mass drives in other parts of the world have either virtually eliminated measles or significantly reduced the number of infections. The disease has been nearly nonexistent in the Americas since 2002 and cases in seven countries in southern Africa fell from 60,000 in 1996 to 117 by 2000, according to the WHO. Dr. Lisa Cairns, head of immunization at WHO China, said many of those infected with measles in China are young children who were likely never vaccinated. “Because the disease is not as common as it used to be, it is easy to forget how serious it is,” she noted. China’s Health Ministry has repeatedly said that the measles vaccine is safe, with random samples tested from stores around the country, and has tried to assure the public that medical personnel are prepared for emergencies, including any adverse reactions. On Friday, a senior ministry official promised that no one would be forced to take the vaccination. “Vaccination will only proceed after parents sign an agreement,” the ministry’s deputy director for disease control Hao Yang said. “We heard that some places were linking vaccination with admission to kindergartens and schools. So yesterday we issued a notice that admission to school should never be used to force children to vaccination.” Health care professionals, however, have questioned the immunization drive’s broad scope, given that many children have previously been inoculated and thus would be vaccinated again. A blog posting by a prominent immunization expert, Wang Yuedan of Peking University, urged the government to focus on formerly underserved groups like the children of rural migrants now living in urban areas, instead of vaccinating some children again. By Friday, Wang withdrew his reservations and backed the campaign, saying he was convinced by the Health Ministry’s explanations. Still, Wang said in an interview that he winced at the thought of his 4-year-old daughter suffering a possible fever from the vaccine. “I’m a man and a father first, who has emotions and who can’t watch his child suffer pain blindly,” he said. ___ Associated Press researcher Xi Yue contributed to this report.