Friday, May 3, 2013

Hendra Virus: A new zoonosis and the race for a vaccine


  1. Katharine Sharon’s peer review of Charlie Alex’ timeline:

    This timeline is not only visually stunning, it also clearly and succinctly presents how Hendra virus spread over the nearly two decades since the discovery of the virus and the pressures that forced the development of the vaccine. It’s clear from the timeline that Hendra virus is a very serious disease for horses and people. When you can visualize the spread of Hendra cases up and down the coast of Queensland, and then the entry of the virus into New South Wales, it drives home just how scary the virus truly is. In addition, the timeline depicts the dichotomy between the importance of a vaccine for Hendra virus at a national and international governmental level and the lack of use of the vaccine by
    horse owners once it was developed. In the face of all of the equine cases, with nearly 70% reported mortality, it is a sad revelation considering that four people died after contracting the disease from horses. This timeline is a well-rounded perspective on the epidemiology of an important emerging disease about which we still have a lot to learn.

  2. Mr. Alex did a very thoughtful and thorough review of the history of the Hendra virus. I truly enjoyed seeing the history of the virus in a timeline fashion and felt that Charlie did a great job sorting through the cases and developments surrounding this virus. I think that this time line would be great information to provide to clients when educating them on the disease. In fact this information might be a good way to convince Australian horse owners to invest in the vaccine because the severity of the disease is concisely described. This document is also very eye catching and easy to follow. Well done Charlie!

    -Tarah Satalino-

  3. Comments from Sarah Repsher:

    Charlie’s Timeline was an Excellent and Creative depiction of the History of the Hendra Virus. It is amazing to see how much work and time goes into the research of the such a complex and dangerous disease process. The graphics included help to enhance what was said and give the reader an idea of how the virus spread. I was impressed by how the researchers, government, and drug companies pulled together to expedite the production of a much needed vaccine. Then I was later disheartened by the last announcement that Zoetis planned to discontinue it. It almost seems as if they are choosing money over the value of human and equine lives. Overall this was a fantastic timeline!

  4. Comments from Shauna Bartholomew:

    Shauna Bartholomew-Wow! The timeline was a really cool idea illustrating the course of the disease versus the development of the vaccine. It was amazing to realize how long the disease was present (1994) until the vaccine was finally developed and marketed (2012). It was interesting that the U.S. government took interest in the virus as well because of bioterrorism, and helped in the funding of
    vaccine production. I also thought it was interesting that Pfizer (now Zoetis) was the company to develop the vaccine, mostly in the sense that it was the only company that really took interest. In my mind, with the involvement of human deaths, I felt there would have been more push from the public as well to start research. I guess from how rare the outbreaks were it wasn’t a high priority, but the virus is so deadly. It would be interesting to see if another large outbreak is the impetus that causes the sales of the vaccine to increase, seeing as the few sporadic cases that have occurred since the vaccine’s debut hasn’t sparked interest in routine vaccination. I think if I had a horse in Queensland I would have
    definitely wanted the vaccine, especially since there is so little that can be done to prevent infection, and once infected, there is even less that can be done. I guess the current high cost of the vaccine is a deterrent as well, but in time and with more sales I wonder if the cost would become more reasonable. It will be interesting to see if the vaccine remains on the market, especially since the Hendra virus is not going anywhere.