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Swine flu, a tragic boon?

November 9, 2009 - 3:02 pm

Well,  I wouldn’t exactly describes today’s U-T’s editorial decisions as unethical, but they’re certainly insensitive. Check out this juxtaposition:


Headline: “Local swine flu cases end in sorrow survival

Subhed: “Families of Patients urge people to get vaccination”

The story follows two pregnant women who contracted H1N1. One lived, the other died a week and a half after delivering her baby. Very sad.

“Some health officials have blamed the vaccine shortage on manufacturing delays involving the growth of H1N1 bacteria cultures in chicken eggs. This standard way of producing flu vaccine is widely seen as antiquated, but no better method has been adopted.”


Headline: “Carlsbad CEO excels in biotech tool field

Inside subhed: H1N1 outbreak brought firm more business.

An interview with Gregory Lucier, CEO of Invitrogen

Q: The H1N1 pandemic has been significant for you…How big of an area is that for the company?

A: It’s been quite a boon for us here in 2009…we have been inundated with orders from the CDC and other public health agencies around the world to buy our equipment, to buy our consumables, do the surveillance on what’s going on with H1N1, the epidemiology. And it really is the de facto standard for H1N1 testing.

So, what we have on the front page is a heartbreaking story of the victims of poor health technology. Then, inside, a blowjob piece for biotech mogul #208, who sees swine flu as a “boon.”

Now, to be fair, it doesn’t look like Invitrogen manufactures H1N1 vaccines, but then again, its web site isn’t exactly clear what its H1N1 involvement is.  Search for it, you get no results.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 10, 2009 - 9:43 pm 9:43 pm

    Not sure if you already saw these, but my Google search using Invitrogen h1n1 as the search key turned up a fair number of hits such as

    • November 10, 2009 - 9:45 pm 9:45 pm

      Oops wrong link above. But try the search, there are lots there.

      • November 11, 2009 - 10:21 am 10:21 am

        I did search and most of the hits only had invitrogen as an ad in the sidebar of an unrelated h1n1 story. There was a small reference to it in a WHO report, but that was about it.

  2. November 11, 2009 - 11:17 am 11:17 am

    I agree it’s hard to see direct involvement but their products are sure used a lot in the H1N1 area:

    Invotrogen product used in swine flu vaccination

    Invitrogen product used in detection of swine virus

    Invitrogen in-vitro Voyager vector expressing influenza virus genes:

    Invitrogen Gateway® Entry Vector

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