The Osterholm Quotes

"I’m tired of having people just talk about the problems, which is why we’ve tried to lay out answers in this book. Our key message is not to scare you out of your wits. It’s to scare you into your wits."
"I think one of the most highly successful organizational operations in the world today is IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We need an IPCC for antibiotic resistance as much as we need one for greenhouse gases."
"I am absolutely optimistic we can have a game-changing flu vaccine where [people receive] one shot every so many years. It could protect very well against the H1, H2, H3, H5, H7 and H9 viruses, which are the key ones we worry about for a new pandemic."
"We can be sitting on top of a potential catastrophic event — as we are right now in Brazil. We have the ability to make a very effective vaccine for yellow fever. The problem is no one wants to spend the money to make it because you can’t make money on it."
"The two threats that really pose the greatest challenge to the world today in terms of catastrophic outcome are pandemic influenza and antimicrobial resistance, both of which we’re doing very [little] about on a global basis."
"Today, an influenza pandemic could be more devastating than an atom bomb. We are already witnessing an outbreak of influenza in birds — the H7N9 strain, in China — that could be the source for the next human pandemic."
"With 7.4 billion people, 20 billion chickens and 400 million pigs now sharing the earth, we have created the ideal scenario for creating and spreading dangerous microbes."
"The Trump administration . . . seems to have lost sight of the greatest national security threat of all: our fight against infectious disease."
"With each passing year, we lose a percentage of our antibiotic firepower. In a very real sense, we confront the possibility of revisiting the Dark Age where many infections we now consider routine could cause severe illness."
"I think we have a chance of getting game-changing vaccines. . . . But who is investing?"
"It's like throwing a yellow fever match into a gas tanker. Those are the perfect ingredients for yellow fever explosion."
"Early notification of a problem should be the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card."
"Last year we spent over a billion dollars researching new HIV vaccines … an important investment. But the best estimate we can come up with is we only spent about $35 million globally on … research on new game-changing flu vaccines."
"Did we do anything to prepare, like make a new or better flu vaccine? No."
"I don't think the actual premise for the PREDICT project—that it will make us better prepared for a pandemic—holds water."
"We're in a hyperinfectious disease world."
"The study today does not refute that vaccination could have some impact on reducing transmission from infected health care workers to patients. But it clearly shows there's no well-conducted study that demonstrates that at this time. Our public policy should be guided as such."
"What we're learning about H5 is, that whether its H5N6, H5N8, H5N2, or H5N5, this is a very dangerous bird virus."
“This is a vaccine that desperately needs to be redone. Influenza is a serious disease that desperately needs to be addressed both from a seasonal flu status and pandemic status."
"I can't say that all the momentum has been lost. But it’s pretty hard to run a semi-truck on a lawnmower motor. There’s not enough push and pull right now."
"There was a sense that we’re all done. We've taken care of it. We've got a 100% effective vaccine. There is still a lot of work, with a lot of very hard questions and some important financing, that still needs to be done to get us to a point of Ebola preparedness."
"The CDC always gets in trouble with Congress when it talks about contraception or bullets. And abortion? You talk about third rails in politics? Abortion is the fifth rail. They can’t touch it. If the CDC had pushed the envelope any farther, its funding would have been at risk."
“Until we get more data, frankly I think the very best approach is to try to make sure we get flu vaccine into people just before flu activity starts, not something convenient to [do] when the marketers want to get people in the door of department stores and grocery stores."
"The appointment of Robert Kennedy, Jr, to head up a commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity is a lot like putting a person who believes the world is flat in charge of the leading global geographic information system initiative. . . . [It] is a potentially a dangerous decision if it sends a message to parents that vaccines are not safe and not necessary."
"[A universal influenza vaccine] would be the single most important thing we can do in public health today."


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