Cuban civil defense teams keep swine flu at bay/AP

Interesting take by the Associated Press on how Cuba plans to deal with a swine flu epidemic–sans vaccine.  Excerpts:

As the U.S. prepares an extensive health survey for side affects from its massive inoculation plans, Cuba’s No. 2 health official says relying on a shot to contain a world pandemic is risky as best — and demoralizing at worst.

“Nobody knows if it would work,” Dr. Luis Estruch told The Associated Press in an interview. “How safe would it be?”

It’s not that Cuba isn’t up to the task of developing a vaccine.

Cuba’s Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology makes nearly 100 products, including more than three dozen drugs to fight infectious diseases. The island also has 12,000 registered scientists, impressive for a tiny and poor nation, reflecting the importance the government places on medicine and science.

“If we had confidence in a vaccine, we would get it,” Estruch said. “Immediately.”

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