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Global Pandemic Alerts

A service to let you know what you should be worrying about.
  (+15, -1)(+15, -1)
(+15, -1)
  [vote for,

This service crawls the international press pages hosted on the interweb, logs all the mentions of diseases and transforms the results into a worrying real-time graph showing which pandemic is currently creating the most concern. These results are then cross-referenced with reliable (hah!) medical web sites to create a drilldown feature that shows you the likelihood of contagion, of permanent disfigurement, disablement or death.

Registering for this service is free and members can also receive free SMS messages to their mobile so that they know, from moment to moment, whether they should be heading to the drugstore, the doctor or the undertakers.

The site would be funded by taking advertising from leading pharmaceutical & healthcare companies.
DrBob, Nov 16 2005

Of course, if no-one got sick, there'd be no need for it. All_20in_20One_20Cold_20Jab
(See last comment, Nov 02 2001) [angel, Nov 17 2005]

Promed http://www.promedmail.org/
Sorry it took me 6 years to provide this for you, DrBob. Hopefully you have not come down with bacterial wilt while waiting. [bungston, Jan 23 2012]

"Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" https://www.cnbc.co...business-model.html
14 years on from this idea & finally someone, Goldman Sachs to be precise, is coming round to my viewpoint (sort of). It is much more profitable, in the long run, to treat healthy people rather than sick ones.
"...the success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," [DrBob, Feb 18 2019]


       Ooh... can you add some mapping functionality?
st3f, Nov 16 2005

       Like a spreading red patch on GoogleEarth?
angel, Nov 16 2005

       he's a cheerful sod! ;)
po, Nov 16 2005

DrCurry, Nov 16 2005

       You should worry when your neighbors are drumming and chanting all evening to keep the sun up.
reensure, Nov 16 2005

       It's called the mainsteam media. If I could just my hands around one of their executives necks...   

       And get away with it.   

       ... I believe the maintstream media, and television is largely responsible for ALOT of today's problems. The economy might pick up if the media didn't constantly inform us about how bad it's doing! Women everywhere might feel good about themselves, instead of puking away their dinner, and buying more make-up than you could ever use! I am all for freedom, freedom of speeach, freedom of expression, but I believe media corporations should not be allowed to have an opinion! The media helps the petrol industry, they 'predicted' that the gas prices would go up after Hurricane Katrina hit, yet these massive corporations have been insured, and their operations down south would definitely have been reinforced to withstand Hurricanes. Yet, the prices DID go up, and the oil companies are publishing RECORD PROFITS. I heard that a senator or someone in my state was subpoenaing the oil executives to explain WHY they are publishing record profits!   

       The media provides us with distractions, AKA celebrities and movies, which are the standard in this country, but are largely a multi million dollar steaming pile of shit!   

       The reporters reported 'rape' and murder, down in NO after the hurricane, yet not even a single reporter has seen such an act!   

       CNN executive 1: "Let's see, there is a destroyed city, with no law enforcement, and criminals loose throughout the city, what can we do to 'enhance' this story?"   

       CNN executive 2: "logic pursuades that there must be illegal stuff happening! Like Rape! And Torture! And looting! And all kinds of bad things the masses GUSH over!"   

       CNN executive 1: "Brilliant! Secretary! Get me the chief editor for Yahoo news!"   

       I could go on for a veeery long time, but I've lost my track on what I was abou to say.
EvilPickels, Nov 16 2005

       Ah, but in this case Mr Pickels, the scaremongering media is a good thing. This is an advertising service for those who stand to benefit from health scares not a public information booth.

I like st3f/angel's map tie-in. Perhaps with the sound of a beating heart added in. As the red rash spreads the heart beat can speed up just to engender a little extra feeling of panic into the proceedings.
DrBob, Nov 16 2005

       Excellent thinking.

Also, I've just realised that if I use an 's' word to replace 'Alerts' in the title, it can be called GPS, giving it some totally unwarranted credibility by false association with, well, GPS.
DrBob, Nov 16 2005

po, Nov 16 2005

       I was thinking of something with some gravitas but still likely to induce undue panic. 'Alert' is a good word for that sort of thing. 'Siren' would be good in that respect but 'Global Pandemic Siren' doesn't quite sound right. Although I like the idea of an air-raid siren sounding whenever you open up the site. Air-raid sirens never fail to induce panic.
DrBob, Nov 16 2005

       *shouts* as in the way the emergency services would use the word, I thought.   

       not having lived through the 2nd world war, the all-clear always scared me stiff as well.
po, Nov 16 2005

DrCurry, Nov 17 2005

       I assume chickenlittle is the same as ChickenLicken in the UK? The sky is falling down etc? Then I vote for chickenlicken.co.uk for us Brits.
rubyminky, Nov 17 2005

       Regarding angel's link, I would argue that quite the opposite is true. We're in the business of convincing perfectly healthy people that they need to introduce copious quantities of high profit margin substances into their bodies in order to maintain their health.

After all. why limit the market for drugs to just sick people? There are a limited number of them and, given their state of health, they're not likely to be either wealthy or long term consumers. There are lots more healthy earners out there that you can sell stuff to and, if you can convince them that it's in their own interest, they're likely to provide you with a lifetime of sales opportunities.

The whole idea has more in common with FoxyLoxy than ChickenLicken.
DrBob, Nov 17 2005

       [DrBob]: You're saying that if no-one got ill there'd be *more* need for this, because people would need something other than genuine illness as a reason to buy medication?
angel, Nov 17 2005

       Absolutely. I refer you to the idea category, m'ludd.

//It would only serve to cause panic and the advertising would let pharmacutical companies raise prices due to higher demand//

And your point is?
DrBob, Nov 17 2005

       Chicken Licken: how avian flu is transmitted to humans.
rubyminky, Nov 17 2005

       The intention of the idea (to prevent people from deadly diseases) is good, but I think the news already do that, plus, I'm on EvilPickels' side about the impact of the media.   

       Having //A service to let you know what you should be worrying about// is exactly what the world's governments -particularly the american- are doing.   

       I think we have already worried too much about things that are out of our control. We shouldn't give the "leaders" more tools to terrorize and manipulate us while pretending they're informing us.   

       Remember the american "Patriot Act" (or something like that, I don't remember the name) after 9/11; people giving up their rights because they were induced to panic by the media.   

       We don't need that, and I think this idea here is the perfect tool to continue with it. Fish, sorry.
Pericles, Nov 17 2005

       Ah, Pericles, I guess DrBob's sarcasm didn't make it through the language barrier.
DrCurry, Nov 17 2005

       Oh, sorry. No, it didn't make it through. Fish removed, sorry :)
Pericles, Nov 17 2005

       Where any confusion occurs, the fault is with the writer not the reader.

(Obviously I don't believe that for a minute but it nevers hurts to be polite!)
DrBob, Nov 20 2005

       Is it just me, or is it that the human race should've died out ages ago because of the 'epidemic/pandemic' that is 'long due'? Every year the news brings in some 'expert' who claims that we're all due for another black death or something like that.
froglet, Nov 20 2005

       I'm waiting for an expert to claim that we could have all died in a pandemic which is long overdue, were it not for the fact that statistically speaking we were all wiped out when Mt St Helens erupted and clothed the Earth in nuclear winter several hundred years ago. Incidentally, I haven't been keeping track, but anyone know the current ratio of deaths due to Tamiflu vs deaths due to H5N1? Read an article saying 13 Japanese kids had died from the drug.
moomintroll, Nov 20 2005

       This may create unwanted spurts of petty mass hysteria from time to time... but otherwise helpful. [+]
SuiGenerisKitten, Nov 20 2005

       Woohoo! The random button spews up one of my own ideas for the first time ever. Just saying. Not bumping at all. Honest!
DrBob, Jan 20 2012

       //nevers hurts to be polite// Sez you. Were you never obliged to treat politely someone who deserved the opposite? Was it not painful?
mouseposture, Jan 21 2012

       Nah! That's just called Taking the Moral High Ground.
DrBob, Jan 23 2012

       You're a better man than I am Gunga-Bob.
mouseposture, Jan 23 2012

       Self-delusion is the best way to navigate through life, I find.
DrBob, Jan 25 2012

       just one of the reasons the cost of the drug had to be high, [DrBob] (the other being it's a cure)   

       I understand the despair of needing medication you can't afford -- who wouldn't. But I've never understood the complaint about the cost of medicine, drugs in particular. How many people would give everything away to live another 20 years? And yet they have a problem paying for a cholesterol or blood pressure drug that would achieve same? (much less a cancer cure or other incurable disease cure)   

       It's like it's ok to pay for miracles, but science should be free.
theircompetitor, Feb 18 2019

       //How many people would give everything away to live another 20 years? And yet they have a problem paying for a cholesterol or blood pressure drug that would achieve same?\\   

       There's no way, on average, blood pressure/cholesterol drugs are getting people 20 years. I can't think of much that could, outside of preventing acute death. Insulin maybe?
bs0u0155, Feb 18 2019

       //It's like it's ok to pay for miracles, but science should be free.\\   

       Science IS practically free. Pharma companies don't do a lot of it though. Most are 50% or more marketing/advertising. Drug "discovery" can be putting 2 well know drugs in one "Rapid action liqui- tab" and running a tedious and predictible trial.
bs0u0155, Feb 18 2019

       //Most are 50% or more marketing/advertising.//   

       I'd slightly disagree. For every 200 "interesting" findings in basic research, maybe 50 will make it as far as animal testing (cost: maybe £0.2M each). Maybe 15 will go into human Phase I trials (cost: £2-5M each); maybe 8 will go on to Phase II (cost: £10-15M each); and with luck just one will go on through Phase III trials and be marketed. Even ignoring the cost of the initial research, that's quite a spend. And by then you're 10 years into a 25 year patent lifespan, giving you 15 years to recover your costs. Reformulations and new uses are additional revenue, but again have the cost of trials to offset.   

       The truth is that being big pharma is no more profitable than being a big publisher or a big restaurant chain.   

       For small companies, the numbers are different because they're typically gambling on one or a few compounds which they'll eventually sell or licence to big pharma. So, successful small biotechs make large (percentage) returns, but the overwhelming majority fail and just pour £5-50M directly down the drain.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       Sounds like a great problem for a hyper-advanced neuro-net type of machine. Or as I like to call it, a not terribly expensive machine that goes bing a lot of times until it finds a cure for cancer, given amazingly sophisticated modeling.   

       I wonder if the modeling part could be done with a learning neuro-net as well, until the output comparator could say "that reasonably resembles human cellular / physiological behavior as near as I can tell?"
RayfordSteele, Feb 18 2019

       //I understand the despair of needing medication you can't afford//

I understand the need for a return on investment but if I turn the point around & point out that you (the generic you, that is, not specifically you tc) possess a drug that could save someone's life but refuse to do so because they can't pay your price, then what sort of morality is that?
DrBob, Feb 18 2019

       the sort of morality that makes it possible to create the drug in the first place.
theircompetitor, Feb 18 2019

       Which is?
DrBob, Feb 18 2019

       there has to be drive so long as humans are involved. It does not have to be only money, but the drive has to be there.   

       The reason profit is such a big component is primarily that govt. regulation shepherded medical research towards higher and higher costs. Otherwise mad professors all over the world would be generating quack cures at a fraction of the cost and testing them on the more than willing population   

       So finding the cure for cancer is motivation enough -- sure -- but getting it to market as a cure would cost billions even if it was some stupid berry extract (for example)
theircompetitor, Feb 18 2019

       //but refuse to do so because they can't pay your price// In fact, if you go to the drug company with that sort of situation, there's a good chance they will give you the drug. It happens quite often (at least in the UK), although usually it's doctors who make the approach, to obtain a drug that isn't supported by NICE (the body that decides which drugs the NHS uses).
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       it in fact happens in the US as well. In addition, the new extra high price drug -- like the Hepatitis C drug linked -- are being charged primarily on success -- i.e. if there's no cure no payment.   

       Costs will anyway start getting squeezed out of the system as AI takes a bigger role. I've long supposed that presuming AIs can be non-selfish, they should finally enable a sort of communism across a spectrum of domains, including medicine.   

       Of course a big supposition is that AIs can ever reach the necessary levels without being selfish -- is being self- aware necessarily being selfish to a human-like degree -- if that's the case, the AIs will still want to be paid :)
theircompetitor, Feb 18 2019

       //govt. regulation shepherded medical research towards higher and higher costs// now _that_ is certainly true. And it's a time factor as well as a cost factor. A drug which is not used chronically, or a drug which can potentially save a life, should be able to go through clinical trials in a year. Admittedly, some patients get on PhaseII or III trials, but the whole process should be a lot faster, and can still be safe enough. One problem is that the system is predicated on the assumption that it's worse to lose 100 lives waiting for a new drug than it is to lose 1 through over-hasty approval.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       exactly. Our current FDA guy has started to make some real progress on this, hope it continues
theircompetitor, Feb 18 2019

       Sure, I get all that &, in a capitalist economy, I agree that getting something to market requires a company to make a return on it's investment otherwise it will not get funding for the next project & so on. There are other economic models but let's not get into that debate because I doubt that any of us going to be persuaded over.

No, the reason I was tweaking your tail a bit was because the declaration in my link above comes not from a drug company but from a company of bankers. The same company of bankers who deliberately de-frauded their customers out of billions of dollars, pounds & euro's & created a financial collapse 10+ years ago from which economies still haven't recovered & which ruined a lot of lives. When they are proposing to a drug company that curing patients may not be a sustainable business model, I think we need to all start worrying, regardless of our political or economic perspective. Set pandemic alert to maximum!
DrBob, Feb 18 2019

       //not from a drug company but from a company of bankers// Well, there ya go, [Bob]. Believe me, the drug companies that are developing genomic-led and potentially curative treatments are well aware of the financial implications of a "one-shot treatment", yet they are all (at least all the major ones and hundreds of startups) pursuing those treatments.   

       Small biotechs (and I know, coz I are one) are piling into the genome editing field, often with a view to developing one- shot treatments. In part this is because they (we) are still dewey-eyed and want to save the world. But it's also because they have a chance to win an otherwise closed market. And the big pharmas, if they're not pursuing genomic treatments themselves, are buying up the smaller companies and their tech, because they know that a one- shot treatment will always take precedence over long-term disease management, and they'd rather get in on that market than have the market disappear from under them.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       But, to return briefly to the idea, I for one would like to see disease maps on TV like weather forecasts. "And this week we expect to see a wave of colds from the Echo35 strain that's come down from Finland. Expect high infection rates amongst pre-school children, excepting those who had December's Parr17 sniffles virus - they'll be enjoying some crossover immune protection. Meanwhile, a plume of Norovirus 17 is reaching up from the south coast and is expected in northern England over the next couple of weeks..."
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       You could always sneeze on it.
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 18 2019

       That's not at issue, shirley ?   

       // the AIs will still want to be paid :) //   

       The problem may well be not that the AIs want to be "paid", but what they may want as "payment". It may not be financial; it may be something that humans consider socially or morally unacceptable.   

       "We will design a medication to cure this child's terminal disease if, and only if, <insert name here> performs <degrading and humiliating but not illegal act> on live broadcast TV" ...
8th of 7, Feb 19 2019

       Regarding the actual idea, Google apparently predicts the spread of seasonal illnesses by analyzing web search queries (that don't necessarily mention anything to do with the illness).
notexactly, Feb 23 2019

       That's even better. By seeding a few search queries you can create a virtual pandemic panic.
DrBob, Feb 23 2019


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