If there is an avian flu pandemic in the coming months there would be enough drugs to protect less than 2% of the British population for a week

Fears that a “doomsday” virus may sweep the world have been heightened by the recent spread of the lethal strain of avian flu, H5N1. The death toll, estimated at 120, has been of people whose work brought them into close contact with infected birds. Scientists have warned that millions could die if H5N1 mutates.

The Department of Health would not currently be able to cope with such an onslaught. Although it has ordered 14.6m doses of Tamiflu, an antiviral drug thought to be effective against the H5N1 strain, only 900,000 doses are in stock so far. The full supply will not be delivered until March 2007, at a total cost of about £100m.

I had no idea the end of the world was so near.