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Swine Flu Vaccine In Production

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the europe-wants-to-hog-it-all dept.

Medicine 147

ravjen writes with news that "Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said they have successfully produced a swine flu vaccine weeks ahead of their expectations. The vaccine was made in cells, rather than grown in eggs as is usually the case with vaccines." This announcement came just a day after the World Health Organization declared H1N1's spread to be a pandemic. The vaccine has not been tested in humans yet, so the first batch is set to be used in clinical trials and pre-clinical testing. If all goes well, the new production method would allow Novartis to get the drug to market in large quantities by this fall. Other drug companies, such as Baxter International, have confirmed that they're in "full-scale production" of H1N1 vaccines as well.

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Swiss... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326109)

and we wont sell to america unless you leave our banks alone....

Re:Swiss... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326973)

When the /. article came saying that the WHO declared swine flu a pandemic, my reaction was: "It's still around?"
That's how little buzz it's getting here.

Re:Swiss... (4, Insightful)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328157)

Twitter was insane when H1N1 first broke. Now it's pandemic... Crickets.

Just wait a couple of months and the scaremongering bandwagon will set off again. Just in time for the companies to sell millions of vaccines for a flu that, thus far, has presented with symptoms equal to or lesser than the regular flu we see every year.

252 cases where I am. 2 required hospitalization. No deaths.

And WOW! The companies have a whole lot of time to test the safety and efficacy of these vaccines don't they! If this were, say, a heart drug or whatever being rushed to market (and heart disease still kills more people every year than flu ever will*) they would never be allowed to rush it to market this quickly and would need to spend at least six more months faking the tests, I mean doing the tests.

Yet most will happily line up and be beta testers for this vaccine.

The best thing we can do to prevent the flu is COUGH AND SNEEZE INTO OUR ARMS! Seriously, do not cover your mouth with your hands. You cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow. You don't touch anyone with that, and it contains the germs.

(* - Do not come back with the Spanish Flu pandemic. Medical science, hygiene etc... have ALL comes on in leaps and bounds since then.)

Whatever. Glad to see someone has used the "money" tag on this story. The shareholders of the companies working on the vaccine must be damn near pissing themselves with excitement at the dividend they're going to receive.

Re:Swiss... (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328237)

I was still aware it existed, but that might be because I know someone who caught it [bbc.co.uk] .

The only problem now is quantum and distribution. (-1)

vidarlo (134906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326113)

So, they've made a vaccine, but in what quanta? As far as I know, vaccines are made in chicken eggs, and takes some time to produce. Will they be able to supply a proportion of the world with this vaccine in time? And more important, who'll get it. I bet the rich countries, with medical care will get it, since they can pay. But do they need it most? After all, countries in Europe and North America typically has a functioning health care system that can treat symptoms quite much better than most African countries...

So sadly, I don't think it'll really matter.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326133)

As far as I know, vaccines are made in chicken eggs, and takes some time to produce

I know most people here do not bother to read articles before commenting, but you could at least have bothered to read the ./ summary...

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326465)

Just some more background: http://www.in-pharmatechnologist.com/Industry-Drivers/Novartis-gets-487m-for-US-cell-culture-flu-vac-plant
Some people say Crucell is the hottest pharma stock at the moment (because they make money licensing PER.C6).
I have some too.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326473)


Elegy For *BSD


I am a *BSD user
and I try hard to be brave
That is a tall order
*BSD's foot is in the grave.

I tap at my toy keyboard
and whistle a happy tune
but keeping happy's so hard,
*BSD died so soon.

Each day I wake and softly sob
Nightfall finds me crying
Not only am I a zit faced slob
but *BSD is dying.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326263)

At the moment, vaccinating people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico makes the most sense, the prevalence is highest here (3/4 of all infections that the WHO is tracking...).

Countries like India and China can make their own (and have the resources to work in their regions if they want to).

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (2, Informative)

philpalm (952191) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326427)

The prevailing main argument is who has the money to pay for the vaccine. If India or China can pay for it then let them have some. The highest bidder usually wins, despite your bias to send it to only certain countries.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326477)

How do you know what my bias is?

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327283)

Look out! He's standing behind you - watching you type!

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326975)

Although your probably both saying the same thing. Sadly.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

TOGSolid (1412915) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326517)

5 bucks say this vaccine causes the virus to mutate and turn into something far worse than it originally was.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326571)

Like Smallpox and Polio? And other flu vaccines?

Or are you scare-mongering based on the fact that it was developed differently?

Or maybe shooting for humor?

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326915)

I think GP was thinking along the lines of vampire zombies... (I am Legend / Resident Evil)

I know I was!

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328221)

You mean the flu vaccines that are proven to not work? Seriously, do your research. And I mean proper research, not research from anyone financially benefiting from the vaccine. The flu vaccine is unreliable at best.

HPV vaccine is being seriously questioned as well currently, for the record.

Yep, vaccines are awesome!

And it leads to a zombie uprising, I'm ready!

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

seriousthinker (1576317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326879)

5 bucks say this vaccine causes the virus to mutate and turn into something far worse than it originally was.

And I bet you'd want this kind of research banned, right?

If people like you had had their way, we'd still be suffering from smallpox.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327057)

5 bucks say this vaccine causes the virus to mutate and turn into something far worse than it originally was.

Only 5 bucks? If you really wanted to do that on /. it has got to be worth it.

Unless of course you are talking about an animal that has a buck, like a deer, then that's totally worth it.

Re:The only problem now is quantum and distributio (2, Interesting)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328189)

Given flu traditionally excels in cold weather, I'm not sure swine flu, particularly with the other issues in Africa, are an especially big concern.

And saying North America has a functioning healthcare system.... BWAHAHA! Canada, yes. The US? HAHAHA! You should try telling that to the American's I'm friends with who have medical problems.

One friend the other day pointed out that if she injures herself, she's better off getting into her car and deliberately crashing it as her deductible is half that of her HMO.

As I said above, there's sure going to be a lot of testing of the safety and efficacy of this vaccine isn't there! I mean it's probably 2-3 months before CNN and friends begin the hype machine to sell vaccines. 3 months.

Russian Roulette in needle form.

What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

Jurily (900488) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326131)

Can anyone explain why this virus is so different from all the others floating around? Why the panic?

The case fatality rate (CFR) of the pandemic strain is estimated at 0.4% (range 0.3%-1.5%)

We've all had worse diseases than this.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326151)

well, my wife caught it - sickest I have ever seen her. Most of the week in the hospital in isolation.
My son had it as well - he just was home from school for the week sleeping. No energy. For a while I really thought I would lose my wife. If this was the "minor" strain, I am scared at what the "experts" say is the upcoming worse strain in the fall.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326787)

May be your wife was one of the unlucky 0.4 or whatever %. One example does not refute the overall statistic, no matter how close to your heart it is.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328251)

Have you seen people with flu before I wonder? I've had it badly three times in my life. Once when I was a kid, once in my early 20's, and last year (late 30's).

In my 20's the virus attacked my heart and I still suffer issues today from the damage it caused.

Last year I was just exhausted by it.

The fact you've posted as an AC makes me wonder if you're telling the truth, but we'll say that you are.

Every disease will hit some people harder than others. Perhaps your wife has a crappy immune system. Where I am, of 252 cases, 2 have wound up in hospital, no deaths.

As for the supposed experts... Are you talking ACTUAL experts? Or the talking heads on the likes of CNN telling us the sky is falling?

SARS == ATRAC (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28328689)

Yep, what with all those tens of thousands infected worldwide, and almost no casualties that can't be attributed to other factors (air pollution in Mexico City, eg) it's turning out to be a real fake^W pandemic. Better get those Novartis stocks pumped up^U life-saving vaccines out to needy souls. Never mind that the flu vaccine doesn't work, and this one probably isn't any better...
Seriously this decade's "pandemic" list is looking like Sony's list of proprietary format failures. There's a new one every year.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326227)

It's a new strain of the virus that caused the Spanish flu. H1N1 is known to be highly unstable. It has a tendency to pick up genes from other viruses.

So far, this new strain is milder than a normal yearly influenza virus. But that was also true about the Spanish flu virus, the first two mutations that went around the globe. The third one was highly lethal and, sadly, 100% lethal to pregnant women.

Look at it this way. Three possibilities:

1. We might get a huge deadly pandemic now, which could be as lethal as a world war.

2. Or we may well get a medium deadly pandemic, which also calls for great measures.

3. Or we may get a mild extra flu, on top of the usual annual flu. If we are so lucky this time, it will have been the best possible exercise for our future defences against the next great deadly pandemic. It's only a matter of time before we are faced with a pandemic with the potential of killing off tens of millions of people worldwide.

Fingers crossed and knock on wood, etc, etc...

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Curtman (556920) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326453)

H1N1 is known to be highly unstable. It has a tendency to pick up genes from other viruses.

Is it possible these properties will make for a more "dangerous" vaccine than others?

I'm not well educated in these matters, but I did become very sick after getting a regular flu shot the one and only time I got one.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Informative)

True Grit (739797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326625)

H1N1 is known to be highly unstable. It has a tendency to pick up genes from other viruses.

Is it possible these properties will make for a more "dangerous" vaccine than others?

No, they will instead make for a less effective vaccine, because the virus *might* end up mutating faster than we can produce viable vaccines for it. Or it might just fizzle out and disappear, H1N1 is inheriently undependable in this regard, you can't predict its behavior, which is the problem.

What happened to you can actually happen to anyone after taking any vaccine (though normally its rare). Vaccines are in effect a way to give your body a very *weak* version of the virus so it will recognize it as an enemy if the real virus shows up later. Human variability being what it is though, sometimes a very weak version of the virus manages to gain a foothold despite it being weaker, and sometimes it is still enough to trigger a strong, perhaps overly-strong, immune system response.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326807)

You forgot to mention that they don't even use 'live' virus any more. The vaccines used today for flu are not 'dangerous' unless you have an egg allergy. They basically just prime your immune system so that it can properly recognize a flu infection and respond accordingly. They do not inject you with live flu virus.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327141)

You forgot to mention that they don't even use 'live' virus any more. The vaccines used today for flu are not 'dangerous' unless you have an egg allergy. They basically just prime your immune system so that it can properly recognize a flu infection and respond accordingly. They do not inject you with live flu virus.

This is not entirely true. MedImmune's Flumist vaccine uses an attenuated, cold-adapted live virus. However, it is not injected. It is sprayed as a mist into the sinuses and causes a VERY MILD infection (typically a runny nose for a couple of days). Unlike the killed virus injections, it causes a full immune response because it is live virus and it is applied at the site where most people are first infected with the flu.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326895)

Flu vaccines _do_ _not_ use a weakened viruses. They use _proteins_ from virus envelope, the don't contain viral RNA.

So it's not possible to get a flu infection from a flu vaccine.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

True Grit (739797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328615)

Flu vaccines _do_ _not_ use a weakened viruses.

If you're right then somebody really needs to update this page [wikipedia.org] . If this page is correct, and *most* flu vaccines are still made with inactive-virus or attenuated-live-virus methods, then what I said, and what the AC said in response above us are still true. There may be a new "animal cell" culturing method on the way, that you're referring to, but it hasn't taken over completely yet.

So it's not possible to get a flu infection from a flu vaccine.

But it is possible to get "sick", which is the word the OP used I believe, I was thinking of the over-reacting immune system situation, but you're right in that my explanation made it sound like you got the actual 'real' virus itself. You don't, but your body gets *enough* of the virus that your immune system *thinks* its really there and reacts accordingly. If the immune system over-reacts though, that can sometimes be almost as bad as getting the actual infection.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Interesting)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327359)

I refuse to have any shots or other treatments until I am actually "sick". If I am a carrier, sorry dude, you might die but I doubt I will. The reason "pandemics" usually occur is due to OVER-POPULATION. Once people start figuring out that having millions and millions of little petrie-dishes concentrated tightly enough for a virus to play mutation-hop-scotch in, the better off we will be. We are biological organisms, and as such the same rules that apply to other populations of biological organisms apply to us!!!

Besides we could probably use a good culling or two. Between pandemic and war, I will choose pandemic 7 days a week and twice on Sunday. Pandemics are indiscriminate and take down rich, poor, black, brown, yellow, red, white, gay, straight, Jew, Gentile, Atheist, young and old. Wars tend to take out those fighting them and some collateral damage.,,,never those rich or privileged enough to escape them.

-Oz

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28328701)

3. Or we may get a mild extra flu, on top of the usual annual flu.

Less people died from H1N1 than the "normal" flu. That is also true for Mexico. Their medical system is just not that good.

In countries where the medical service is good, no one died and people got cured, except for those who were weak and sick before, and had other complications.

Don't panic.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Clarious (1177725) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326255)

Because it is highly infectious, there is a high chance that it may merged with another flu virus that is deadlier but has low infection rate (think H5N1 - chicken flu, or SARS) and become a super virus that will wipe half of the earth. Or it could just get mutated and become something that is much more dangerous.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326313)

The current H1N1 "Swine Flu" strain, even though may have milder symptoms to the regular yearly Influenza virus, no one has natural immunity to. Since no one has natural immunity it is able to spread rapidly. It should be noted that people can die from the regular yearly Influenza virus, it's just that we always have an up to date vaccine for the yearly virus, and our bodies usually have an up to date antibody for the virus too.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326323)

Funnily enough even that figure is skewed.

I was looking at the details about Swine flu the other day, regarding death tolls and that sort of thing.

Apparently seasonal flu mortality rate is 0.1%, some places said 0.5% but this seems to only be in less trustworthy sources like the general media vs. medical journals and scientific articles etc. which suggest 0.1%.

Now, worldwide the swine flu mortality rate is 0.47% last time I calculated it (I don't have the numbers to hand now) which is to be fair, at least 4 times higher than that of seasonal flu.

However, if you examine the situation in Mexico where as of 5th June 97 of the 117 confirmed deaths had occured you'll notice that it's an anomally. The amount of deaths in Mexico is vastly higher in the rest of the world, despite there now being many more cases outside of Mexico than there are in. Why this is could be any number of reasons - poor healthcare, first place hit so they didn't know how to deal with it, lower quality of life in Mexico city and hence people less healthy - who knows, it could be anything. The point is though, that Mexico IS an anomally.

If you factor Mexico out of the equation (both death rates and infection rates) the mortality rate of Swine flu is drastically lower and really is no worse than that of seasonal flu from a percentage standpoint. In fact, outside of the Americas, despite thousands of cases, no one has died at all.

But of course, mortality rate as a percentage isn't the full story. There seem to be two other factors suggesting Swine flu is a problem, these are:

1) The possibility of it mutating to become worse

2) It's more contagious, so even though the mortality rate as a percentage is lower, more people die because more people get infected

As for point 1) I really am not going to worry about this, I don't like to worry about something that is merely speculation, plan for it and account for the possibility? yes, worry about it? No. Is there even any evidence it's more likely to become worse than a particular strain seasonal flu? Point 2 is the real issue, because although it's no more lethal, more people are going to die because of the contagious nature of it, that said even this might not be the case, I don't know how contagious seasonal flu is in comparison.

With Margaret Chan the director of the WHO coming out with such gems as "After all it really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic." I've lost a lot of respect for them. Swine flu is undoubtedly a problem but I get the impression the WHO is loving this situation because it's a chance for them to get their names in the news but it's not even the first time - look at all the fear mongering over bird flu and apocalyptic scenarios they told us to expect then, how a bird flu pandemic was inevitable etc. within just a few months at the time, remind me, how did that turn out again?

I'm more concerned that we've got a case of the boy who cried wolf, even this time round swine flu reporting seems to be less prominent than the H5N1 bird flu was at the time so I wonder if even media outlets have already decided to treat what the WHO say with a bit more scepticism.

If you want a real apocalyptic scenario then there's the idea that Swine flu both mutates to become worse and is vastly more contagious but personally, I'll file that alongside worrying about global nuclear war and alien invasion. When there's any evidence to suggest we're closer to any of these I'll start worrying or even caring a bit more. Until then, I'll continue living life as always, washing my hands before I eat, after I sneeze and so on as I always have anyway because it's simply good practice if you want to avoid being ill.

Flamebait? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326435)

Apparently the WHO is moderating Slashdot too.

Re:What's the big deal? (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326553)

In general I agree with your sentiment that there's been a lot of over-reaction to this whole thing. A few weeks after the thing first blew up in the news we got more information that this is really "no big deal", but yet there's still remnants in the world of the panic machine going forward. The following, however I don't agree with:


- look at all the fear mongering over bird flu and apocalyptic scenarios they told us to expect then, how a bird flu pandemic was inevitable etc. within just a few months at the time, remind me, how did that turn out again?

What I recall is the idiotic media outlets spreading a lot of fear about bird flu. I recall scientific sources talking about this as a long term problem we need to watch and learn more about because it COULD (but we don't know when, maybe decades) eventually mutate into something that spreads from human to human.

If you want a real apocalyptic scenario then there's the idea that Swine flu both mutates to become worse and is vastly more contagious but personally, I'll file that alongside worrying about global nuclear war and alien invasion.

Why is it people have to turn to some other equally idiotic extreme? Global nuclear was and "alien invasion" have never happened except in movies. Global disease outbreaks including flu that killed millions of people have happened with some regularity for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In all likelihood this whole thing will turn out to be nothing as H1N1 is unlikely to mutate into something more deadly. Putting it in the same category as "alien invasion" is just as stupid as all the fear mongering the media outlets love to do.

When there's any evidence to suggest we're closer to any of these I'll start worrying or even caring a bit more.

If we're close to a deadly flu outbreak, it's really already too late. We need to start developing techniques to get faster vaccines now, not just before it happens. If this HAD been the real-deal, a several month delay to make the vaccine is just too long. You don't need to sit around and cower in fear or start wearing face masks that likely do nothing. You do need to start thinking about how we should be better prepared.

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Interesting)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326627)

"Why is it people have to turn to some other equally idiotic extreme? Global nuclear was and "alien invasion" have never happened except in movies. Global disease outbreaks including flu that killed millions of people have happened with some regularity for hundreds, if not thousands of years. In all likelihood this whole thing will turn out to be nothing as H1N1 is unlikely to mutate into something more deadly. Putting it in the same category as "alien invasion" is just as stupid as all the fear mongering the media outlets love to do."

More appropriately, why is it that people have to overreact to what was clearly a non-serious comparison? All you needed to take away from my comment was that swine flu regardless of how likely it is to other major problems is not something I'm going to spend my time worrying about day to day because it's not that big a deal right now. If you take anything more away from it you are simply getting uptight about something that you've strung together yourself. Being equally pedantic though you might want to re-think that argument that nuclear war is unlikely to happen because it's never happened before whilst global pandemics are more likely because they have happened before. The two events are entirely unliked, and the history of nuclear weapons is far too short to start doing a statistical comparison of the two possible events. Nuclear weapons were about 25 years off even being invented when the last serious pandemic occured. FWIW, I do not believe little green men capable of invading our planet even exist.

"If we're close to a deadly flu outbreak, it's really already too late. We need to start developing techniques to get faster vaccines now, not just before it happens. If this HAD been the real-deal, a several month delay to make the vaccine is just too long. You don't need to sit around and cower in fear or start wearing face masks that likely do nothing. You do need to start thinking about how we should be better prepared."

Yes, but there are people whose job it is to do that. There's no point worrying the general public about it when there's nothing they personally can do other than be taught good general hygeine measures and sickness prevention measures in the first place such as not going into work, and working from home if you're ill as well as washing your hands, blowing your nose with something disposable like a tissue etc.

There is absolutely no point me worrying about it, because a) the odds right now are there is nothing to worry about, b) there's nothing I can do other than what I do anyway even if it was worth worrying about.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327017)


More appropriately, why is it that people have to overreact to what was clearly a non-serious comparison?

I guess I don't agree that a well thought out response is an "over-reaction", or that it was clear your response was "non-serious". Your response sounded to me like a complete dismissal of the whole situation, which is equally foolish.

Yes, but there are people whose job it is to do that. There's no point worrying the general public about it

Much of the world is a democracy. Running a democracy involves a well educated populace so they continue to support funding for said people. If people don't understand why we fund this kind of thing, the "I was low low taxes!!!" crowd takes over.

I don't think we need to "worry" the general populace, I think we need to educate them. Explaining to people about potential threats might "worry" some people, but that's just the way the world works. Why you continue to think I'm talking about panic here I don't quite understand.

There is absolutely no point me worrying about it,

Worrying about things never really got anyone anything useful. Planning for threats, understanding them and overcoming them is what has increased our life span and made us healthier. Worrying about them has only caused some lost sleep.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327325)

"I guess I don't agree that a well thought out response is an "over-reaction", or that it was clear your response was "non-serious". Your response sounded to me like a complete dismissal of the whole situation, which is equally foolish."

Generally when people start mentioning alien invasions it's a good idea to realise they're not making a serious comparison ;)

"I don't think we need to "worry" the general populace, I think we need to educate them."

I'm glad we agree.

"Explaining to people about potential threats might "worry" some people, but that's just the way the world works. Why you continue to think I'm talking about panic here I don't quite understand."

I guess you missed my comment about the head of the WHO suggesting the whole of the human race is under threat? I'm not suggesting you're talking about panic, I suggested the WTO is talking in a manner that causes panic and it seems to be for little reason other than grabbing headlines and putting themselves in the spotlight. The media is often similarly irresponsible in this respect but this time round the WHO seems to be acting worse than the general media. Ultimately this degrades people's view of them so when there is a major problem and they need people to listen, people wont listen.

"Worrying about things never really got anyone anything useful. Planning for threats, understanding them and overcoming them is what has increased our life span and made us healthier. Worrying about them has only caused some lost sleep."

Exactly my point.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

daVinci1980 (73174) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327637)

Your response sounded to me like a complete dismissal of the whole situation, which is equally foolish.

A complete dismissal by the general population is likely appropriate, though.

You should be doing the same things you always do to avoid illness: wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you sneeze/cough, stay home when you're sick. If you're in a position where you're likely to encounter the disease (medical profession, travelling to areas that have seen high numbers of infections), then you should definitely study up on what you can do to promote general health (both others and your own).

It's wrong that the media cries wolf every time anything remotely "scary" happens, just like they did with Avian Flu, and just like they were doing a few months ago. It desensitizes the population in a very real way.

Re:What's the big deal? (4, Insightful)

True Grit (739797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327039)

look at all the fear mongering over bird flu and apocalyptic scenarios they told us to expect then

Strange, I don't have those same memories. H5N1 is very deadly, but can't transmit human-to-human, and the people I heard talk of it said only if it learns to move directly between humans do we need to get scared. It was the *media* that ended up hyping things, not the WHO.

If you want a real apocalyptic scenario then there's the idea that Swine flu both mutates to become worse

Actually, what the WHO is worried about is the H1N1 strain linking up the existing H5N1 strains in Southeast Asia, combining the H1N1's ease of human transmission, with the H5N1's deadliness. H1N1 is part avian after all, it has a history of mutating and combining with other strains. Is it *likely*? No one really knows.

I'll start worrying or even caring a bit more.

The WHO's doing that for you, so you don't have to. Don't blame them for doing their jobs, blame the media for always hyping everything beyond its actual importance/relevance.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327347)

"The WHO's doing that for you, so you don't have to. Don't blame them for doing their jobs, blame the media for always hyping everything beyond its actual importance/relevance."

Normally I would but as it was the director-general of the WHO that suggested the whole of humanity is at risk because of Swine flu I'd argue it's actually the WHO that's doing the hyping this time round, this is my problem with them right now. Even if you take that less explicitly and assume she meant the whole of humanity is at risk from catching it it seems to be a severe exageration, afaik even the 1918 Spanish flu still only infected 40% of the world despite how bad it was.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28328059)

It's not just that it could mutate and that it's more contagious... it's also peaking counter to almost any recent flu. The flu virus is packaged in lipids which tend to dissolve in heat, and aren't carried well in moist air. Add in some summer sun to sterilize surfaces and boost people's immune system with some vitamin D and you tend to get very little flu after March-April. We now have a virus that is peaking in June yet retains flu's ability to sicken and mutate, which implies that this fall could see a VERY BAD flu season. In fact, we're more or less tracking some of the deadliest pandemics for the spread of the virus. The saving grace here is that this vaccine doesn't contain some of the worst "deadly" flu genes from the big killer flus. But now that it's making its rounds through Asia and elsewhere, there is some fear it could absorb some of that. Imagine something as deadly as bird flu that is also more easily transmissible than any flu in decades... THAT'S why it's something to monitor. Not panic about, just be prepared for.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326331)

Why the panic?

(Snip)

We've all had worse diseases than this.

Well, regular flu (esp. real flu rather than just a bad common cold) may not be the black death, but its still not something you'd wish on someone - especially if they're not in otherwise rude health - and even regular outbreaks put a huge strain on healthcare provision.

So a new strain, which people may have no defenses against and isn't stopped by the usual annual vaccine given to vulnerable groups is nothing to be complacent about - especially in the early stages when you don't know how bad it is going to be.

Unfortunately, our moronic media has no middle gears and can't deliver the message "nothing to be complacent about - here is some information" without escalating it to "OMG! ITS THE END OF THE WORLD!!!".

Re:What's the big deal? (3, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326489)

Can anyone explain why this virus is so different from all the others floating around? Why the panic?

The case fatality rate (CFR) of the pandemic strain is estimated at 0.4% (range 0.3%-1.5%)

We've all had worse diseases than this.

It seems to be more infectious that seasonal flu, or people have less resistance to it. In a normal flu epidemic, only a few percent of the population gets infected. Most people either never catch a flu, or have it once every couple of years. The Spanish flu of 1918 had a total infection rate of up to 40%. If 40% of the population gets the Mexican flu, and the death rate remains at about 0.5%, it will be more deadly than the American civil war.

Re:What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326669)

The CFR might not be the main problem with this virus - even if it didn't mutate into a deadlier form when the second wave hits (or future pandemic situations)

The rate of transmission and chances of catching the virus are high due to it being a variant that is not easily fought off by the immune system in younger people due to not having proir exposure to this variant which had been mostly in animals.

So lots of people are going to get sick, and ths will increase in the next few months.

So companies will start to see mass absenteeism both from genuine cases and those not wanting to catch the flu or faking it.

In the present financial climate this could be the straw that breaks some smaller (and larger) companies backs, not to mention disrupting vital services.

The economic cost could be a far worse consequence than the fatality rate.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

dimeglio (456244) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326705)

It is also said that this strain causes much more severe reactions that the regular flu. I've heard of very high fever, vomiting, severe diarrhoea, fluid in the lungs, etc. which typically urges a visit to a health professional, hence the relatively accurate count of infected people. Although it is not lethal in most cases, a combination of a predisposition to illness probably increase morbidity of H1N1.

All we can do is get better at making vaccines quickly and all this will no longer be newsworthy.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326759)

I think it was cause the virus initially killed an abnormally high amount of young adults (the strongest immune systems). It led to speculation that H1N1 killed via cytokine storms (like the Spanish Flu is thought to have), but we haven't quite gotten around to proving that. Also, in the earlier stages, there was this conflict between the official story, and all the stuff we were hearing from the ground. Mexican doctors and nurses saying that infection rate was like 4 times higher or something.

We basically talked a lot about it, and blew it all out of proportions. Now, regardless... there's still a chance of this blowing in our faces when fall/winter rolls around (same thing happened with Spanish Flu). So... it's not time to start laughing at this thing and calling it all a joke. It's certainly time to seriously question what our media is doing. But... well. Shooting the messenger won't make problems go away.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326883)

Maybe it'll mutate a bit and swing back around killing nearly everyone who wasn't infected the first time because their immune systems won't recognize it in time. I'd go get myself infected just to be sure.

/jk
/who has the book rights to that situation anyway?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326957)

1 because CNN is retarded and 2 because nobody is already immune to it so anyone could catch it. Yeah, I know, that's a stupid reason to fear monger but they don't even need a reason at all so this is good for them. But in the meantime, I've got an idea how to vaccinate yourself. If you're in remotely good health, just catch it on purpose, stay home for about 3-5 days, get better, and tada, you've got much more T-cells against it than any vaccine will give you.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

confused one (671304) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327719)

But that's still 1.2 Million deaths in the US and 24 Million deaths world wide, at 0.4%. Are you prepared to deal with 1 in 200 people around you dying?

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327801)

There's a pretty good explanation of it on youtube by a fellow who goes by the name Thunderfoot [youtube.com] .
It could use a bit more detail on zoonotics and how they become easily transmissible in human populations, but its worth showing to those family members and friends who say it's not a threat.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327849)

Oops. Meant this one instead [youtube.com] .

Pandemic? (5, Funny)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326135)

It's not a pandemic until Madagascar fucking closes everything.

Re:Pandemic? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326237)

It can't be too bad...TFA has a picture of the drug label

Novartis, an Umbrella Corporation subsidiary

Oh shi...

Re:Pandemic? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326931)

It's not a pandemic until there's a vaccine that someone can make some money with.

Baxter bigpharma ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326145)

Virus Vaccine Contamination
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=2191
http://www.naturalnews.com/025760.html

Trust Baxter, and your govn't, take the vaccine as they force you to.

a More dangerous pandemic ( 5 Interesting) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326191)

is the Google hype flooding all the sites about the android crap-pile. We're going to die from boredom first.

Scariest (5, Funny)

Smivs (1197859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326209)

A Lion, a Polar Bear and a Pig were having a chat, and the conversation came round to how scary they were. The lion said "When I roar, people up to half a mile away run in terror!" The Polar Bear said, "That's nothing, when I growl people on the next island fear for their lives." "Bah!" said the pig, "if I sneeze, half the world shits itself!"

Quite frankly (1, Insightful)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326215)

with all the hype surrounding this, one might be tempted to start considering the possibility that some big pharma in search of the next blockbuster could have designed the virus, the vaccine, the initial test release in a remote village and subsequent dispersal in airports, and the fud campaign together.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

jperl (1453911) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326289)

I don't think think they did. Otherwise I would be legend.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326471)

Wouldn't it make more sense to speculate that they are spreading prions that make people fat? There's far more money in heart disease and diabetes. The hole in your conspiracy theory is that vaccines are not very profitable.

Re:Quite frankly (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326583)

They are if it is "ineffective".
Loads of people buy it.
"Oh woops lol, not working, sorry guys, back to the drawing board for us"
And by drawing board, they really mean the party over at WHO, some coke and hookers.

Oh yeah, the WHO is badass.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327311)

Not profitable ? Maybe. 4% of 94B$ [yahoo.com] is just small change in today's world.

Re:Quite frankly (5, Informative)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326545)

with all the hype surrounding this, one might be tempted to start considering the possibility that some big pharma in search of the next blockbuster could have designed the virus, the vaccine, the initial test release in a remote village and subsequent dispersal in airports, and the fud campaign together.

Not feasible. Although it has been a popular theme in both Sci-fi and conspiracy theories, technology is still not advanced enough to design a virus. It is unthinkable that a laboratory would have advanced this far ahead of the rest of the scientific community in complete isolation and without ever publishing or filing for patents.

It will almost certainly be possible one day, but not any time soon.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326651)

Filing a patent for a deadly disease that you intentionally infect the public with would be kind of stupid. People might figure it out. Funny no one has figured out that the flu always hits right after the shots. How can they predict what flu will be around in several months unless they have a crystal ball or some inside knowledge?

Re:Quite frankly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326951)

Because it's seasonal?

Re:Quite frankly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327263)

Filing a patent for a deadly disease that you intentionally infect the public with would be kind of stupid.

You don't file a patent on a disease. You file a patent on the technology or technique used to be able to engineer a virus with the degree of control needed to accomplish this.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327259)

Well, it doesn't have to be designed from raw nucleotides. Just put a mix of a few existing strains into eggs, cultivate, check for mutations/reassortments and proceed with those. Easy as cake (made from the remaining eggs :)

Think about it: vaccine makers are already cultivating the virus. It's a very small step from there.

Re:Quite frankly (0)

rve (4436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327367)

Well, it doesn't have to be designed from raw nucleotides. Just put a mix of a few existing strains into eggs, cultivate, check for mutations/reassortments and proceed with those. Easy as cake (made from the remaining eggs :)

Think about it: vaccine makers are already cultivating the virus. It's a very small step from there.

Yeah, easy as cake, especially the lengthy double blind human trials to test the various strains for virulence and deadliness to humans.

A conspiracy theory, no matter how far fetched, will always be the most credible explanation because after all history has shown that new strains of influenza never ever just spontaneously form in nature. The government HAS to be behind it. Or North Korea. I suspect the Illuminati myself though, because ultimately they are pulling the strings.

Re:Quite frankly (1)

Anynomous Coward (841063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327875)

Yeah, easy as cake, especially the lengthy double blind human trials to test the various strains for virulence and deadliness to humans.

Why would double-blind tests be necessary ? It's not as if the field tests would require FDA approval. Anyway, scariness is enough; deadliness is overkill.

A conspiracy theory, no matter how far fetched, will always be the most credible explanation because after all history has shown that new strains of influenza never ever just spontaneously form in nature.

As if anthrax, measle-infected blankets or pestilenced corpses have never been used as weapons either.

Replace conspiracy by a diffuse set of parties that have a largely unconnected interest in a certain outcome, and you'll see that the fud that's being spread was not all that unwelcome. To go from profiting from fud to intently infecting people is farfetched, but not impossible. The 9/11 "conspiracy" (AQ being the conspirators) also looked like a farfetched movie script before it happened.

Was H1N1 spread on purpose ? Very, very unlikely. Could it have been ? Definitely.

Re:Quite frankly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327997)

Keeping such secret from getting out would be impossible.

Such an undertaking would require executive approval to sign off on the funding requirements in addition to the number of research staff that would need to be hired for a project of such undertaking/ The corporation would be taking a huge risk, and everyone involved would bear huge personal risk of criminal liability.

Re:Quite frankly (0, Flamebait)

executivechaos (1576131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326577)

I really don't understand why your post was modded 'flaimbait'...because the chances of the situation to describe being the case are quite high. It amazes me how much 'faith' people have in these bio-engineering and pharmaceutical companies to act only the in interest of the health of humans everywhere...before profit. For goodness sake...they make money from sickness and disease ...why wouldn't they do something like this?

Innoculatation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326249)

I've been inoculating myself by eating pork all the time: pork chops, spare ribs, barbecue, lots of Thai food with pork, etc...

Been doing great so far!

Is the cure worse than the disease? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326269)

The last time there was a swine flu panic, 1 person in the US died of the flu, 25 died of the vaccine that was rushed out and more than 500 were paralyzed by it. What are the odds it's going to happen again? No thanks, I'll sit this round out.

Why Why Why?! (4, Interesting)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326283)

People get the flu EVERY SINGLE YEAR, H1N1 is no different. The WHO and the media make a big deal about this because the drug companies asked for their bailout too. It's quite simple; make the world panic (H1N1 being a pandemic is blasphemous) and everyone asks the pharmacudical companies to start pumping out drugs and the cash starts rolling in. I mean, look how much Novartis's stock has gone up http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=NVS [yahoo.com] . Don't feed the pig, please.

If you want something to panic about, panic about the millions of people each year who die from easily treatable illnesses such as Malaria.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326325)

Malaria is decreasingly treatable. There are simple steps that can lower the chances of infection though.

Re:Why Why Why?! (2, Insightful)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326367)

Because the pharmaceutical industry can scare everybody into paying them billions of dollars. Yes, billions.
God, it's so nice to find someone else who doesn't buy into the bullshit.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326413)

If only you were 15 again, you could visit him in his mother's basement.

Re:Why Why Why?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326457)

"the announcement comes just a day after ..." coincidence? doubt it. I'm guessing they had this a while, and waited. "Novartis to the rescue!"
So- maybe they could have stopped it from becoming pandemic- maybe not- depends on how soon they made it and how cheap^H^H^H^H^Hexpensive they wanted to make it.

Re:Why Why Why?! (5, Informative)

True Grit (739797) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326859)

People get the flu EVERY SINGLE YEAR,

Folks get a *different* strain of influenza every year.

H1N1 is no different.

Yes, it is. It is a different strain of H1N1 that we haven't seen before, a combination of parts of four other strains of influenza A.

The WHO and the media make a big deal about this

The WHO is making a big deal about it only because it is a new strain that hasn't been seen before, and its spreading rapidly, thus fewer people will have any built-in resistance to it. And this particular category of influenza A has a nasty history of mutating quickly.

The media make a big deal about it because its news, but inevitably they end up over-hyping it since they're trying to fill 24/7 with 'interesting' news, and there just isn't enough to do that.

(H1N1 being a pandemic is blasphemous)

No. You just don't know what the meaning of the word 'pandemic' actually is. Hint: the number of casualties to the disease has *nothing* to do with its pandemic status. Look it up, it doesn't mean what you think it does.

millions of people each year who die from easily treatable illnesses such as Malaria.

Please define what you mean by "easily treatable". Malaria has no silver bullet, and the only available treatments which work consistently are really just preventative measures and are relatively expensive. And since the parasites behind Malaria are evolving resistance to the usual antimalarial drugs, for the most part, once you get it, you're cooked.

Malaria is a highly *intractable* problem that occurs in the poorest parts of the world, which makes dealing with it nearly impossible. That's why its a chronic problem, its not something that would just go away if the whole world threw some money at it. Nobody knows *how* to get rid of it.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326943)

Please define what you mean by "easily treatable". Malaria has no silver bullet, and the only available treatments which work consistently are really just preventative measures and are relatively expensive. And since the parasites behind Malaria are evolving resistance to the usual antimalarial drugs, for the most part, once you get it, you're cooked.

Malaria is a highly *intractable* problem that occurs in the poorest parts of the world, which makes dealing with it nearly impossible. That's why its a chronic problem, its not something that would just go away if the whole world threw some money at it. Nobody knows *how* to get rid of it.

Your kidding, right? If people actually put effort into treating diseases like malaria and AIDS they would go away. The problem is, it's just not profitable for the pharmacudical companies. I mean, who wants to help a third-world country when they won't get anything in return. It's all about the money.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327025)

millions of people each year who die from easily treatable illnesses such as Malaria.

Please define what you mean by "easily treatable". Malaria has no silver bullet

Pssssst Olive Leaf Extract [curezone.com]

Whoops, can't patent that. People have been using it for thousands of years. You think Indians raised a lot of flak when attempts were made to patent Neem? Just see what happens with Italians when you try to patent olive trees. P.S. The anti-malaria drugs you can take to not get it in the first place tend to give you homicidal dreams. Not a joke. Some people report dreams of committing general violence including rape and torture, not only specifically murder. Scared of that.

Re:Why Why Why?! (2, Informative)

areusche (1297613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327317)

The drug you are referring to is Lariam, the trade name for Mefloquine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lariam [wikipedia.org] . There are many many more drugs available to combat against malaria then this that do not have this type of dangerous side effect.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

that IT girl (864406) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327343)

Or the olive leaf, which has been effective for years and years, is natural, and has no bad side effects.

Re:Why Why Why?! (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327269)

Why was this modded flamebait? The OP has a valid point!

I don't need a damn vaccine! (3, Funny)

Doug52392 (1094585) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326377)

I live in Madagascar, you insensitive clod!

Early vaccine (1)

epifreak (1455095) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326485)

My only concern is that the vaccine is developed against the H1N1 virus (likely neuraminidase) that is currently circulating. It does have high human-human transmission rate, but mortality is 0.5% so far, so most of the cases are mild. What is WHO scared of is this virus becoming more virulent, by say mixing with H5N1 - mortality rate 60%, thus mutating and rendering the vaccine ineffective. At least so far based on structural and bioinformatics analysis the active site of neurmainidase (this is where Tamiflu binds and prevents spread of viral particle) is unchanged, so Tamiflu will be effective for now.

Re:Early vaccine (1)

mpe (36238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326775)

My only concern is that the vaccine is developed against the H1N1 virus (likely neuraminidase) that is currently circulating. It does have high human-human transmission rate, but mortality is 0.5% so far, so most of the cases are mild. What is WHO scared of is this virus becoming more virulent, by say mixing with H5N1 - mortality rate 60%, thus mutating and rendering the vaccine ineffective.

If such a "hybrid" virus were to be so different from either of its parent strains that a vaccine would be ineffective could you easily tell how dangerous to humans it might be? Killing its host is completly against the interests of any virus.

Re:Early vaccine (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327087)

If such a "hybrid" virus were to be so different from either of its parent strains that a vaccine would be ineffective could you easily tell how dangerous to humans it might be?

Not easily, except by the very likely large scale obvious 'experiment'. There are models for different infectivity states of various hybrid influenza viruses, but I personally don't know much about them and a quick consulting of the oracle wasn't really helpful.

Killing its host is completly against the interests of any virus.

True enough, but the virus doesn't know that.... The only way it "finds out" is by creating the strain and seeing what happens. If somehow, the virus kills all the host off, then oops, Epic Fail for the virus. Start over. But even a 60% mortality rate won't wipe humans off the earth. Captain Tripps it aint. There is likely a long time scale balance between human population and influenza virus "population", but it is going to be a very complicated interaction that will have more variables than human population.

Re:Early vaccine (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 5 years ago | (#28327167)

'If such a "hybrid" virus were to be so different from either of its parent strains that a vaccine would be ineffective could you easily tell how dangerous to humans it might be?'

No, not easily. Both virulence and infectivity are hard to predict (though we have some knowledge of what sequence elements have been associated with particularly nasty flu viruses in the past, e.g. from looking at samples of the 1918 pandemic strain). We wouldn't know a dangerous new strain had emerged until, as in the case of the current strain, clinical cases started to appear.

'Killing its host is completely against the interests of any virus.'

Well, a mild infection that spreads widely is obviously a more effective strategy than a severe infection that can be contained. But the flu virus has managed to have it both ways in the past. Even the 1918 virus (also H1N1) only killed a small minority of those it infected, but its increased virulence over seasonal flu and its ability to spread worldwide resulted in an estimated 50 million deaths. And in a sense, we're still seeing the effects - H1N1 may well have made the jump into domestic pigs around the time of the 1918 human pandemic (Influenza A was first recognised as a swine illness at that time, and H1N1 strains were isolated from US pig populations in the 1930s). Now one of its distant descendants is back in the human population.

Role of Vaccines vs Anti-Flu Drugs (3, Interesting)

betasam (713798) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326541)

Using the new In-Cell growing technique many companies seem to be coming up with vaccines in a shorter period than earlier. Medicinenet has an informative article [medicinenet.com] on Flu Vaccines and immunization candidates, and goes on to say why they are required. This is a good read to understand why vaccination is being given importance here. The 1918 "Spanish" Flu epidemic Virus which is very similar to the recent outbreak was re-created in a laboratory in 2005 [umn.edu] by Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger and colleagues at AFIP. Comparison with Avian flu strains led to the conclusion that Human Flu Virus strains are derived from Avian flu virii.

Among young people and children Flu vaccines claim to be 70%-90% effective, while this drops down to 30%-40% in people aged over 65 who may have other secondary complications. Hence the scale of vaccination required for the present outbreak (which has been repeatedly noted for not being as lethal as the 1918 Flu strain) may be entirely different covering only those in a risk category. More stress is on drugs that help in combating the Virus in an infected individual. These are usually amino-acid chain suppressors like Tamiflu. There has already been mobilization and distribution [swissinfo.ch] of the drugs to combat such an outbreak. The WHO has done a recent donation of drugs [sina.com] to Nigeria. This is however related to continued support of a H5N1 outbreak since 2006.

The role and importance of the Vaccines that would be available is not yet certain. It seems that the stress is more on treatment. Insofar stress on prevention without the involvement of Primary Medical care personnel. Only those who suspect infection have been requested to visit quarantine or medical facilities for treatment. The W.H.O's present stand with the Flu Virus has been a direct result of criticism during the second widespread Avian flu H5N1 attack incidents [sina.com] in 2006. Attention is being given to Avian Influenza as a pandemic because it leads to complications and secondaries making it difficult to fight other diseases with stronger morbidity. -- No Greater Friend, No Greater Enemy! (Lucius Cornelius Sulla)

Mandatory vaccinations.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326557)

roll your sleeves up..it's a coming.

Made in cells? (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326701)

Amazing! Isn't there anything the Playstation 3 cannot do? ;-)

Re:Made in cells? (1)

Chees0rz (1194661) | more than 5 years ago | (#28326933)

Run Linux...

oh wait...

anonymous null (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28326907)

perhaps a man made virus?

The WHO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28327523)

The WHO needs donations again?

SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu - it seems that people are finally learning to take the things The WHO says with a grain of salt.

Anywho, I had Swine Flu and as flu goes it is not particularly bad, but I can believe that people in lower socioeconomic circumstances can die from it. It causes your upper airways to constrict. So if I didn't have a supply of antihistamine for my allergies on hand, I could probably have suffocated from it too.

I think that there is no need to make massive amounts expensive immunizations for this thing, treating the symptoms with antihistamine is good enough.

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