Swine Flu – Heating Up or Exploding??
The Swine Flu discussion continues to be a hot topic and recently it was discussed in Beijing with the World Health Organization indicating that they fear a possible continued risk of the “explosion” of Swine flu.
This rhetoric appears to be nothing new from the hundreds of stories regarding Swine flu over the past few weeks to months. The projected timeline includes a modest increase in Swine flu cases over the next few weeks, then a sharp increase – a doubling of cases each day for several weeks and then a peak of cases in the colder months later this year and into early next year.
The current belief is that the Swine flu influenza virus is a rather resistant virus. This is backed up by the fact that the seasonal flu influenza virus typically disappears during the warm months. The Swine flu has diminished in the Northern Hemisphere but is has not disappeared. A better understanding to the pandemic outcome because of this resistance will be seen in the upcoming months.
The symposium held today wanted to address the prognosis and the current situation of the H1N1 influenza or more commonly referred to as the Swine flu.
They reported that over 1,800 deaths can be attributed to the Swine flu and that it is currently classified as a pandemic.
In the United States currently 520+ deaths are Swine flu related/caused
They believe that up to 30% of the entire world population will be exposed or infected by the Swine flu over the next few years.
While others attest that the Swine flu may be no more serious than the annual flu season that is experienced year in and year out.
Worldwide – between 200,000 and 500,000 deaths are attributed every season to the seasonal flu.
The Pacific director of the Western branch of WHO is Shin Young-Soo and he indicated a concern for developing countries. Shin indicates “…it is in developing countries that the accelerated spread of swine flu poses the greatest threat as it places under-equipped and underfunded health systems under severe strain.”
Others believe the most challengingÂ aspect will be the significant demand for vaccine and the high emergency room numbers in both the developed and undeveloped countries. It is believed that many will be overburdened due to fear and potential outbreak.
Swine Flu Vaccine
Many are concerned over the current projected release of the Swine flu vaccine. It is anticipated to begin between the months of September and December.
Most of the vaccine rations will be given to more economically sound countries.
There is a report of two drug makers that have pledge to donate 150 million doses of the vaccine to poorer countries by the later part of the year. It is unknown the price tag on the vaccines donated.
Currently it is believed that the Swine flu vaccine will be available at the end of the year – or sometime sooner.
Clinical trials began and the results should be known by mid to late September.
Some believe that 50 million doses will be available by late October and over 200 million doses ready by December. This projection is less than half of the original expectation and has taken some by surprise. Initially it was anticipated that some 120 million doses would be ready by October.
Currently no serious side effects have been seen in the initial batch of clinical trials
Initially Adults were tested and just within the last few days – children began testing as early as 6 months of age.
More controversially pregnant women will begin testing sometime next month.
Distribution of the vaccine will be closely discussed and monitored. Currently the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is creating a plan for distribution.
Adjuvants will also be tested more fully over the next few months.
Additional modifications to timeline and expectations will be seen over the next few weeks and months.