“Global health officials are scrambling to try to prevent the spread of the H1N1 swine flu virus, with U.S. officials moving Thursday with a recommendation that the Food and Drug Administration approve or license a [new H1N1] vaccine,” without waiting on the results from “clinical trials to test its safety and efficacy,” Wall Street Journal reports (Dooren/Winning, 7/24).
The race to develop a H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine before the fall flu season ramped up Wednesday, after Australia launched the first human trials of the H1N1 vaccine and scientists from the U.S., China and Britain announced plans for human trials of an H1N1 vaccine in the coming weeks, AFP/France24.com reports.
The WHO on Friday said the “H1N1 swine-flu virus could infect up to two billion people over the next two years – about one of every three people in the world,” VOA News reports.
During a meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday, a “federal advisory committee issued sweeping guidelines â€¦ for a vaccination campaign against the pandemic swine flu strain, identifying more than half the U.S. population as targets for the first round of vaccinations,” CNN reports (Hellerman, 7/29).
Health officials are growing increasingly concerned over the impact the H1N1 (swine) flu is having on populations living in Latin America, a region “which accounts for around two-thirds of the 816 confirmed deaths so far from the disease,” the AFP/channelnewsasia.com reports.
“A U.S. plan to rely on swine flu vaccines without ingredients to stretch the supply [known as adjuvants] would reduce the number of available shots just when other countries need them most, the British journal Lancet said in an editorial,” Bloomberg writes.
“Authorities in eastern India will start culling chickens and destroying eggs to contain a new outbreak of H5 bird flu, the government said in a statement on Tuesday, as a mutant strain of the virus is spreading elsewhere in Asia,” Reuters reports (Williams, 9/20). “A mutant strain of avian influenza — for which there is no vaccine — appeared recently in China and Vietnam. But Indian authorities did not specify which strain of the H5N1 virus had been detected in the West Bengal region, which has been a hot spot for avian flu in the past,” the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. The blog provides a link to track the movement of bird flu on the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s avian influenza pages and a link for additional information on the virus from the CDC (9/20).
U.S. Clinical Trials Show Single Dose Of H1N1 Vaccine Protects Pregnant Women, Children Under 10 Need Two Doses
U.S. government data released on Monday confirmed that a single dose of the vaccine protects pregnant women from the virus, while children under the age of 10 years need two doses of the vaccine, the Washington Post reports. The findings came the same day that a team of experts tasked with monitoring the national H1N1 vaccine campaign for any adverse side effects met for the first time.
A WHO official on Tuesday backed the Afghan government’s decision to declare H1N1 (swine flu) a health emergency, forcing the closure of all schools in the country for three weeks in an effort to contain the virus, IRIN reports. H1N1 has reportedly infected over 300 people, resulting in two deaths.
The WHO is looking into reports that patients with “severely suppressed immune systems” in Britain and the U.S. developed resistance Tamiflu, which is used to treat the symptoms of H1N1 (swine flu), a spokesman for the organization said Tuesday, Reuters reports.