Saturday, June 13, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine now Available

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG said that they 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.

The World Health Organization declared swine flu as pandemic. The drugmakers will likely have vaccines approved and ready for sale after September as WHO says.
UN health officials declared that Swine flu, also known as Influenza A(H1N1), is now formally a pandemic. WHO announced that the virus spread is any more lethal but it's spread is considered unstoppable. The move indicates that a global outbreak is under way.

The Novartis company said that the first batch of vaccine will be used for pre-clinical evaluation and testing and being considered for clinical trials.

Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO chief made the long-awaited declaration after the UN agency held an emergency meeting with the flu experts and said that the flu was moving to phase 6 – the agency’s highest alert level – which means a pandemic is under way.

Chan said “The world is moving into the early days of its first influenza pandemic in the 21st century,”

The virus can still be deadly and may change into a more frightening form in the near future, and so people should not be complacent Dr. Thomas Frieden, the new head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
Swine flu so far has caused 144 deaths, compared with ordinary flu that kills up to 500,000 people a year.

To make pandemic vaccine is a gamble decision. Most of the flu vaccine makers cannot make both regular seasonal flu vaccine and pandemic vaccine at the same time. That means they must decide which one the world will need more.

WHO described the pandemic as “moderate.” WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda said that the people should not get overly anxious about the virus. He said that the people should “Understand it, put it in context, and then you get on with things,”

Swine flu continuing to spread during the start of summer in the northern hemisphere. Normally, flu viruses disappear with warm weather, but swine flu is proving to be resilient.

“What this declaration does do is remind the world that flu viruses like H1N1 need to be taken seriously,” said US Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, warning that more cases could crop up in the fall.

Now that a pandemic has been declared, some countries might be prompted to devote more money to containing the virus. Many developed countries have pandemic preparedness plans that link spending to a WHO declaration.

The UN is keen to avoid panic. “We must guard against rash and discriminatory action, such as travel bans or trade restrictions,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.