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Posts Tagged ‘H1N1 Swine Flu’

The only good thing about getting H1N1 Swine Flu is being able to rest easy knowing that you didn’t contract the much deadlier Bacon Sniffles:

Bacon Sniffles

Fluffy, soft, friendly euphemism for the much nastier, scarier, oh-my-god-we’re-all-going-to-die-lier Human Swine Influenza.

In humans, the symptoms of Bacon Sniffles are similar to those of Human Swine Influenza, namely chills, fever, muscle pains, severe headache, and weakness, but also include irrational panic, currency hoarding, an obsession with constantly updating statistics, and a tendency toward Mad-Max-like scavenging for food, gasoline, and potable water.

Heh.

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A vaccine which works with a single dose is important for health organizations dealing with shortages as the fall flu season approaches.

The World Health Organization requires a company manufacturing vaccines to go through a thorough inspection ensuring quality before the WHO buys and distributes their vaccines globally. No Chinese companies have yet applied to pass inspection for manufacturing vaccines.

Unfortunately, there have been safety concerns about Chinese drug makers and regulators in the past. Some people are questioning if the quality of this season’s  batch will be up to WHO standards. However, it is more likely that the local Chinese market is so vast that local companies are not even considering the export market and have no inclination to deal with outside inspections.

Since the H1N1 swine flu is a problem in poor and developing countries, the WHO is counting on other manufacturers to step up to the plate and provide them with the vaccines they need.

About 25 companies are making H1N1 pandemic vaccines, including Sanofi Aventis SA, GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Novartis AG. The WHO is concerned that poor countries are particularly vulnerable to the new flu because their health-care systems are weak and their populations already suffer a high burden of disease. So far, though, only two companies have agreed to donate doses for developing nations, according to the WHO: Sanofi with 100 million doses, and GlaxoSmithKline with 50 million.

Although the Chinese are ahead of the curve, companies are currently testing their own version of a single dose vaccine in trials taking place in America. If a single dose version of the vaccine becomes widely available, there will be twice the number of doses to go around.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is overseeing clinical trials of vaccines in the U.S., said the Chinese data appeared promising, showing that one standard dose produced the response needed to offer protection. “The data look quite reasonable,” he said. The Chinese vaccine used the same form of killed virus that is being used in the vaccines undergoing U.S. clinical trials, he said. “I hope our data will also show that,” he said. Initial results from the U.S. trials will be ready within two weeks, he said.

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With about a week to go before the beginning of the new school year, New York City officials have announced a new slate of strategies to combat swine flu –including offering students free vaccines for seasonal and H1N1 flu.

Mayor Bloomberg is handling the situation responsibly. It is understandable for parents to be concerned, but the media has played a role in stoking fears over a relatively benign threat. The seasonal flu is more dangerous than the current H1N1 virus.

The city has actually put together a comprehensive contingency plan that includes more than just elementary school students.

The city will offer free flu mist and flu shots for H1N1 to elementary school students whose parents want them to receive it; encourage New Yorkers to get flu shots for H1N1 and seasonal flu; help people with flu-like illnesses manage their symptoms and find care; work with hospitals to ensure the availability of expanded emergency room capacity if it is needed; and designate primary-care clinics as”flu centers” that can give flu shots, information and outpatient care.

There is a possibility that the virus will mutate and return next season in a more virulent form. We will deal with that if it should happen. Until then, parents should keep things in perspective.

The Glen Cove School District in Long Island, for example, advocates a “no-touching” policy. That means no hugs, no handshakes, no high-fives among students — a stringent measure some critics argue is unrealistic.

Thanks to neurotic Long Island parents, we can recommend becoming a therapist as a lucrative career choice. If it were up to them the schools would be closed every time little Johnny had hard gas and pooed himself.

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