Sunday, December 6, 2009


After its initial virulence Swine Flu seems to be lying low as reflected by few incidences being reported across the world. But there is a genuine fear that during the traditional flu season, H1N1 virus may erupt again with more vigor and devastation. Present attempts to produce vaccines on a massive scale to prevent large scale incidence of viral infection are bearing fruit and in almost all countries vaccination programs are being planned on a large scale. Such meticulous planning can still go awry, if the virus, for which specific vaccine has been developed, starts mutating into a new strain.

"The concern is that the flu virus, which mutates easily, could pick up more virulent characteristics by swapping genes with other flu viruses present in swine or other animals. That could result in a novel pathogen that spreads easily — as H1N1 already does — and is deadlier still. H1N1 originally was named the swine flu because six of its eight genes are similar to genes in existing swine flu viruses known to be transmissible from pigs to people. However, the strain was seen in people long before it surfaced in pigs. So far, authorities have reported no changes in the genetic makeup of the virus since it emerged from North America last spring. There's also been no evidence that animals infected with H1N1 are passing it to humans. To date, transmission appears to be a one-way street from people to their pets or livestock. "These isolated events have had no impact on the dynamics of the pandemic, which is spreading readily via human-to-human transmission," according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Unlike bacteria, the antibiotics have no impact on virus and limited chemical remedies presently available do not guarantee hundred percent cure. H1N1 virus has shown how irrelevant can be the national boundaries with international travels becoming an integrated part of the day to day lives of people and how easily the virus can spread through proximity and contact amongst traveling public. With massive expansion of tourism, domestic as well as international, it is impossible to prevent cross infection and preventive vaccination is the only option for the mankind to avoid mass extinction.


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