H1N1 – Questions About Profit Incentive

WHO logoSwine flu has killed 12 799 people worldwide since it first emerged in Mexico in March 2009, the World Health Organisation said on the 8th January 2010.

The latest data posted by the United Nations health agency marked an increase of 579 deaths from the previous update published nine days ago.

The Americas continues to report the biggest number of casualties with at least 6,880 deaths while in Europe, at least 2,554 people have died from the A(H1N1) virus

Is it a False Pandemic Though?

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Novel Influenza H1N1 has Dramatic Risks for Pregnant Women

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Like previous epidemic and pandemic diseases, 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) may pose an increased risk of severe illness in pregnant women. To see if there were clinical experiences that matched this assumption a Californian investigation by their Department of Health reviewed demographic and clinical data reported from April 23 through August 11, 2009, for all H1N1-infected, reproductive-age women who were hospitalised or died. These included non-pregnant women, pregnant women, and postpartum women (those who had delivered ≤2 weeks previously).[1]

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H1N1 – 3 Key Questions

cover_natureQuestion 1 – How does it kill?

H1N1 is a unique virus and unlike seasonal flu which damages the upper airway cells, H1N1 Novel Influenza damages the terminal air sacs called alveoli. These are found in the lower part of lungs.

Secondly a co-infection with bacteria such as S.aureus or Streptococcus pneumoniae has presented in about one third of recorded deaths to date. The others appear at this stage to have succumbed to the virus alone. There does however, tend to be other underlying health problems such as diabetes, overweight, cardiovascular problems etc. The damage to the lung tissues involves the rupture of the alveoli allowing blood to fill the spaces usually reserved for gas exchanges.

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Pain Killers Adversely Inhibit Vaccination Benefits

622804The questions concerning the benefits Vs risks of vaccination in light of the recent global approach to H1N1 (novel influenza) vaccine recommendations has thrown this area of medicine under a very bright spotlight. Leaving aside the question ‘to vaccinate or not’ a recent article has raised a simple and useful question. If I take a non steroidal pain killer (NSAID’s) to reduce post vaccine discomfort, or are ingesting them for other reasons does it affect my vaccine promoted immune response?

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H1N1 (Swine Flu) What Does it Mean This Winter?

ECDC_logoThe European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control recently surveyed H1N1 (Swine Flu) epidemiological 2009 data for 28 countries, finding that 51% of all deaths have been among people aged 20-49 years, and only 12% were among people over 60 years of age.

This is striking, as it is a near-perfect reverse of normal flu trends, and mirrors what was seen, demographically, in 1918. While the  President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology have tried to factor in such trends, it is extremely difficult to know how influenza dynamics, illnesses and death rates may vary if transmission and illness is primarily among young adults.

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One Jab Appears to be Effective for H1N1 – Says Preliminary Report

v2_title_largeLeaving aside the questions concerning the validity of receiving the new H1N1(2009) vaccine in terms of need, and whether there may be as yet to be discovered risk and side effects that are greater in health impact that the actual virus. The questions about does it actually induce immune defenses against the H1N1 virus are now starting to be answered.

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Do Flu Vaccines Provide Real Protection?

vaccination imageEach year the respective medical authorities in the western world recommend the influenza vaccine and who should receive it. Since 1999 the age groups have been expanded to include greater numbers of people.  Whilst the UK has a more conservative approach to seasonal flu in terms of age, in the USA virtually the only groups not recommended to receive the vaccine are those aged between 19 and 40 without any ongoing health problem.

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Children and Anti-Virals. Are They Worth Combining?

untitled BMJ LogoComment: A paper out in the British Medical Journal on the 10th August 2009 [1] raises some interesting questions about the benefit of treating children under the age of 12 with neuraminidase inhibitors. This paper looked at 4 RCT’s involving 1766 children of whom 1243 had confirmed seasonal influenza A. Plus three RCT’s for the potential benefits of prophylaxis in 863 children.

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Antigenic and Genetic Characteristics of Swine-Origin 2009 A(H1N1) Influenza Viruses Circulating in Humans

covermedInvestigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 25 other public health agencies around the world sought to determine the genetic origin and the antigenic characteristics of the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza virus, commonly referred to as “swine flu.” Specifically, they used a genetic-similarity study to determine which influenza strains previously identified had combined to produce the new A(H1N1) flu virus.

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Lessons from the Vaccine-Autism Wars

The relationship between autism and vaccination remains a heated one. Quite polarised views about the rights and wrongs of vaccination are to be found amongst parents and scientists. Naturally disproving a theory can sometimes be harder than proving it and doubt remains in the minds of many advocates of the vaccination and autism model. The following paper provides an overview of the current arguments and whilst it will be uncomfortable reading for the dedicated proponents it raises some good questions.

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