Future of H1N1 Flu
By Jason Hines on June 15, 2009
H1N1 flu was just determined to be a pandemic – which is scary enough – but you obviously wonder what’s next. H1N1 flu has impacted pretty much all of the world as can be seen in this aggregate visualization.
Many aspects to explore geographically here – but perhaps it’s particularly interesting to explore Asia – where many infectious diseases originate, mutate, and spread. Certainly H1N1 flu seems to be all over Asia, and perhaps we’re in for some less nice surprises here.
Some comments are as dramatic as “A third of the world’s population could be infected by swine flu in the next year“, said by Keiji Fukuda, acting assistant director-general for the World Health Organisation.
Pharmaceutical companies as can be imagined are obviously all over trying to help out here (and profit from the opportunity). GlaxoSmithKline PLC, said it could start large-scale production by July of a vaccine but large quantities would not be available for several months. Glaxo is opening their first primary vaccine manufacturing facility in Asia, in Singapore, which is expected to manufacture its first commercial lots in 2011.
Baxter said it is now in “full scale” production of a vaccine for the virus and anticipates the first commercially available dosages to be available in early July. Swiss drugs company Novartis will not give free vaccines against H1N1 flu to poor countries, though it will consider discounts.
Meanwhile the Mexican National Polytechnic Institute will sign an agreement in July with the Beijing-based China Medical University to cooperate in medicinal plants research as part of the efforts to contain the A/H1N1 flu outbreak.
H1N1 flu is having practical implications – Carnival Cruise Lines will be staying away from Mexican ports of call through mid-June because of the swine flu, and Jetstar, QANTAS’ low-cost offshoot, will slash its flights by a third between Australia and Japan next month.
CITY experts have warned that a second and third wave of swine flu could spread this autumn and next spring. A potential outbreak of the H1N1 virus next spring could coincide with the opening of World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.
Whereas in the Philippines the Health Secretary said that postponing the opening of classes next month because of the influenza A(H1N1) virus is very remote, and likewise marches to celebrate the hand-over of Hong Kong July 1st are unlikely to be cancelled.
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