WHO Fears Genes Exchange Between H1N1 and H5N1 Avian Flu

Source : https://dofollownet.com

As the Influenza A/H1N1 virus continue to spread worldwide at a fast pace, WHO experts express concerns about possible genetical interactions with other Influenza virus, particularly with the deadly H5N1 (Avian Flu).

Health Ministers from 193 countries of the World Health Organization are meeting in Geneva (Switzerland) to draw up plans to fight the epidemic.

"We have reasons to fear an interaction of the virus A (H1N1) with others, including the H5N1, the avian flu, with has a high mortality rate among birds, but little effect in humans. This interaction would result in a much more dangerous influenza A" declared today Margaret Chan, the director of the WHO.

Margaret Chan said that for now, the alert level is still at phase 5, meaning that the pandemic is "imminent." WHO raised the alert level to Phase 4 and shortly after to 5 near the beginning of the health crisis in late April, but insists that to declare phase 6, "a sustained virus transmission between people in a region other than North America has to be established."

Some of the cases in Japan or Europe among people who had not traveled to Mexico or United States suggest that this may have already happened.

WHO estimates to 8829 the number of people infected with influenza A in 40 countries. This figure represents an increase of 349 cases on Sunday, and yesterday the death toll has risen to 74, mostly in Mexico. United States, with 4714 confirmed cases, and Mexico, with 3103, are the two main sources of the outbreak. Canada with 496 confirmed cases is the third most affected country, followed by Japan (with 125 cases confirmed by WHO, 135 according to the Japanese authorities) and Spain with 103 cases.

The WHO annual assembly, which was initially scheduled until the 27 of May, will end on Friday 22 to allow health ministers to go back to their countries earlier.

Developping countries, led by Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nigeria and Brazil, are asking for a "fair access to to treatments and vaccines", but no agreement has been reached yet.

Simulations based on previous epidemics data (SARS) have proved that the fair use model (sending massive quantities of antiviral drugs where they are the most needed) is much more effective than the egoistic model to fight a pandemic, but it is not sure that this argument alone will convince the industrials , who expect benefits from their investments in research and production.

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