At least 1 million Americans have now contracted H1N1 influenza, according to mathematical models prepared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new H1N1 influenza virus that has triggered a global pandemic is infecting people in the United States well beyond the normal period for influenza season. Statistics indicate the virus is continuing to spread even though the normal flu season is over and an increasing proportion of victims are being hospitalized. Nearly 28,000 laboratory-confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, also known as swine flu, have been reported to the CDC, almost half of the more than 56,000 cases globally reported to the World Health Organization. In contrast between 15 and 60 million Americans are infected by the influenza virus during flu season.
It has been recently reported that parents who are opposed to vaccinating their children are taking part in "swine flu parties" and health officials are now urgently warning against them. The basic premise of a swine flu party is to find one child who has the virus, and then bring other healthy children in close proximity of the infected child in the hopes of making the children "immune" to swine flu, and preventing a more serious strain of the illness. But the idea of exposing your child deliberately to the virus in an effort to boost immunity is a dangerous and risky practice.
Roche Holding AG said it will produce, store and sell stockpiles of its Tamiflu antiviral medicine at a reduced price for use by developing countries during a flu pandemic. The Tamiflu Reserves Program is aimed at improving access to the treatment in developing countries and takes effect immediately, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. The program would also be used in the case of a new influenza strain that has pandemic potential. The Swiss drug-maker will charge as little as 2 euros ($2.81) for a 30 milligram-dose package of 10 pills and as much as 6 euros for each 75 milligram-dose package. The price will depend on the period of storage requested, the company said. Until now, prices have ranged from 4.80 euros for the lowest dose to 12 euros for the highest in such countries.
Vical Inc (VICL.O) said its vaccine against the H1N1 strain of influenza virus showed positive immune response in preclinical studies. The vaccine candidate produced robust immune responses well above the accepted protection threshold in all the vaccinated mice and rabbits after a standard two-dose vaccine regimen, Vical said.
Pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis has begun large-scale production of a vaccine against the H1N1 virus. The company has the capacity to make 270 million doses of vaccine per year at its three plants, however the H1N1 vaccine has to be tested before it can be used.
There is currently a lot of competition between websites that sell Tamiflu, hopefully this competition should help drive down the price of Tamiflu so do some comparison shopping if you are considering buying Tamiflu online. Note that there is no such thing as a generic Tamiflu, if you see an advertisement for generic Tamiflu it is most likely a counterfeit product that contains no active ingredients. The FDA and the FTC are alerting the public to be wary of websites and other promotions for products that claim to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.Officials are reminding residents that the best way to be protected from getting H1N1 or any influenza is to practice social distancing: stay home when ill, cover coughs or cough into your elbow, and frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water or use alcohol based hand sanitizers. This Fourth of July weekend, many people will be going to gatherings with family and friends or attending pubic events so health officials want to make sure residents take precautions to prevent the spread of the flu.
It should be stressed that in most cases a bout of swine flu seems to produce only mild illness - fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing. In only a very small number of cases the symptoms have been more serious, requiring admission to hospital.