The world is now at the start of the 2009 influenza pandemic says the WHO. The good news – a pharmaceutical company says it's ready with a vaccine.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis says it has successfully produced a first batch of swine flu vaccine, weeks ahead of expectations.
The company says it will be looking at clinical trials. More than 30 governments have requested vaccine supplies. The World Health Organisation said drug-makers would likely have vaccines approved and ready for sale after September.
The pharma company's announcement comes a day after the WHO ramped up the swine flu outbreak to a full-blown pandemic and said that its spread across the world was inevitable
WHO Director Communicable diseases, SEARO Dr J P Narain said, “This strain of virus affects younger population”.
In the US, that’s been badly hit by the swine flu virus with over 13 thousand cases, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that the Phase 6 designation does not mean the strain itself is stronger.
WHO Spokesperson for Western Pacific Region Peter Cordingley said, "The dilemma is we want countries to understand that this is not a very serious, severe pandemic. The symptoms in most cases are not bad and in some cases people will not even know they have the virus in their body. But that can lead to complacency that: 'oh, it's just seasonal flu,' right? On the other hand, we don't want governments to overreact and to respond in ways that are not appropriate for the level of risk they have on their hands at that time."
The final trigger for that WHO announcement was reportedly a rapid escalation in cases in Australia and Chile.
The H1N1 flu virus has spread through the world starting with Mexico almost 2 months ago, then Canada and the US, also badly hit. Europe was next, and now Asia, Australia and South America. Thirty thousand cases across 74 countries.