The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday recommended that the H1N1 (swine flu) strain be added to next year’s seasonal flu vaccine, “putting an end to separate shots deployed against the pandemic,” Bloomberg reports. The FDA committee voted unanimously to make the H1N1 strain one of the three strains included in the shot, according to the news service. “The panelâ€™s recommendations are routinely adopted and used to guide vaccine manufacturers,” Bloomberg writes (Randall, 2/22).
The WHO is recommending the H1N1 (swine flu) virus be added to the regular flu vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere’s 2010-2011 regular flu season, the Associated Press reports (2/18).
The WHO will convene a meeting of its emergency committee later this month to assess whether H1N1 (swine flu) has peaked, Keiji Fukuda, the special adviser to the WHO’s director general for pandemic influenza said Thursday, Bloomberg reports. “While the flu continues to spread in parts of the world, notably northern Africa, eastern Europe and eastern Asia, infection activity is declining, [Fukuda] said,” according to Bloomberg (Serafino, 2/11).
As the number of new H1N1 (swine flu) infections worldwide drops, U.S. health officials on Friday cautioned the virus continues to circulate and can still be deadly, Reuters reports. According to the WHO, H1N1 remains the dominant strain worldwide, but there are reports of the recent emergence of the seasonal flu in Africa and China, according to the news agency.
The New York Times examines the WHO’s role as “clearinghouse” for getting H1N1 (swine flu) vaccines to lower income nations. Though H1N1 has died down in North America and many wealthier nations “are trying to get rid of their [vaccine] surpluses,” the virus continues to circulate in regions of North Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, according to the newspaper.
The Canadian government on Thursday announced the country would donate five million doses of H1N1 vaccines to the WHO from the country’s current surplus, the Canadian Press reports (Branswell, 1/28). “[T]he donation will help the Geneva-based international body in its efforts to redistribute the vaccine to developing countries that couldn’t afford their own supplies,” the Globe and Mail reports (Alphonso, 1/28).
During the WHO’s recent executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan reflected on public health gains over the past decade and the challenges that lie ahead, Nigeria’s Guardian reports. Chan commended the international community’s response to H1N1 and global efforts to reduce child mortality, fight malaria and tuberculosis.
WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl on Monday rejected accusations that the organization miscategorized H1N1 (swine flu) as a pandemic, calling such accusations “irresponsible,” the Associated Press/Washington Post reports. “WHO also dismissed claims it colluded with drug companies to bring economic benefit to the industry by playing up the danger of the new H1N1 [swine flu] influenza strain,” the news service writes.
Long-Term Rebuilding Strategy ‘Vital’ To Haiti An Economist editorial examines the relief and recovery efforts in Haiti and theÂ “vital” importance of planning for rebuilding the country “before the worldâ€™s generosity turns to cynicism. Fortunately there is a blueprint, drawn up by Haitiâ€™s government and presented to donors last year. It…
Though H1N1 (swine flu) activity worldwide has slowed, the potential of a new wave of infections in the northern hemisphere in late winter or early spring remains viable, Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert, said Monday at the start of the WHO’s weeklong Executive Board meeting, Reuters reports. The H1N1 pandemic “initially sparked widespread concern about antiviral and vaccine supplies, especially in developing countries, but many nations have cut back their vaccine orders recently because the pandemic has not turned out as deadly as originally feared,” the news service writes (Nebehay, 1/18).