GlaxoSmithKline Begins Testing H1N1 Vaccine; Opinion Piece Addresses U.S. Role In Helping Developing Countries Procure Vaccine

“GlaxoSmithKline has started testing its pandemic H1N1 swine flu vaccine in humans, and expects to start giving the results to government agencies next month, the drugmaker said on Friday,” Reuters reports. The company “plans to conduct 16 different trials of the vaccine and to test 9,000 people in total across Europe, Canada and the United States,” according to the news service (Deighton, 8/14).

A related Baltimore Sun opinion piece says that as the U.S. plans for an H1N1 vaccine, one point that “is not being addressed … is whether we ought to aim to do more,” according to Ruth Karron and Ruth Faden. The question remains: “Should we use available technologies to provide not only enough vaccine for the U.S. but also to allow for excess capacity to assist other countries who have no capacity to procure or produce the vaccine on their own?” Highlighting the need for the availability for the H1N1 vaccine in low-resource settings, the authors say, “If we use the available stocks of vaccine and adjuvant wisely, we may also be able to reach beyond our borders and afford some protection to the world’s most vulnerable populations. Global needs, as well as our own, should inform our decisions as we plan the nation’s H1N1 vaccine strategy,” they conclude (Karron/Faden, 8/17).

Heightened Public Reaction To H1N1 In India Continues

The Associated Press examines reaction to the spread of H1N1 flu in India as the country deals with “dueling outbreaks of swine flu and swine flu panic.” In India, “the flu has garnered far more attention than India’s raft of other health problems, including tuberculosis, which kills nearly 1,000 Indians every day, according to World Health Organization figures,” the news service reports. In New Delhi, “where no deaths have been reported, people have begun wearing surgical masks in the street. In Lucknow, parents demanded their children be tested,” leading over 1,000 people to line up at local hospitals for H1N1 testing, the AP reports (Nessman, 8/14). 

The country “has had just over 1,000 confirmed cases of swine flu so far – that’s roughly one case per every million people in the nation,” according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Health Blog” (Goldstein, 8/14).

CDC Reports Cases of Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1 In Immunocompromised Patients

The CDC reported Friday that two cases of drug-resistant H1N1 were discovered in two leukemia patients in Seattle, the Seattle Times/Boston Herald reports. “These [cases] are rare, isolated types of phenomena,” Jeff Duchin, chief of communicable-disease control for Public Health Seattle & King County, said. “But the cases underscore the need for judicious use of anti-viral drugs to ensure resistant strains do not become more common, he said,” the newspaper writes (Doughton, 8/16).

New York Times Examines Vulnerability Of Aborigines To H1N1

The New York Times examines how Australia’s Aborigines are more vulnerable to H1N1, after the report last week that Amazonian Indians living in Peru tested positive for H1N1. “Experts say the danger [to aboriginal people] is more likely related to malnutrition, chronic disease and geographic isolation than to genetic differences. Australian Aborigines, for example, are not closely related to Amazonian Indians, but they share the ills of rural poverty,” the newspaper states. The article explores recent efforts to contain H1N1 in Aboriginal populations of Australia and the language and cultural barriers that complicate such attempts (Foley/McNeil, 8/15).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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