Swine flu affecting the young and expert suspects virus mutation

Health minister’s statement in parliament makes it clear that there is no mutation and there is no shortage of drugs

GN Bureau | February 25, 2015


#swine flu   #drug   #health   #deaths   #mutation   #virus   #nadda   #ahmed   #h1n1  


Even as India says that there is no mutation of swine flu virus, an expert has sought deeper investigation on mutation factor as more young Indians are falling prey to the disease.

Rafi Ahmed, Director of Emory Vaccine Centre in Atlanta, US, has called on the Indian researchers to immediately ascertain whether the present swine flu virus has mutated or not.

Dr Ahmed, who is also a member of the advisory committee of the Department of Biotechnology, said on Tuesday that the H1N1 virus was killing a significant number of young adults in India.

 “We saw this happening during Spanish Flu in 1918 when 50-100 million people died, and young people were a majority. There is an urgent need to sequence the Indian swine flu virus to find out whether there is a new strain or the old one. The mortality rate among the young people… is worrisome.”

Ahmed, a world-renowned scientist in viral pathogenesis, has also called for screening the samples for H3N2 and influenza type B besides H1N1 virus. He has also recommended that instead of the current monovalent vaccine which targets only H1N1, India should go for a trivalent vaccine to provide protection from H2N3 and type B as well.

However, union health minister J P Nadda made a statement in parliament on Tuesday and made it clear that the cases of Influenza A currently being reported are of H1N1 which is the same virus which took a huge toll during 2009 and there is “no mutation” in the virus.

“It has been confirmed, both by National Institute of Virology (under ICMR) and National Centre for Diseases Control, (Delhi) that the cases of Influenza A currently being reported are of H1N1.

“It is the same virus of 2009 and there is no mutation in the virus. Consequently, the drug Oseltamivir used during the time of pandemic 2009-2010 remains effective for treatment now also,” he said in the statement amid fears that the virus might have mutated.

He said in the current year, from January 1 till February 22, 2015, the number of cases reported by the states is 14673 while the number of deaths for the same period are 841.

Nadda said that his ministry has recommended vaccine only for the healthcare workers whose guidelines have been sent to the state governments.

“This decision has been taken after due consultations with experts. Vaccination of general public is not advocated as a public health strategy at this juncture,” he said.

He said that Oseltamivir cannot be sold over the counter and is made available only against prescription by a qualified doctor and sold through a chemist with license under Schedule X of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act while it also available through the public health system.

“We cannot afford a situation where due to irrational use of the drug, resistance is developed, rendering the drug incapable of fighting the virus.

Comments

 

Other News

A great literary feast (that could’ve been even more sumptuous)

A Case of Indian Marvels: Dazzling Stories from the Country’s Finest Writers Edited by David Davidar Aleph, 390 pages, Rs 999 Change is the only constant, and India has always been doing so. Yet, after independence, if there was a year when the p

Govt e-Marketplace sellers report more business

“My volume of business has increased ever since I registered on GeM (Government e-Marketplace) in 2017. Earlier, I could supply items only in the vicinity of my shop in Fort area and only within Mumbai. Now, I ship my products all over the country! I have tied up with India Post and three private cou

How the Hindi Newspaper Business Changed

The Journey of Hindi Language Journalism in India: From Raj to Swaraj and Beyond By Mrinal Pande Orient BlackSwan, 188 pages, Rs 1,195.00 In India, the English-language media is considered the ‘national media’, while the language press

More reforms in telecom sector in offing: Ashwini Vaishnaw

The telecom sector in the country will witness more reforms in the coming years, minister for communications, electronics & IT and railways Ashwini Vaishnaw has said. He also asserted that the industry too will have to do its bit and reciprocate by improving quality of service significantly.

Left-wing extremism: challenges and response

Left-wing extremism is in existence right from India’s independence, but it became prominent in 1967 under the name of Naxalism. The nomenclature of this movement has changed from time to time and place to place depending upon the leadership. Before 2014 more than 15 states were facing this problem w

Agri Min organises events ahead of International Year of Millets 2023

A series of pre-launch events and initiatives have been organised by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare on the MyGov platform in the run-up to the International Year of Millets 2023 to create awareness and a sense of participation in the country  around the ancient and forgotten golden

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter