Sunday, December 20, 2009

India: No major change in A(H1NI) virus: doctors

Sunday, Dec 20, 2009

PRECAUTION: The State Health Department held a meeting on Saturday to strategise for the second outbreak of swine flu.

Bangalore: Even as the World Health Organisation (WHO) is studying a mutation of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus recently detected in several countries and leading to fears of a more virulent second outbreak, scientists studying the virus in Bangalore say so far they have not detected any major mutation.

The influenza virus is known to mutate. But there are no mutations so far to cause a more severe form of the A(H1N1) flu. The clinical severity of the mutation is yet to be analysed,” said Reeta Mani, Associate Professor at the Department of Neurovirology, NIMHANS.

Speaking at the Continuing Medical Education (CME) conference on Pulmonary Pathology organised by Command Hospital Air Force here on Saturday, Dr. Mani said NIMHANS had not yet started the virus isolation. A panel discussion that followed the conference discussed all aspects of the virus and measures to check its spread.

In his presentation, Wing Commander Ajay Handa, also Professor and Classified Specialist (Medicine) at Command Hospital, said although resistance to Tamiflu is very rare, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had authorised the use of intravenous Peramivir, a new drug, under an Emergency Use Authorisation. Wing Commander Vanmalini Tewari, Professor and Classified Specialist (Pathology) at the hospital, spoke on the laboratory diagnosis of A(H1N1) infection. “Of the 208 samples that have been tested at our laboratory, 36 tested positive.”

Meanwhile, the swine flu death toll touched 130 with four deaths reported in the last one week. Five persons tested positive on Saturday.

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