September 22, 2009

Developing Countries Need More Swine Flu Vaccines: WHO

The head of the World Health Organization announced on Monday that the swine flu has not transformed into a more hazardous disease.

The number of swine flu cases is anticipated to grow as winter approaches, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan stated at the organization's yearly meeting in Hong Kong.

"The virus can mutate any time. But from April to now, we can see from the data given to us by laboratories worldwide that the virus is still very similar (to the previous state)," Chan said to reporters.

She noted that the vaccines created thus far are successful, but that the largest problem in fighting the virus is making sure enough vaccines are sent to the world's poorest countries.

Her statement was made after the WHO announced last week that the yearly manufacture of swine flu vaccines will fall short of their goal. For now there is "a limited supply" of the vaccines, but the more will be made in the first part of 2010, Chan noted.

"Results of early clinical trials suggest that a single dose of pandemic vaccine will be sufficient. If confirmed, these findings will literally double the amount of vaccine available," Chan said.

"Here's the big question: Will this result in more equitable distribution of vaccines? Let me assure you: I am pursuing this opportunity from several angles."

The WHO is cooperating with the UN on collecting funds to aid in buying vaccines for countries that cannot buy them.

The A(H1N1) death toll has hit 3,486, with South America having the largest amount, stated the new WHO figures.

Developing countries cannot create enough of the vaccine for the virus and their habitants are more prone to infection due to poverty and the absence of healthcare.


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