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'Tamilflu', The Only Vaccine Available For The Treatment Of Swineflu

By Staff

By now, one must have got well acquainted with the epidemic, swine flu, which is caused by the strain of influenza virus found in pigs. The same is called swine influenza virus (S.I.V.). Since the time this has infused into the U.S., there has been a huge cloud of apprehension among people. Schools and Colleges are shuttered down. Few of the countries have already called off the flights moving to and fro Mexico, the epicentre of the epidemic; Cuba being the first. Soon, Israel, too, declared that the epidemic has infused into their territory as well, which is now among the seven other countries with this deadly epidemic.

Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) has determined that this swine influenza A (H1N1) virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. The bad news is due to a global demand, coming out with a vaccine that can curb the situation will be a tough job, says the officials. According to C.D.C. website, just like any other flu viruses, A (H1N1) viruses, too, spread from person to person through coughing and sneezing of people with influenza.

However, Oseltamivir, which is an antiviral drug, can be used as precaution. This, whatsoever, cannot be used for the treating or curing purposes. But the same, if used on time, can be used in the porphylaxis of both Influenzavirus A and Influenzavirus B. Oseltamivir, which was initially developed by U.S.-based Gilead Science is currently marketed by Hoffmann-La Roche (Roche) under the trade name Tamilflu. Tamilflu works just like any other vaccine does.

The problem, so far, with A (H1N1) viruses are, the body immune system is unable to produce the antibodies that can fight this virus. Hence, once Tamilflu is injected, it helps to recognise the A (H1N1) viruses apparently helping the immune system to produce the required antibody that can fight back the swine influenza virus.

The memory of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that resulted the death of almost 30 million people seems to be still fresh, which is why which is why the authorities and the concern officials have pulled up their socks right from the point, go. When asked, Keiji Fukuda, WHO acting assistant director-general, says: "I think we have to be mindful and respectful of the fact that influenza moves in ways we cannot predict."

Story first published: Thursday, April 30, 2009, 16:26 [IST]
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