Swine flu vaccine effective despite mutations: experts

Nov 21, 2009

Swine flu vaccines are still effective despite reported cases of mutations in the A(H1N1) virus, health experts in Europe and North America said Saturday.

Bruno Lina, director of the national flu monitoring centre for southern France, said the mutation of the virus -- blamed for around 6,750 deaths so far worldwide -- came as no surprise.

"It was expected, it was announced, and it will happen again," Lina told AFP, adding: "That does not change anything with regard to treatment and vaccines."

In the United States, Anne Schuchat of the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) said the mutation would have no impact on the effectiveness of the vaccine or the anti-virals.

The experts' comments came a day after the World Health Organization announced that a mutation had been found in swine samples taken following the first two deaths from the pandemic in Norway.

However, the Geneva-based UN agency stressed that the mutation did not appear to cause a more contagious or more dangerous form of A(H1N1).

It also revealed that a similar mutation had been observed in Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Ukraine and the United States as early as April.

The WHO underlined that there was no evidence of more infections or more deaths as a result, while antivirals used to treat severe flu -- () and () -- are effective on the mutated virus.

"Studies show that currently available pandemic vaccines confer protection," it added, as mass vaccine campaigns slowly gain ground in the northern hemisphere.

That view was echoed opn Saturday by France's health chief, Didier Houssin, who said in a radio interview that the ability of the vaccine to induce an immune reaction is not affected by the mutation, "so the vaccines remain effective".

He added that in anticipation of a mutation, "a certain number of our vaccines are vaccines with an additive," which expands the range of effectiveness in being able to act against a slightly modified virus.

Scientists are nevertheless concerned that mutations in flu viruses could cause a more virulent and deadly pandemic flu.

In the cases observed in Norway, the mutation could potentially allow the virus to latch onto the pulmonary cells -- that is, deep inside the lungs, which is generally considered a more dangerous form.

"At the moment we are purely at a descriptive stage," Lina said.#

"It will have to be verified if these viruses have acquired a particular characteristic which could potentially make them more likely and more easily to take a pulmonary form."

On Friday, data showed that around 6,750 people had died from swine flu since the virus was first uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Nigeria confirms Liberian man died of Ebola in Lagos (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mutation found in swine flu virus: WHO

Nov 20, 2009

The World Health Organisation said Friday that a mutation had been found in samples of the swine flu virus taken following the first two deaths from the pandemic in Norway.

Bird flu virus mutations found in Turkey

Jan 23, 2006

Mutations of the bird flu virus have reportedly been found in a flu patient in Turkey but it's not yet known if the mutated virus might cause a human pandemic.

WHO meets on production of swine flu vaccine

May 14, 2009

(AP) -- As swine flu cases hit 6,500 worldwide, World Health Organization officials were meeting with vaccine manufacturers and other experts in Geneva on Thursday to discuss making a vaccine to fight the virus.

Recommended for you

Chicken off McDonald's HK menu after food scandal

14 hours ago

(AP)—McDonald's restaurants in Hong Kong have taken chicken nuggets and chicken filet burgers off the menu after a mainland Chinese supplier was accused of selling expired meat.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

brant
not rated yet Nov 21, 2009
"That view was echoed opn Saturday by France's health chief, Didier Houssin, who said in a radio interview that the ability of the vaccine to induce an immune reaction is not affected by the mutation, "so the vaccines remain effective"."

Thats baloney because the immune reaction is "boosted" by adjuvants like squalene.
Its not the body reacting to the virus!!!

Thats why they are dangerous. They cause the body to overreact and form mini clots in the capillaries from too many white blood cells..

Vaccines are dangerous unless they are clean from mercury, squalene, dead tissue, chemicals etc. The drug companies dont spend the time to make a good vaccine.