World was 'lucky' with swine flu: WHO chief

May 17, 2010

World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan said Monday that the world had been "lucky" with the swine flu pandemic after the virus failed to mutate to a more deadly form.

Chan told representatives of the WHO's 193 member states that "good news" in public health terms was normally driven by political commitment, resources and the ability to deliver care.

"Sometimes, though, we are just plain lucky. This has been the case with the H1N1 ," she said at the opening of the WHO's annual assembly.

"The virus did not mutate to a more lethal form," while the vaccine worked and it showed little resistance to anti-viral drugs, she added.

Chan acknowledged that "few health systems were overwhelmed and the effects were usually short-lived," with less disruption to everyday lives or travel than feared.

"Had things gone wrong in any of these areas, we would have a very different agenda before us today," she added.

Some health experts and politicians have criticised the WHO-led global effort against 2009 H1N1 flu after the new virus was uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009, claiming there was an over-reaction.

Swine flu was declared a pandemic as it rapidly spread around the world, prompting massive spending on specially developed but largely unused and emergency precautions.

has left 18,030 people dead since the virus was uncovered, according to latest WHO data.

A year ago, the WHO chief was warning about the threat of a growth in severe cases of the "subtle, sneaky" new swine , especially in developing nations, just weeks before she followed scientific advice and declared a pandemic.

An independent committee of experts set up by the WHO is investigating the international response to the swine flu pandemic. It is due to deliver its findings by the beginning of next year.

Chan reiterated on Tuesday that she welcomed the review and its examination of criticisms that have been levelled at the WHO.

"We want to know what went wrong and, ideally, why. We want to know what can be done better and, ideally, how," she added.

The WHO assembly runs until Friday, and is due to examine an array of global health issues.

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User comments : 4

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kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) May 17, 2010
Bullshit!
H1N1A is less dangerous than normal flu.
The only danger of H1N1 was inflammation due to hyper-response of the immune system. And of course babies/elders with low immunity bodies are more vulnerable, even still the virus infected people around age of 20 more than they did to others.
I can safely state that the whole world has come in touch with H1N1, and guess what a lot of people haven't taken any vaccine, the body count is A LOT lower than that of normal flu!
Also it has appeared that H1N1 has become part of seasonal flu.
IF H1N1 would have had mutated, we would probably have been more resistant to it as the structure would have looked more like other flu.
STOP this fear mongering so you have an excuse to test your vaccines!
ironjustice
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2010
The WHO is a joke. Chan is a joke. Chan should step down and go practice homeopathy somewhere and learn about medicine as opposed to being a mouthpiece for others. She is a disgrace and should be removed because free speech does not grant her the right to yell fire in a crowded theatre. Imho ..
JayK
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2010
It appears your honest opinion is full of whaaarblegharble, ironjustice.

Chan is pretty well respected in the medical communities and the WHO response was pretty on the mark for a communicable disease like nH1N1. Many of the world's respiratory centers were overwhelmed for a period of time, and had the seasonal flu been worse this year, on top of the outbreak of nH1N1, the death toll could have been a lot worse. She's right, we were just lucky, this time.
deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) May 18, 2010
Chan is just a pawn of the vaccine mfgrs, i.e the drug companies. They are the ones who fanned the flames of hysteria to turn a big profit. And of course the MSM was sucked-in hook, line, and sinker because most of those journalists are immature, lazy, and unable to think logically based on the evidence.

The WHO IS a joke. It is used as a front and manipulated by the drug companies (PhRMA) to do one thing and one thing only and that is to make them ever more money at our expense.