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WHO declares first full-scale pandemic in 41 years

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It's official. The World Health Organization declared a Phase 6 pandemic alert this morning--the first such warning since 1968. In raising the pandemic alert to its highest level, the WHO warned all its 194 member nations to prepare for the arrival of a new strain of H1N1.

But WHO's health experts spent a considerable amount of time and effort reassuring the globe that this is not the deadly viral outbreak that has worried governments for generations. And vaccine developers are already well on the way to developing new jabs that guard against the new flu.

"It's 24 hours a day," Dr. Giovanni Della Cioppa, head of Global Clinical Research & Development for Novartis Vaccines, tells FierceVaccines. "We are working to get this vaccine to the public as quickly as possible." 

WHO has been studying a Phase 6 alert for weeks as evidence grows that the swine flu virus has taken hold in countries around the world. In Australia, there have been 1,000 confirmed cases, offering considerable data that the virus has extended outside of North America.

"Phase 6, if we call a phase 6, doesn't mean anything concerning severity, it is concerning geographic spread... Pandemic means global, but it doesn't have any connotation of severity or mildness," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters.

- read the story from the Washington Post
- read the report from ABC News
- read the report from Reuters

ALSO: Canada has created a network of 80 scientists from the country's research and health institutions to coordinate their work on a new vaccine for swine flu. Report

Related Articles:
Bloomberg: WHO readies phase 6 pandemic alert
Swine flu vaccine business ramps up
Vax makers in global race to create swine flu jab

More stories about World Health Organization   Vaccine   swine flu   pandemic flu   H1N1  

Comments

I'm concerned that WHO does not have a warning system for epidemic/pandemic severity, as measured by mortality or something similar. The present system measures geographic spread (but not severity) and gives WHO the public recognition that comes with "Phase 6 warning", but fails to address the public's concerns about lethality of outbreaks. With 30,000 deaths occuring yearly in the US due to the seasonal ("regular") flu, why does WHO not warn us about this as well?

WHO did a study with Dr Carr in Belize using a "bionic" particle that is used in Bionaid, and were 100% successful in eliminating HIV/AIDS. WHO knows about this scientific breakthrough that is also being used by NASA on the ISS. So why does WHO persist on using vaccines at all? There has been a standing reward of $1 million to prove drugs and vaccines are more effective than Bionaid and ZeoHeal for almost a year all over the internet - its paralyzed drug/vaccine proponents who have refused to meet the challenge.

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