Swine Flu virus outbreak milder than previously believed
Washington, May 2 (ANI): Health officials in the US have said that the outbreak of the Swine Flu virus is milder than previously believed.
According to a report by Fox News, New York City officials said that the swine flu still has not spread beyond a few schools, and in Mexico, the suspected origin of the outbreak, very few relatives of flu victims seem to have caught the virus.
As further evidence that this strain of the H1N1 influenza virus is looking a little less ominous, a US health official says it lacks the genes that made the 1918 pandemic strain so deadly.
Also, a flu expert in New York says there's no reason to believe the new virus is a more serious strain than seasonal flu.
US President Barrack Obama said that the flu may have run its course "like ordinary flus," however, the government is preparing for worst-case scenarios, such as the virus' potential reappearance this fall in more sinister form.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said that the strain of flu is "a very unusual" four-way combination of human genes and genes from swine viruses found in North America, Asia and Europe.
CDC flu chief Dr. Nancy Cox said that the good news is "we do not see the markers for virulence that were seen in the 1918 virus."
Still, US authorities are pledging to eventually produce enough swine flu vaccine for everyone, but the shots won't begin until fall, at the earliest.
Scientists are racing to prepare the key ingredient to make a vaccine against the never-before-seen flu strain - if it's ultimately needed.
But, it will take several months before the first pilot lots begin required human testing to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective.
"We think 600 million doses is achievable in a six-month time frame" from that fall start, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Craig Vanderwagen said.
"I don't want anybody to have false expectations. The science is challenging here," said Vanderwagen. "It's a question of can we get the science worked on the specifics of this vaccine," he added.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 141 cases of swine flu in 19 states of the US.
Some 430 of the nation's 130,000 public and private schools have closed, while high school, college and professional sporting events have been called off nationwide due to increasing fears. (ANI)