Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What I wrote in 2009 on Swine-flu in another blog...

I was living in Hong Kong during SARS epidemy in 2003 and witnessed the entire sequence of events during the spread and mutation of the SARS virus and the entire epidemy. (SARS is actually a strain of Pneumonia and not Influenza - which is a more severe form of respiratory disease). At that time mostly Chinese got infected and not Indians - an Indian doctor working in Prince of Wales hospital in Sha Tin, Hong Kong confirmed the same. (This was the hospital from where the SARS spread out for the first time and many doctors got killed due to infection and also in some cases of side-effects of medication). SARS originated in a Pig /Swine Farm (factory farm).

In a similar note H1N1 or Swine Flu also spread out from a Swine Farm where the swines or pigs were injected with heavy doses of antibiotics and given unhealthy animal feeds (GM and/or grown with heavy pesticides, herbicides).

The main differences between the pandemic of SARS and H1N1 are
1. Travel warnings were issued by almost all countries to Hong Kong /China during SARS epidemic. - No such travel warning were issued against travel to Mexico /Southern US particularly by India due to the fear of US economic might. US is where the pandemic spread widely and over thousands of people are infected and hundreds of deaths have occurred already. (This particular epidemy spread from the pig farm of the US pork giant Smithfield Foods factory in Mexico)

2. WHO announced that Ribavirin (a medicine believed to help treat SARS infection) is not so much effective for preventing the infection but the pharmaceutical company owned the copyright of Ribavirin was relatively small (less than US $ 1 billion revenue). Similarly Tamiflu is also ineffective against prevention of the infection; However Governments all over the world bought and stock piled billions of doses of Tamiflu.

The company owned Tamiflu is multi-billion dollar giant 'Roche' and Roche made sure that they sold billions of tablets and made a lot of money - their share prices have been going up steadly ever since H5N1 (Bird Flu epidemic). Roche in the past have known to bend rules in many countries. Recently Philippines and UK governments have accused Roche of monopolizing Tamiflu production and creating an artificial scarcity. In India 1 strip (10 tablets) of Tamiflu casts around Rs. 1800 - Rs. 3000 in black market.

3. There are several warnings against administering Tamiflu to children between age group 1-14 due to the adverse reactions and severe Hepetitic & Neurological side effects.

4. In the case of SARS some people died even without getting admitted to hospitals. But in the case of Swine flu nobody is reported to be dead outside the hospital. This made me think why many people die only in hospitals ? Was it due to the severity of doses and the side effects?? or due to the disease ? - there seem to be not much public information available from credible sources in terms of the virus mutation, how it progresses inside a human body and how it affects various organs and at what stage. Can death be prevented at an advanced stage if so at what stage and what type treatment to be given, etc.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control in US), Tamiflu may not be able to treat Flu type A strains. Swine-flu strains include Type A as well as Type C, so administering Tamiflu for H1N1 Type A is ineffective. Information on which type of Swine-flu is prevalent and where each type is prevalent, such data are not being published regularly by Health departments.

Note there are a lot of preventive methods as well as alternative health-care methods (including the one published by Times of India recently) are available for Swine-flu

No comments: