H1N1 FLU BREAKING NEWS: No vaccine decision, cases near 6,500, low vaccine demand, flu research

May 14, 2009

WHO: No decision yet on H1N1 vaccine production
Experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) today made no decision on recommending mass production of a vaccine for the novel H1N1 virus, and how soon such a recommendation might come is uncertain, said Dr. Keiji Fukuda of the WHO. "No big decision, no pronouncements," he told reporters. Calling the issue "enormously complicated," he said a series of additional meetings will be needed. "It's not possible to say a decision will be made by this [a specific] date," he said.
[May 14 WHO briefing audio file]

Global novel influenza total tops 6,000
The global number of novel H1N1 influenza cases reached 6,497 in 33 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported today. The count includes 2,446 cases and 60 deaths in Mexico, 3,352 cases and 3 deaths in the United States as of yesterday, and 8 cases and 1 death in Costa Rica. Other countries with more than a dozen cases include Spain (100), the United Kingdom (71), Panama (29), and France (14).
[WHO update 28]

US novel flu cases pass 4,000
Today the US tally of confirmed H1N1 cases grew to 4,298, of which 3 were fatal, in 47 states, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. North Dakota and Arkansas, with one case each, were added to the list of affected states today.
[Current CDC numbers]

WHO shortens upcoming World Health Assembly
The WHO today announced a shortened schedule for the upcoming World Health Assembly. The WHO had been considering the move to allow more time for health ministers to address H1N1 issues in their own countries. The WHA starting date is still May 18, but the meeting will end on May 22 instead of May 27. The agenda includes pandemic preparedness, influenza virus sharing, the International Health Regulations, and WHO budgets and administration.
[May 14 WHO statement]

Poll finds low demand for potential new flu vaccine
A Zogby/University of Texas poll found that only 30% of respondents would get a vaccine for the novel H1N1 outbreak if one was available. Only 18% saw the outbreak as a severe threat, and 96% said they have not curbed their visits to restaurants or malls. Forty percent were confident in the government's ability to manage the outbreak. Only 36% of respondents said they received a flu immunization for the 2008-09 season. The online poll surveyed 1,442 adults between May 4 and 6.
[May 13 Zogby press release]

NIH renews support for Baylor flu vaccine research
The Baylor Institute for Immunology Research recently announced that the National Institutes of Health renewed its grant, worth $14 million over the next 5 years, to design new influenza vaccines. The work involves molecules that target the immune system's dendritic cells. The institute applied for a grant supplement to make a vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus.
[May 11 Baylor press release]

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