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Posts Tagged ‘viral outbreak’
June 11, 2009 â€” 9:04am ET | By John Carroll, FierceVaccines
It’s official. TheÂ World Health OrganizationÂ declared aÂ Phase 6 pandemic alert this morning–the first such warningÂ 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.
ButÂ WHO’s health expertsÂ spent a considerable amount of time and effort reassuring the globe that this is not the deadly viral outbreak that hasÂ worried governments for generations. And vaccine developers are already well on the way to developing newÂ 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.”Â
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.