`Swine flu virus has not mutated into more serious disease`

Updated: Sep 21, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

Hong Kong: The head of the World Health
Organisation said on Monday that the swine flu virus had
apparently not yet mutated into a more serious disease and
that the development of vaccines was proceeding on track.

The vaccines for (A)H1N1 influenza produced so far have
been very effective, WHO director-general Margaret Chan said
at the opening ceremony for the organisation`s annual Western
Pacific meeting.

"The virus can mutate any time. But from April to now, we
can see from the data given to us by laboratories worldwide
that the virus is still very similar (to the previous state),"
Chan told reporters.

Ideally, USD 3 billion doses of vaccines could be
produced worldwide annually, she added, noting that China had
already begun to vaccinate people.

She also said the Hong Kong government could relax its
measures against a swine flu outbreak "step-by-step", advising
them in the long-run to focus resources on saving patients and
reducing the number of serious cases.

Chan said that only high-risk patients such as the
elderly, the obese and those with underlying illnesses would
be severely affected by the disease.

Bureau Report