H1N1 Updates – Or Why Britain Is Bad And Being Older Is Good

Influenza Virus H1N1 HA Protein
Image by groovelock via Flickr

Despite the drop in interest in the Swine Flu (H1N1) in the media as fears of it all turning into a pandemic fade, the disease continues to rumble along and is by no means gone from our lives.

The most interesting piece of news is that tests by the CDC show that some older people (over 60) already have antibodies to it in their system and are thus safer than the rest of us. How and why? No absolute idea as yet but one theory is that they were exposed to it at some point pre-1950s. One side effect of the (admittedly small and insufficiently rigorous) study is that it also seems to confirm that flu vaccines aren’t going to help much.

But the next piece of news is pretty alarming. It implies that Britain has been taking a flawed approach to dealing with H1N1 and that in the long run this approach may well backfire and may also be concealing a much higher rate of infection than authorities are admitting. Lots of maybe’s and mights in the reporting, but the British strategy of ineffectively using Tamiflu to prevent infection seems to be costly and ineffective.

You can keep up with ongoing developments over at the CDC.

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