An outbreak of swine flu occurred in Mexico this spring that eventually affected 4,910 Mexican citizens and resulted in 85 deaths. By the time it spread to the United States, the virus caused only mild cases of flu-like illness.
Thanks to air travel and the failure of public health officials to control travel from Mexico, the virus spread worldwide. Despite predictions of massive numbers of deaths and the arrival of doomsday, the virus has remained a relatively mild disease, something we know happens each year with flu epidemics.
Worldwide, there have only been 311 deaths out of 70,893 cases of swine flu. In the United States, 27,717 cases have resulted in 127 deaths. Every death is a tragedy, but such a low death rate should not be the basis of a draconian government policy.
It is helpful to recall that the Centers for Disease Control with the collusion of the media, constantly tell us that 36,000 people die from the flu each year, a figure that has been shown to be a lie. In this case, we are talking about 300 plus deaths for the entire world.
This virus continues to be an enigma for virologists. In the April 30, 2009 issue of Nature, a virologist was quoted as saying,"Where the hell it got all these genes from we don't know." Extensive analysis of the virus found that it contained the original 1918 H1N1 flu virus, the avian flu virus (bird flu), and two new H3N2 virus genes from Eurasia. Debate continues over the possibility that swine flu is a genetically engineered virus.
Naturally, vaccine manufacturers have been in a competitive battle to produce the first vaccine. The main contenders have been Baxter Pharmaceuticals and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which recently acquired the scandal-ridden Chiron vaccine company. Both of these companies have had agreements with the World Health Organization to produce a pandemic vaccine.
The Baxter vaccine, called Celvapan, has had fast track approval. It uses a new vero cell technology, which utilizes cultured cells from the African green monkey. This same animal tissue transmits a number of vaccine-contaminating viruses, including the HIV virus.
The Baxter company has been associated with two deadly scandals. The first event occurred in 2006 when hemophiliac components were contaminated with HIV virus and injected in tens of thousands of people, including thousands of children. Baxter continued to release the HIV contaminated vaccine even after the contamination was known.
The second event occurred recently when it was discovered that Baxter had released a seasonal flu vaccine containing the bird flu virus, which would have produced a real world pandemic, to 18 countries. Fortunately, astute lab workers in the Czech Republic discovered the deadly combination and blew the whistle before a worldwide disaster was unleashed.
Despite these two deadly events, WHO maintains an agreement with Baxter Pharmaceuticals to produce the world's pandemic vaccine.