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Swine flu pandemic 'unstoppable': WHO

Swine flu pandemic 'unstoppable': WHO article image

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called the swine flu pandemic "unstoppable" with almost 100,000 confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) virus and 429 recorded deaths from the disease worldwide. Australian cases passed 9,000 at the weekend, with 19 deaths. Health authorities have ordered 21 million doses of a swine flu vaccine, which WHO says will be released in September. "We need to do some trials to make sure it's safe, so we're saying by October we should be able to start a program, but that depends really on manufacture being successful," said chief medical officer Jim Bishop. According to WHO, the virus has shown some resistance to the antiviral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu) based on laboratory testing but remains sensitive zanamivir. Bishop says the virus could have a run on effect as the northern hemisphere enters flu season before a vaccine can be rolled out: "We're more concerned about the second wave of this thing, which might be more severe than the first."

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