Policy & Issues

H1N1 virus has not mutated: Centre

Even as there has been no let-up in the cases of swine flu being reported from across the country, Union Health Ministry officials on Thursday confirmed that the H1N1 virus that causes the flu has not mutated and it is possible to cure it with the available medicine.

A senior official of the Health Ministry told The Hindu that the possibility of the H1N1 virus having mutated into a more virulent strain has been put to rest as tests conducted by the National Institute of Virology in Pune and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have shown it is the same strain that led to the 2009 pandemic.

Concerned by the high number of cases being reported in 2015, the Ministry had sent samples from various States for testing. “We are relieved that the strain has not mutated, which means the medicine that is currently available, Oseltamivir, is still effective to treat the flu and the vaccine too is still efficacious,” the official said. On Wednesday, the Ministry announced a vaccination drive for health workers as a precautionary measure.

The high number of cases being reported is being attributed to a prolonged winter and better awareness among people, who are turning up for tests. Though the virus has not mutated, officials said it is slightly more virulent and people with health conditions and low immunity are affected more. On steps taken to contain the epidemic, the Health Ministry officials explained that precautionary steps are the only check.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 9:10:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/policy-and-issues/virus-has-not-mutated/article6888679.ece

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