No new H1N1 strain — WHO, DoH
Posted June 20, 2009on:
By Anna Valmero
First Posted 19:17:00 06/19/2009
Filed Under: Swine Flu, Health, Diseases
MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health (DoH) denied reports that a new strain of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus has developed in Brazil.
Quoting a report from the WHO, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the A/Sao Paulo/1454/H1N1 was the same as the A(H1N1) flu strain that infected about 344 Filipinos and over 39,000 persons worldwide.
“There is no truth there is a new strain of H1N1. Although the Brazil strain has minor modifications depending in its location, the major fragment that constitutes the virus is the same across all H1N1 stains in different countries and its minor modification will not allow it to infect new hosts,” Duque said.
“Although it is true for now that the novel virus seemed to be causing only mild illness, we still should not be too complacent and let our guard down. We should continue to be vigilant as we continue to monitor if there are any changes in its trends and patterns,” Duque said.
Quoting a report from the United States Center for Disease Prevention and Control, Howard Sobel, acting WHO country representative to the Philippines likewise rejected the reported new A(H1N1) strain.
A virus can become deadlier when its amino acids or protein fragments mutate, like in the 1918 flu pandemic.