19/female/UK Asian British Muslim :D
In 1918 and 1957, there were two major Influenza pandemics killing thousands of people in the UK. Experts are now predicting that another pandemic is fast approachng us.
How worried are you about the possibility of an Influenza Pandemic?
Article from The Times:
The director of Britain’s new centre for avian flu research said yesterday that it was a question of “not if but when” the disease would cause a pandemic.
Professor Tony Nash was speaking on the day that an outbreak of the flu was confirmed on a farm in North Wales, the third incidence in Britain. Professor Nash heads a £4.3 million research hub at the University of Edinburgh that will be at the forefront of global efforts to combat the growing threat to health.
The chief vet of Wales has confirmed that the death of 15 chickens on a farm in Conwy was caused by a less virulent strain of avian flu – H7N2 as opposed to H5N1. Two adults associated with the farm have shown flu symptoms and are being treated as a precaution.
The source of the infection is being investigated and a one-kilometre restriction zone is in force around the small farm. Officials said that the strain of the disease presented a low risk to humans.
Professor Nash said: “There were three flu pandemics in the 20th century, and we are somewhat overdue for another.”
The new research centre, the first of its kind in Britain, intends to develop new drugs against avian flu. By drawing together experts from the universities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews, it hopes to plot the spread of the disease and explore its causes.
In February 159,000 birds were slaughtered on a Suffolk farm belonging to Bernard Matthews after the H5N1 virus was discovered.In April 2006, a dead swan was found on the slipway of the harbour at Cellardyke in Fife. It was the first incidence of H5N1 in Britain and was an isolated case.
The new Interdisciplinary Centre for Human and Avian Influenza Research, which has received £2 million from the Scottish Funding Council and £2.3 million from the collaborating universities, will open officially on September 1.
One of the scientists’ most important tasks will be to develop a range of “novel” antivirals (which can block virus replication) and construct a new generation of flu vaccines.
As well as seeking to tackle avian flu, biologists, virologists and epidemiologists will also work together on new treatments for human flu.
Professor Nash said: “This new centre will be unique in terms of influenza research with a variety of specialists working together with a common aim. Our ultimate hope is that we can achieve new ways of predicting and controlling major flu outbreaks, as well as discovering new therapies that quickly translate into products for humans and animals.”
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