Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pestilence: Swine Flu Update

We've been closely following the Swine Flu pandemic for a variety of reasons. One reason, of course is biblical prophecy, as Jesus directed us to watch for the rise in pestilences as part of the end times signs. In terms of the Swine Flu specifically, it has been interesting to follow from a medical perspective, as this flu has been atypical in its timing (unlike most seasonal viruses, this has continued well into the summer months), the "patient population" (age, health status etc.), and its genetic profile, which resembles the 1918 pandemic which killed 50-100 million people. Additionally, it just refuses to go away. The 1918 flu had similar traits, clinically, as it hung around for the summer months before mutating into a much more virulent form that we are now all familiar with.

Two recent articles have come out, which provide more details as research continues.

In this article from reuters "New flu 'unstoppable', WHO says, calls for vaccine", we see that the Swine Flu "attacks people differently than seasonal flu -- affecting younger people, the severely obese and seemingly healthy adults, and causing disease deep in the lungs." The point here is, the flu is acting like its genetic structure would ominously suggest - much like the flu of 1918. These clinical traits also reveal the differences in this flu as contrasted to the typical seasonal flu.

In a second article "New flu resembles feared 1918 virus:study", we see similar concerns regarding the similarities with the 1918 virus.

Still, currently this flu is relatively mild in terms of both morbidity and mortality.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention or at least reference the many conspiracy theories circulating, about this flu. I am not saying that I believe these various conspiracy theories, but in efforts to remain completely objective, these theories are worth watching, particularly given the era in which we live. To itemize:

- One of the theories is based on the unique genetic structure of this virus. Without going into great detail, there are some elements of its reported genetic structure that ARE quite unusual. The suggestion is, that the virus was created in a lab for intent which is unclear to me, but allegedly would be a planned outbreak, consistent with plans for a global governance. Not commenting on this, just observing and reporting.

- Similar theories are based on the fact that the reaction (perhaps better stated as "over-reaction") around the world doesn't match the clinical (mild) scenario. In addition, the mad rush to implement a vaccine, on a world-wide basis, seems out of line with this mild disease. I can see both sides of this argument. On the one hand, if authorities did NOT create a vaccine at this point, and the virus DID become serious, like the 1918 flu, then they would be accused of ineptitude. On the other side, it does seem perplexing at the "panic" over such a mild flu, leading to this "mandatory" vaccine which is proposed in many countries.

The bottom line, to me, is perplexing and I am unsure where this is going. I have concerns about any vaccine that is hastily prepared for mass use. The last time this was attempted ('76.'77), it was an absolute nightmare. Because adequate safety testing wasn't performed (in the "rush" to get the vaccine out, similar to the current vaccine), there was an array of significant side effects (aka "adverse events") resulting from the vaccine, many of which were permanent.

My fear, whether from conspiracy or not, is the same today. Vaccines which are pumped out rapidly simply don't have the usual safety testing that we see in most FDA regulated drugs. Situations such as this current Swine Flu are even more tenuous, as the pressure to mass produce the vaccine leads to even less safety data, simply because there is less time. Personally, I will be VERY reluctant to receive this vaccine for that simple reason. Fortunately, we're not quite there yet, however a vaccine will appear within months and that will lead to huge decisions by each family and each individual.

This story will not go away. It is clearly worth watching closely - not only the flu and its spread, along with its clinical syndrome, but the response by the various health authorities and governments around the world.

The "bottom-line" concern is twofold. One concern is the virus becoming more severe in its presentation, leading to a crisis similar to 1918. The other concern is an over-reaction by government authorities and what that may lead to - specifically, mass vaccines imposed on the public and how that could be implemented.

One thing is for sure - this story isn't going away any time soon.

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