Good news: H1N1 won't visit them a second time

But they will not be immune to other types of flu: Doctor

long wait: People waiting for a check-up at outside the H1N1 flu ward at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD) in Bangalore on Tuesday. DH PHOTO

“A person who recovers from H1N1 Influenza develops a life-long immunity to it. However, he/she may get other types of Influenza,” Dr V Ravi, Head of Department of Neuro-Virology, Nimhans, and in-charge of the H1N1 testing lab in NIMHANS, said here on Tuesday. He was speaking during an interaction session with students of the Sri Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain College, to create awareness about H1N1 Influenza on Tuesday.

“Epidemics cause panic among people. This human behaviour has been the same in previous epidemics too,” he pointed out. However, he said that the mortality rate of H1N1 Influenza has been much lower than that of the three big outbreaks in the earlier years. “In fact, out of the samples that we test every day, only 25 per cent turn out to be positive.”

Dr Ravi said that as of 3 am on Tuesday, the NIMHANS lab had tested 526 samples, out of which 126 cases were confirmed ones, while 120 were diagnosed as common flu.
He said that the lab is under a lot of pressure, as it is functioning with two machines and 21 staff, round the clock. “Once the rush subsides, we will research into the nature of the virus, mutation, behaviour and other aspects,” said Dr Ravi.  

Presently, the PCR kits are manufactured by US-based Company. Each kit can accommodate 100 samples. However, efforts are on to manufacture indigenous PCR kits, Dr Ravi said.

He said that a Bangalore-based company was trying to create rapid test kits, which would not only save time but would also be cost-effective. “We are helping them evaluate this. However, it will take time ,” he said. He also clarified that test cannot be performed by any lab, as there are certain parameters to be followed. “You cannot use conventional kits for this test. You need to have separate rooms to do these tests, which many labs may not,” he said.

However, NIMHANS has recommended that Narayana Hrudayalaya be allowed to test samples. A team from the hospital had visited Nimhans to inspect the lab, and had evinced  interest in setting up a similar one in their hospital. “The hospital has a bio-safety level II lab. So, they would be able to conduct these tests,” he said.
Dr Ravi said that there is no need to panic in cases of H1N1 deaths. “ To spread the virus, a person needs to cough or sneeze, which a dead person cannot do. So, there is no need to panic,” he revealed. 

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