H1N1 virus not yet dormant, says expert

H1N1 virus not yet dormant, says expert

Giving a presentation on H1N1 influenza at the Continuing Medical Education (CME) on Pulmonary Pathology held at the Command Hospital Air Force on Saturday, Dr Reeta Mani, Associate Professor, Department of Neurovirology, Nimhans said that there is no significant mutation of H1N1 virus found yet. “However we still do not know what the future holds about the possible severity of the influenza,” she said. “Mutations of such viruses tend to be deadlier and often result in a second wave of the pandemic.  

Though there haven't been any deadlier mutations, the virus has not fizzled yet,” she said.

Inaugurating the event, Air Marshal P Madhusoodanan, Director General Medical Services (Air), said that scare of the pandemic has not gone away. “We know that H1N1 influenza is here to stay for sometime and we need to be prepared for the worst,” he said.

Although, the Air Command Hospital is testing samples of suspected H1N1 patients, at present it is catering only to the defence people.

Swab testing machine

Bigtec Lab has come out with a portable real-time micro PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) machine used for testing throat and nasal swabs of suspected H1N1 influenza patients. The battery operated machine weighs just around one kilogram and costs a little more than Rs one lakh.

Chandrashekhar Nair, director of Bigtec Lab said that the micro PCR can be kept in smaller clinics and can easily be operated by a doctor himself.  "It has in-built bio-safety lab features. So there is less complexity in using the machine," he said.
However, collecting procedures have to be followed while collecting the swabs from patients before placing the sample in the machine.  Although the micro PCR machine can test just one sample at a time, the results are quite accurate.  

"As the machine is PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) controlled, the results of the test are enabled to appear on a mobile phone," said Raviprakash from Bigtec Labs.

Five more fresh cases tested positive for H1N1 influenza, raising the total number of positive patients to 1,713 in the State on Saturday.  Although, the expected second wave is not being reported yet, there has been consistency in the number of patients testing positive for the flu. Till date 130 persons have succumbed to H1N1 influenza in the State.