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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Um Houston, We Have Problem!

Our world is full of amazing and wondrous things that like to hijack our cells and reproduce themselves.  They also have the ability to mutate rapidly in response to outside threats and maintain their stealthy lives.  These things are viruses.

My concern is with the H1N1 virus.  It has been prominent in the news for a few years now and since 2008 a small amount of cases have popped up that are the A(H1N1) pdm09 virus with H2754 neuraminidase substitution.  So you are like "What does this mean for me?"  For all of us this particular little beastie is immune to the effects of Tamiflu (oseltamivir) which has been the preferred first line treatment for the past few years.  There was a point in time where every child that went to the ER got tamiflu and amoxicillin which I find completely ridiculous.  Test for it don't guess and just prescribe shit and pat yourself on the back to feel like you treated the patient.  Antibiotic over prescribing is just as big a problem for bacterial resistance and also perpetuates the populace myth that antibiotics treat the common cold.

If this strain becomes prominent and resistant to all of the currently available antivirals we will run out of viable treatments and have to rely on vaccination as the only means of defense.  I pose the question "Will we ever reach a point in time where vaccination is no longer a viable preventative for H1N1?"  Can a virus mutate enough that our immune system cannot make a viable weapon out of its vaccine formulation to protect us? I probably need to consult with the CDC for that answer because if anyone would know it would be them.

The future could hold a worldwide population decline greater than when Bubonic plague wiped out most of Europe.  Could this be the tipping point for humanity?  Sweet dreams!