Rapid diagnostic test rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel cleared by FDA for emergency use

Early today, it was reported that major hospitals in Mexico have fewer numbers of new cases of suspected or confirmed A/H1N1 swine flu. That is considered a favorable trend, even as there are now 92 confirmed cases worldwide, in at least six other countries.

The Associated Press quoted Mexican Minister of Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova, as saying that the number of new cases of confirmed or suspected swine flu at “Mexico’s largest government hospitals” had declined in the past three days, falling from 141 on Saturday to 119 on Sunday and 110 Monday.

In the United States yesterday, the FDA cleared use of a rapid diagnostic test for the swine flu. It also cleared Relenza and Tamiflu antiviral products for certain uses. These clearances were issued as emergency use authorizations (EAUs). The rapid diagnostic test is an rRT-PCR Swine Flu Panel.

In the United States, the number of confirmed swine flu cases is 50. No deaths have been reported and cases in this country have been described as “mild.” It was Sunday when American health officials declared a public health emergency.

Some experts are pointing out the gaps in Mexico’s response to the emergence of a new strain of influenza. Health authorities in that nation were slow to investigate the earliest cases. Nor were family members of patients who died from the A/H1N1 influenza virus given therapeutic drugs. This lack of investigative effort by public health officials in Mexico is why little is known about where this new strain of flu emerged, whether it jumped from an animal species-like pigs-to humans, and how it may have been transmitted among the individuals in Mexico confirmed as infected.

Yesterday, Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) moved its alert level to Phase 4. This signifies that sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus is causing outbreaks in at least one country. This action was the first time WHO has ever raised the alert level about Phase 3.

Dark Daily will continue to monitor events and provide timely, useful updates to clinical labs, pathology laboratories, and other professionals in laboratory medicine on this global health situation. Subscribers and readers with specific information about swine flu developments in their community are invited to contact the Dark Daily editor at: rmichel@darkreport.com.

Related Information:
FDA Authorizes Emergency Use of Influenza Medicines, Diagnostic Test in Response to Swine Flu Outbreak in Humans

Swine flu spreads to Middle East, Asia-Pacific