H1N1 is a good rehearsal for future: Expert | india | Hindustan Times
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H1N1 is a good rehearsal for future: Expert

Leading British epidemiologist Sir Roy Anderson agrees with the Indian experts who have been saying the H1N1 virus is not more dangerous than seasonal flu, reports Neha Bhayana.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2009 01:53 IST
Neha Bhayana

Leading British epidemiologist Sir Roy Anderson agrees with the Indian experts who have been saying the H1N1 virus is not more dangerous than seasonal flu.

But we should drop our guard against it as it could teach us to deal with more lethal epidemics, he said.

“H1N1 is no more pathogenic than seasonal flu or dengue. But this is a good rehearsal for the future,” he said, adding that we should use the experience to prepare for new viruses that will emerge.

“The evolution of novel pathogens in the coming years is certain considering the world is more connected and the population density is rising,” he said.

Anderson, the rector of Imperial College, London, and a scientific advisor to the World Health Organisation, uses mathematics and field observations to predict the way infectious diseases will spread.

He said there was likely to be a second wave of swine flu but there is no scientific evidence to prove it would be more dangerous.

Does he have any tips for the Indian government? “Stop screening at airports and restrict the use of Tamiflu,” he said. “Screening at airports is a sheer waste of time as the virus is already in the community.”

Doctors in the UK had been giving Tamiflu to all suspects — the same is being done in India currently — but the British government changed its strategy to avoid development of drug resistance.

Anderson, who is also the non-executive director of drug manufacturer Glaxo Smith and Kline, was one of the first experts to call the swine flu outbreak a pandemic.