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More Cover-Ups in Ukraine: WHO Withholds Gene Sequences As Cases Double Again

After infected cases double again in the Ukraine plague approaching the
1 million mark, the World Health Organization (WHO) is holding back gene sequences which could provide evidence of the mutation or recombination of the H1N1 or novel virus.

The numbers of cases from the latest update from Ukraine total 910, 640 hospitalized and Influenza cases (including acute respiratory illess). A total of 135 people have die according to official statistics.

More than half of the Oblasts and cities listed exceed the epidemic threshold, including Kiev and Kiev Oblast, raising concerns that the increase in case numbers will accelerate. Moreover, hospitalization of 39,603 raises concerns that the number of deaths will also accelerate.

Although the WHO has suggested that these alarming numbers may reflect sub-standard medical and housing conditions, the transmission rates suggest something far more alarming.

However, because the virus already has demonstrated an ability to cause fatal infections in a disproportionate number of children and previously healthy adults, small changes in the virus could lead to increases in viral load leading to an increase in cytokine storm frequency and hemorrhagic pneumonia, as reported for earlier cases.

The first deputy minister of Health in Ukraine said in a statement that they have a different H1N1 swine flu than the rest of the world, but no confirmed evidence has been released from the WHO.

Despite huge differences in transmission and death rates, the agency stated last Tuesday that it was valid to assume that most of the cases of influenza reportedly combing through the Ukraine were caused by the pandemic A(H1N1) virus.

A virtual press conference was held on November 5, 2009 with Greogory Hartl, spokesperson for pandemic H1N1 and Dr. Keiji Fukuda, Special Adviser to the Director-General on Pandemic Influenza.

Dr. Keiji Fukuda said that the WHO doesn't see any "big" mutations in the samples being sequenced, which would refer to reassortment or Tamiflu resistance. However, the changes seen in Ukraine do not require "big" mutations. Small mutations, such as single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) can have profound effects for a virus like pandemic H1N1.

The rapid spread of H1N1 in Ukraine, coupled with the high frequency of hemorrhagic pneumonia raise concerns that a small change is leading to a more virulent virus. Similarly, the rapid spread of the virus could also be affected by a small change in another gene, which controls entry of the virus to cells and influences tissue tropism.

Mill Hill in London has acknowledged that they have at least 15 H1N1 positive samples from Ukraine, which would identify a Ukranian specific change. The delay in the announcement of sequence results raises concerns that such changes have been detected, and such changes are undergoing further analysis.

The number of cases in Ukraine continues to expand. The number of patients with H1N1 symptoms is now approaching 1 million. Cases have been increasing at almost 200,000 per day, so it is likely that tomorrow's report will have over 1 million cases. This rapid spread increases concern that the 15 sequences at Mill Hill contain one or more of these small changes, which has led to a delay in the announcement of sequence results.

More detail on the sequences at Mill Hill is overdue. The rapid spread of H1N1 in Ukraine demands rapid sequence results. Continued delay will only raise speculations and concerns.

Dr. Ott's interview with Alexander S. Jones:
Speculations Surrounding Ukraine Plague
Part 1

Part 2

Email with any reports or comments regarding the flu pandemic in your area.

Reference Sources: ,
November 7, 2009


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