Archive for July, 2015
Evolution Scientists Perplexed By Influenza
The Influenza virus (pictured) is one of the best known and studied pathogens in the healthcare industry. Infectious outbreaks of the virus, more commonly known as the flu, are legendary. The 1918 flu pandemic, nicknamed the Spanish flu, is estimated to have infected 500 million eventually killing 50 to 100 million. The first influenza vaccine was approved for military use in 1945. Evolutionary scientists, however, are perplexed by the virus.
The Influenza virus is continuously changing, making it an excellent real-life model for studying evolution and improving healthcare. These changes, however, reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine. To adjust to these changes, the World Health Organization recommended in 1999 that the vaccine should be reformulated each year. Despite advances in viral genetics, the pharmaceutical industry has not improved the vaccine―in fact, this year’s vaccine was this decade’s worst.