Pandemic Influenza

In late April, 2009, several cases of a novel strain of influenza were notified as having occurred in Mexico. This new type was a combination of influenza A from birds (avian influenza), pigs (swine) and humans. Erroneously called ‘swine flu’, it is still a mystery as to where this virus came from.

Dr Adrian Gibbs, a well-respected Australian scientist who worked on the development of Tamiflu, the anti-viral used to try and pre-empt serious flu symptoms, published a report  stating that this combination of viruses from 3 different animals could not possibly have emerged naturally. Instead, he felt that this was a release from a vaccine laboratory that had been working on producing flu vaccines. This release could have been accidental or intentional (terrorism), but it was a release – not a natural occurrence. (From where did the 2009 ‘swine-origin’ influenza A virus (H1N1) emerge?, Adrian J Gibbs, John S Armstrong, Jean C Downie Virology Journal 2009, 6:207 (24 November 2009))

This was not the first time that the World Health Organisation has tried to spread panic about what they said would be a pandemic of an influenza-like virus. First, over 10 years ago, it was SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) – a disease we were told would kill millions around the world unless everyone got vaccinated against it. SARS fizzled out and there was never a vaccination campaign.

Next, came avian influenza – a virus spread from birds which again, was supposed to be the death of huge numbers of people unless we vaccinated against it. No vaccine – no pandemic.

But with AH1N1 – ‘swine flu’, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and their pharmaceutical sponsors were determined not to let this opportunity pass.

Clinical description

Any individual with:
Acute onset of fever (temperature >38°C) with signs and symptoms of an acute
respiratory infection.


Death from an unexplained acute respiratory illness.