So, let’s talk about the efficacy.
Unless you start any of the
influenza drugs early,
you get minimal effect
on the disease.
On the other hand, if you
use them in an epidemic,
let’s say you have a nursing
home patient who’s got influenza
and you’re trying to prevent it being
spread to all the nursing home residents.
These drugs do a very good job of
preventing influenza in such a case,
they’re 70% to 90% protective.
And as you can imagine in a
nursing home or similar setting,
this would be something that the
physicians would definitely want to do.
Now what about the vaccine?
That’s what we kind of
depend on to protect us.
So how do they figure out
what to put in the vaccine?
They obviously got to
put killed viruses
into the vaccine so that
we can be exposed to
the hemagglutinin and the neuraminidase
spikes of the killed viruses.
So the World Health Organization
meets twice a year.
And what they do is they review the results
of surveillance laboratory
and clinical studies
and the availability of vaccine viruses
and they make recommendations
on the vaccine composition.
And how do they get their recommendations?
Well, first of all they find out
what types of influenza viruses
have been bothering persons
in the Northern Hemisphere.
And so they take note
of those viruses
and they’ll very likely
incorporate those viruses
to protect the
They meet in September for
the Southern Hemisphere
to find out what viruses
to put in those vaccines.
And so, ultimately, the
World Health Organization
recommends specific vaccine viruses
to be included in the vaccines.
Most of the time,
they’re pretty good.
Sometimes, they’re wrong
about the vaccine --
about the viruses put in the vaccine and
we get an epidemic we didn’t expect.
But each country makes a decision about
which viruses should be included
in the influenza vaccines and then
license for use in that country.
The influenza vaccines, the inactivated
one is in the form of an injection
and its efficacy is about 70%.
And you can imagine an
or the very young, it might
not be quite as effective.
The live-attenuated vaccine is
given by nasal inoculation.
It’s safe and effective.
It protects children more than 90% of the
time and adults about 85% of the time.
Now in terms of how you prevent
spreading it to others,
you should certainly cover your
mouth and nose with a tissue
when you cough or sneeze and put
your used tissue in a waste basket.
Now if you don’t have tissue and
you have to cough or sneeze,
you should cough into your upper sleeve
or elbow, certainly not in your hands.
And you may be asked to put on
a face mask to protect others.
And let’s say somebody who’s in
the hospital with influenza,
we would put a mask
on those patients.
And people like who are going to work
who have influenza should probably
not go to work rather than expose people
because some of the
people they expose may be
less able to fend off
the influenza virus.
And finally, you should wash
your hands very often with soap
and warm water for 20
seconds with good friction.
And if soap and water are not available,
you can use the alcohol-based hand rubs.
But if that’s not available,
a steady stream of water
will remove most of the pathogens
that are on the surface.
But wash your hands some kind of way.
And that brings me to the end of
my discussion about influenza.
I hope it was helpful to you.