CDC Prepares for Worst Case ScenarioAugust 25, 2009 - 1:43 PM | by: Jonathan Serrie
One of the biggest fears of public health officials tracking H1N1 is a scenario where the virus mutates. Such a change could make it resistant to anti-viral drugs, or vaccines currently under development.
“We don’t think it’s likely, but we do need to be prepared,” said Anne Schuchat, MD, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
“That’s really part of the government’s philosophy with this,” Schuchat said. “We’re preparing for worst case scenarios… And if it happens, we want to be ready.”
To prepare for such a worst case scenario, the government is purchasing and testing adjuvants — ingredients added to vaccines to boost their effectiveness. Adjuvants are in use in some vaccines in Europe, but are not currently licensed for use in the United States.
Schuchat said she doubts adjuvants will be needed for this year’s H1N1 vaccine, expected in mid-October. However, the option will remain on the table just to be safe.