The Misnaming of a Pandemic: 2009 H1N1 Virus - COVID-19 Clinical Trial
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The Misnaming of a Pandemic: 2009 H1N1 Virus

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    The Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus pandemic was first introduced to the United States in April 2009. The “swine flu” first received its name when genes found had a similar resemblance to the H1N1 influenza virus genes found in North American and Eurasian swine. However, after more and more cases came about, it was later found that the A H1N1 virus was made up of genes not only found in swine influenza but also from human and avian (bird) viruses. With this discovery of the new strain of the influenza virus, it became clear the new strain of the virus was not spreading from pig to human but from human to human contact. 

    In February 2009, the unknown strain of the virus first appeared in a young boy living in a small town named La Gloria in Mexico. It would not be until a month later where the illness would appear in Mexico City, making its way throughout Mexico and eventually find its way to the United States. 

    In California, two children, a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl, tested positive for the A H1N1 virus. Both children had normal symptoms of the flu, including a fever and a cough. To treat his symptoms, the 10-year-old boy was taken to a treatment center where a testing swab would be collected for a clinical study. The young girl was also taken to an outpatient facility to find treatment for her symptoms. The facility at the time was participating in “an influenza surveillance project.” Both children confirmed they had no direct contact with pigs or any animals before becoming ill. The young girl confirmed she had attended an agricultural fair weeks before, but did not have any direct contact with any animals present at the fair. 

    As the number of cases began to grow worldwide, the World Health Organization declared the A H1N1 virus a pandemic in June of 2009. Millions of people around the world were becoming infected with the virus with no treatment available. Pregnant women and people under the age of 65 were affected most by the H1N1 virus.  

    On July 22nd, 2009, clinical trials began testing the H1N1 flu vaccine. The beginning of these trials would lead the way for researchers and doctors to find out how to stop the spread of this virus. Without these trials there would be no vaccine for the virus, with the spread continuing.  

    In late December of 2009, the FDA approved the H1N1 vaccination and made it available to anyone who wanted and needed it. In January 2010, President Barack Obama named the week of January 10th-16th “National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW),” encouraging all Americans to get the vaccine for the H1N1 flu. On August 11, 2010, the World Health Organization officially announcing the pandemic had ended.  


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