Swine Flu may hit any country, awareness programmes
Prof. Dr Nurul Kabir cautioned the Pakistani government against swine flu
Karachi, May 04: A Bangladeshi scientist, Prof. Dr Nurul Kabir, who works at the University of Karachi's (KU) Dr Panjwani
Centre for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), has cautioned the
Pakistani government to take early preventive measures against the Swine Flu
(H1N1) that may hit any country in the world; the virus, he said, has been found
to be highly contagious and deadly.
In 1918, Swine Flu, which was then
known as Spanish flu, killed up to 100 million people worldwide - the highest
casualty ever for a pandemic in 6,000 years of recorded human history, Prof.
Kabir said on Saturday while delivering a lecture at the International Centre
for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), KU.
scientist has laid stress on the need for developing coordination among
scientists, doctors and the government to deal with any untoward situation.
"Organising mass awareness programmes about the fatality, nature, symptoms,
diagnosis, preventions and treatment of the disease is the need of the hour," he
Prof. Kabir said that the 'H' in H1N1 stands for Hemagglutinin and
'N' for Neuraminidase, two viral proteins that are involved in the propagation
of the disease. Deadly flu viruses are produced due to the recombination of
different isoforms of Hemagglutinin and Neuraminidase of human and avian
viruses, he said. "This recombination occurs in pigs and that is why the disease
appears to originate in places where humans, birds (chickens) and pigs live
close together," he said, adding that the association of the virus with pigs was
a reason why most Muslim countries were spared the Spanish flu in
Effective vaccines are not available for the disease due to the
reason that the spontaneous mutation is quite common in these type of viruses,
The disease starts with flu-like symptoms - that is, chills,
fever, headaches, malaise and muscle pain, while cough and fever are the most
common symptoms; in more serious cases, influenza causes pneumonia, Prof. Kabir
Apart from the medical treatment for the prevention of the disease,
Prof. Kabir highly recommended some practices that included the use of face
masks (especially in hospitals and schools), and frequent hand washing with
"The virus can be killed by treatment with 0.5 per cent bleach for
15 minutes while people coming from affected areas must be checked for flu-like
symptoms. Influenza-detection kits should be made available at pathological
labs," he suggested.
What scientists know about swine flu
Preliminary analysis of the swine flu virus suggests it is a fairly mild strain,
It is believed that a further mutation would be needed
in order for the H1N1 virus to cause the mass deaths that have been estimated by
some. But at this point, it is impossible to predict with any accuracy how the
virus will continue to evolve. UK experts at the National Institute for Medical
Research outlined on Friday the work they are due to start on samples of the
virus sent from the US. The research, being done at the World Influenza Centre
in Mill Hill, will be vital for working out the structure of the virus, where it
came from, how quickly it is capable of spreading and its potential to cause
Analysis done so far suggests what they are
dealing with is a mild virus and nowhere near as dangerous as the H5N1 avian flu
strain that has caused scientists so much concern over the past decade.
Influenza A viruses are classified according to two proteins on the
outer surface of the virus - hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N). The swine
flu strain is a H1N1 virus, the same type as seasonal flu which circulates
throughout the world every year, and kills roughly 0.1% of those infected or
higher in an epidemic year.
Professor Wendy Barclay, chair in influenza
virology at Imperial College London says initial indications suggest there is
nothing about the genetic make-up of the new virus which is a cause for
The key to its potential lies largely in the H1
"There are two aspects - one is which receptors the virus tends
to bind to and what we see is that it is binding to the upper respiratory tract
rather than deep in the lungs." When a flu virus binds to the upper respiratory
tract, it tends to cause mild illness but can be easily spread as people cough
and sneeze, Professor Barclay explains.
If a virus binds further down in
the lungs, it tends to cause much more severe illness, as in the case of the
H5N1 avian flu virus which has caused concern in recent years.
H1 gene we also look at the cleavage site," she adds. "The virus has to be cut
into two pieces to be active and it uses an enzyme in the host to do that. Most
influenza viruses are restricted to the respiratory tract because they use
enzymes in the lungs. "But some, like H5 viruses can evolve to cut into two
pieces outside the lungs, so they can replicate outside the respiratory tract."
These initial indications are largely guesswork from
looking at the genetic sequence of the virus and comparing that to what is known
from work on other influenza viruses.
It will take weeks and months of
biological analysis to properly get a handle on the potential of the H1N1 virus.
The team at Mill Hill, one of four World Health Organisation's centres
for influenza research will be working in close collaboration with the Health
Protection Agency who are carrying out testing in the UK, and their findings
will also feed into the development of a potential vaccine. Soon, the Wellcome
Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge will begin the genetic sequencing of the
virus and will also be monitoring any mutations or changes in how virulent it
is. However, there is one other reassuring aspect about what is known so far.
That is there seems to be nothing unusual as yet in another protein in the
centre of the virus, called NS1, which is linked to the strength of the immune
response the virus produces.
In some more pathogenic viruses, it is this
NS1 protein which initiates a "cytokine storm", a particularly severe immune
reaction that can be fatal in even healthy young people.
Scientists have also played down concerns that the milder H1N1 virus,
could combine with the more dangerous H5N1 avian flu virus, causing a super
virus that has the ability to both spread easily between humans and cause severe
illness. This is unlikely - or at least just as unlikely as it ever was and the
H5N1 virus has been around for a decade without combining with normal seasonal
Professor Jonathan Ball, an expert in molecular virology at the
University of Nottingham said: "The chance of swine H1N1 combining with H5N1 is
as likely as any other strain recombining.
"What this outbreak does
highlight is how difficult it is to predict new pandemic strains. "Many people
suspected that H5N1 was the most likely candidate for the next pandemic strain,
but now it appears that this was a mistake - but that's not to say H5N1 or
another reassortment containing parts of H5N1 may not happen in the future.
"That's the trouble - you can't predict." The News
"Its horrible if Swine Flu spread in Pakistan because we dont have modern technology in medical sciences like other countries have, so its better to take precautions."
Name: Samuel Peterson
City, Country: Houston, USA
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Beaconites mesmerise audience
Rawalpindi: The Annual Sports Day celebrations of Beaconhouse,
Primary Branch, Peshawar Road, Rawalpindi were held on April 29-30.
the students participated in this exciting event. Mrs Shagun Irfan, School Group
Head –1, was the chief guest, who in the inaugural ceremony declared the day
open, which was followed by a march past by the athletes. The day witnessed
breath-taking events, including repelling from a 70 feet high building, which
drew accolades from the audience.
The parents enjoyed beautiful songs
sung by the school choir. The gymnastic team proved their mettle in somersault
and catapult events and won a great applause from the audience.
children also participated in a variety of races. Children clad in regional
dresses of the four provinces gave a captivating performance and won the hearts
At the end, Headmistress Tahmina Lodhi thanked the guests and
congratulated the school team for making the event a success. Daily Times
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5 schools sealed in Pindi
Rawalpindi: The administration of Rawalpindi Cantonment Board has sealed
five private-run schools in the area that, according to the authorities
concerned, were running without the Non Objection Certificate (NOC).
future of over 950 registered private schools in the Rawalpindi Cantonment area
is at stake, as the administration has launched a campaign to make the area free
of private schools by not renewing their NOCs.
According to the officials
of Cantonment board, business activities could not be carried out in residential
areas and majority of the schools were running without the NOC.
created by the schools in the residential areas and security concerns are the
reasons the administration cites to support the move. The administration has
asked other private schools as well to shift outside the cantonment
Station Commander Rawalpindi Cantonment area Brigadier Sajjad
Azam in a statement said the Cantonment administration has planned to shift all
private schools outside the premises of the cantonment.
On the other
hand, Head Private Schools Educational Society Chaklala Asif Mehmood, when
contacted, said that all the schools are running with the approval of the Cantt
administration and he would look towards the door of court against the illegal
steps of the administration.
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NUML student distinction
Islamabad: Gul Bibi, daughter of Mastan Khan, (Roll no.9653),
a student of National University of Modern Languages (NUML), stood first in MA
(Urdu) final examinations by securing 68.60% marks, says a press release.
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Honour for Army Public School student
Rawalpindi: Zoha Junaid, a grade 2 student of the Army Public School & College for Girls, Westridge-III,
secured first position in a poster competition titled 'How to Stop Disaster'
held at the Pakistan Red Crescent Society, says a press release. Six posters
evaluated at national level were sent for final evaluation to India. Zoha Junaid
secured top position in the junior category. She was given a prize and a
certificate of appreciation at a special ceremony held in Katmandu, Nepal.
Shagufta Saqib Ansari, principal of the academic institution, has appreciated
the efforts of the student and termed it a great honour for the college. The News
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Abid summons Haji Pervaiz, BISE members
Islamabad: Haji Pervaiz Khan cheating scam took a new turn on Saturday when
both Inspection Team Chief Dr Naeem Bajwa and alleged PML-N MNA levelled
serious charges against each other while the Chairman NA Standing Committee,
Abid Sher Ali, summoned 'N' lawmaker and Board authorities asking them to appear
before the committee on May 6.
Head of the Vigilance Team Dr Naeem Bajwa
alleged that he was receiving threats from MSF so he and his family would be
provided adequate security.
Speaking at a press conference, he said that the
inquiry committee formed by the PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif to probe into the
matter was trying to trap him aimed to save his party member's skin. He
demanded of the President, Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief
Minister Shahbaz Sharif to provide him life security because he was
receiving threats to his life. He also asked for a judicial inquiry should
be conducted by the Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to avert
political pressure in the process. He said that he had caught Bilal Javed
red handed who was sitting in the Pakistan Studies paper of the HSSC examination at the Gordon College centre in place of MNA from Rawalpindi.
"But the four-member inquiry committee, under the chairmanship of Senator
Pervez Rasheed, during its hearing has adopted aggressive behaviour and
pressurised me to withdraw the case," he alleged.
"I have got all the
proofs, including Roll No Slip and answer sheet of the candidate and if a
judicial committee is constituted for the investigation I can prove that the
MNA and his nephew, Bilal Javed, was guilty," he said, adding that the
Superintendent of examination, Asmat Ali, also could be involved in the matter.
Meanwhile, National Assembly Standing Committee on Education has also
summoned Haji Pervez, Chairman Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education
Rawalpindi, Head of the Raiding Team Dr Naeem Bajwa, Bilal Javed, and nephew
of Haji Pervez who impersonated for the MNA.
The committee scheduled for May
6 has already summoned Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Abdul Hammed Dogar in Farah Dogar Case. Abid Sher Ali of the PML-N, the head of the
National Assembly Standing Committee on Education has summoned them under
Section 227(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the
National Assembly to probe into Haji Pervez Khan's Case.
Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) Air Commodore
(Retd) Shamshad, former CJP Abdul Hameed Dogar, Journalist Ansar Abbasi,
Ex-chairman Al-Mizan Foundation Talat Farooq have been asked to attend the
meeting. The Education Ministry has also been directed to submit inquiry
report to the committee on Farah Dogar case conducted by the Ministry.
Giving rejoinder to Bajwa's allegations, Member National Assembly Haji
Pervaiz Khan in the evening denied all the allegations levelled against him
regarding his fraud in the intermediate examination. He said that his political
rivals and officials of Rawalpindi Board were trying to tarnish his
political career through staging such dramas.
In the press conference, Haji
Pervaiz was accompanied by MNA Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, MNA Anjum Aqeel
Khan and other local leaders of PML-N. He said that his political career
span over three decades and he was serving the nation while working on
different public offices.
"I even cannot think to commit such act and it was
amazing for me when I heard about this scandal," he added.
He said that on
the said day, he was out of the city. "I solemnly said that I never asked my
nephew to impersonate me in the examination," he stated. He said that he
had recorded his statement before the fact-finding committee consisted of PML-N
Quaid. "I will accept any decision taken by the said committee," he added.
He said that Naeem Bajwa was not the Chairman of Chief Minister's Inspection
Team. "In fact he was neither the chairman of CM's Inspection team nor was
authorised to raid the examination centre," he added. The Nation
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