New flu "unstoppable", WHO says, calls for vaccine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Saying the new H1N1 virus is "unstoppable", the World Health Organization gave drug makers a full go-ahead to manufacture vaccines against the pandemic influenza strain on Monday and said healthcare workers should be the first to get one.

Every country will need to vaccinate citizens against the swine flu virus and must choose who else would get priority after nurses, doctors and technicians, said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research.

Several reports showed the new virus attacks people differently than seasonal flu -- affecting younger people, the severely obese and seemingly healthy adults, and causing disease deep in the lungs.

Kieny briefed reporters on the findings of the WHO's Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization, or SAGE. "The committee recognized that the H1N1 pandemic ... is unstoppable and therefore that all countries need access to vaccine," Kieney said.

"The SAGE recognized first that healthcare workers should be immunized in all countries in order to retain a functional health system as the virus evolves," she added.

After that, each country should decide who is next in line, based on the virus's unusual behavior.

Seasonal influenza is deadly enough -- each year it is involved in 250,000 to 500,000 deaths globally. But most are the elderly or those with some kind of chronic disease that makes them more vulnerable to flu, such as asthma.

ELDERLY ADVANTAGE

The elderly seem to have some extra immunity to this new H1N1, which is a mixture of two swine viruses, one of which also contains genetic material from birds and humans. It is a very distant cousin of the H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 pandemic that killed 50 million to 100 million people.

A study published in the journal Nature on Monday confirmed that the blood of people born before 1920 carries antibodies to the 1918 strain, suggesting their immune systems remember a childhood infection.

The work by Dr. Yoshihiro Kawaoka also supports other studies that this new H1N1 strain does not stay in the nose and throat, as do most seasonal viruses.

"The H1N1 virus replicates significantly better in the lungs," Kawaoka said. Other studies have also shown it can cause gastrointestinal effects, and that it targets people not usually thought of as being at high risk.

"Obesity has been observed to be one of the risk factors for more severe reaction to H1N1" -- something never before seen, Kieny added. It is not clear if obese people may have undiagnosed health problems that make them susceptible, or if obesity in and of itself is a risk.

On Friday, a team at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Michigan reported that nine out of 10 patients treated in an intensive care unit there were obese. They also had unusual symptoms such as blood clots in the lungs and multiple organ failure.

None have recovered and three died.

The CDC estimates at least a million people are infected in the United States alone and clinics everywhere are advised not to test each and every patient, so keeping an accurate count of cases will be impossible. The United States has documented 211 deaths and WHO counted 429 early last week.

Kieny said WHO would also work to get better viruses for companies from which to make vaccines. She said the strains that had been distributed did not grow very well in chicken eggs -- used to make all flu vaccines.

One exception -- AstraZeneca's MedImmune unit makes a live virus vaccine that is squirted up the nose and it is easier to produce, Kieny said.

WHO said countries should continue with their normal vaccination programs against seasonal flu. Kieny said the seasonal H3N2 strain was also very active now in the southern hemisphere's winter.

Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Baxter, Schering-Plough's Nobilon, GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay, CSL and AstraZeneca's MedImmune are among those working on flu vaccines.

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Protests following the fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr quickly devolved into violence, rioting, and looting in Philadelphia, and BlazeTV's Elijah Schaffer was there to document what the mainstream media won't. But while filming the carnage inside a Five Below on Tuesday, Elijah was surrounded and attacked by looters.

Elijah joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Wednesday to detail his experience and to explain why mainstream media efforts to downplay the violence just show that independent media has never been more important.

"Unfortunately, [the attack] escalated from one person to about a dozen very quickly," Elijah explained. "I'm actually really happy to be alive. Because in that same shopping center, right there, there was a 15-year-old girl who was shot, according to reports. And I heard multiple gunshots throughout the night. Another individual is reported to have heard a gunshot as well, so we try to confirm. I watched people get pummeled beyond belief."

Glenn asked Elijah to respond to mainstream media claims that conservatives are exaggerating the looting and violence in Philadelphia.

"It's so funny to hear people that aren't there try to counter what we're reporting," Elijah replied.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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In the final days before the 2020 election, President Donald Trump is gaining among black voters, particularly men, because his record of accomplishments "speaks for itself" and the "façade" that President Trump is a racist "just doesn't ring true," argued sports columnist Jason Whitlock on "The Glenn Beck Radio Program" Tuesday.

Jason, who recently interviewed the president at the White House for OutKick.com, shared his thoughts on why he believes many black Americans — notably celebrities such as Kanye West, Ice Cube, and 50 Cent — are breaking from the "façade" that President Trump is a "flaming racist."

"I really believe the facts are starting to speak for themselves, and that Donald Trump's record of accomplishments, particularly as it relates to African Americans, speaks for itself," Jason told Glenn. "He actually has a record to stand on, unlike even Barack Obama. When [Obama] was president, I don't think he had much of a record to stand on, in terms of, 'Hey, what did he actually deliver for African Americans?' President Trump has things he can stand on and, you know, beyond that I think black people understand when he starts talking about black unemployment rate. And America's unemployment rate. And then, when you add in for black men, the façade we've been putting on [President Trump] … you know, this whole thing that he's some flaming racist, it just doesn't ring true."

Jason suggested that Trump's fearlessness, unabashed masculinity, and record of keeping his promises resonates with men in the black community. He also weighed in on how media and social media's bias plays a huge role in convincing people to hate President Trump while ignoring Antifa and others on the Left.

"I keep explaining to people, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, they're some of the most secular places on earth. And we've reduced everyone to a tweet, that we disagree with," he added.

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Megyn Kelly is not happy about the "disgusting" media coverage of President Donald Trump, specifically pointing to Lesley Stahl's "60 Minutes" interview on CBS Sunday.

On the radio program, Megyn told Glenn Beck the media has become so blinded by the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" that they've lost their own credibility — and now they can't get it back.

"It's disgusting. It's stomach-turning," Megyn said of the media's coverage of the president. "But it's just a continuation of what we've seen over the past couple of years. Their 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' has blinded them to what they're doing to their own credibility. They can't get it back. It's too late. They've already sacrificed it. And now no one is listening to them other than the hard partisans for whom they craft their news."

Megyn also discussed how she would have covered the recent stories about Hunter and Joe Biden's alleged corruption. Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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