It seems that since the beginning of time, we are plagued every year with influenza, or "the flu." Changes in the genetic makeup of this virus require us to develop new vaccines on an annual basis to attempt to prevent this virus especially in those that are elderly or chronically ill, since for them, influenza could be gravely detrimental or even fatal. With shortages of vaccines over the past years and ineffective methods of producing these vaccines, people have been harmed as it is. However, to make matters worse, it seems likely that an influenza pandemic is likely to occur in the upcoming years.
A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, which causes serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide. Flu Pandemics have occurred intermittently over the centuries.
The last three pandemics, in 1918, 1957 and 1968, killed approximately 40 million, 2 million and 1 million people worldwide, respectively. Although the timing cannot be predicted, history and science suggest that we will face one or more pandemics this century. Due to cases of Avian Influenza ("Bird Flu") infecting humans in Asia, it is likely that the next flu pandemic will occur within the next four years and could result in up to 200 million deaths--so it is said. The past three pandemics were all derived from Bird Flu. Bird Flu itself cannot become a human pandemic, but if it mutates with common influanza, it is highly likely to do so. Although remarkable advances in technology have been made over the years, we are constantly reminded that sometimes this remains insufficient.
The current method of manufacturing flu vaccines involves a laborious process requiring hundreds of...