The White House has determined the H1N1 swine flu epidemic to be a “National Emergency”, Reuters reports.
Initially the federal government misread the potential severity of the virus and failed to order adequate stores of vaccine and antiviral medicine. The declaration allows the government to expedite, or even bypass restrictive FDA guidelines governing helpful drugs stuck in the pipeline. One such drug is Peramivir an intravenous anti-viral under development by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals.
The C.D.C. approved the use of Peramivir last night which coincides with the signing of the declaration.
Peramivir IV joins Tamiflu and Relenza as the only antivirals approved for H1N1.
The declaration also allows doctors to be moved more freely from state to state in response to hot spots.
20,000 have been hosptitalized and more than 1,000 have died from complications of the swine flu.
A 6 year old girl in Vacaville Californa and a 5 year old in San Diego died within the last week.
In some communities first responders are among the first to receive the vaccine, case in point Oakland County Michigan.