Expert view on virus mutation
I hope that last night's Panorama (which you can of course watch again) added to people's understanding of swine flu. I have no doubt that you will let me know what you think.
Dr Alan Hay, director of the World Health Organization laboratory at Mill Hill in north London was one of the flu experts interviewed.
His is one of just four WHO influenza collaborating labs in the world and plays a key role in research.
He spoke about fears that the H1N1 virus might mutate and about antiviral resistance.
So far, there have just been isolated cases of Tamifllu resistance against H1N1 swine flu. Dr Hay said:
"The major problem in generating resistance is people start a course of Tamiflu and do not follow it rigorously during that period, such that the virus is exposed to a lower concentration of the drug that isn't as fully effective. That's when you get resistance emerging."
Like most experts he thinks there is a slim chance of H1N1 swine flu mixing with H5N1 bird flu to produce a more deadly strain of pandemic flu. A remote chance, but a chance nonetheless:
"There's a possibility that could happen, particularly in countries where human inflections of bird flu are continuing, for example Egypt. It's really the possibility that from that event might come a virus that might be similarly virulent to the bird flu virus but then has the capacity to establish and spread within the population. And that has been the fear of the last few years that has generated all this concerted action to prepare for a pandemic. And we are only now reaping the rewards of all that preparedness in the face of this pandemic."
You can see more of the interview with Dr Alan Hay done by my colleague Sophie Raworth: