Medical technology has vital role in preventing a flu pandemic

11 November 2005

Washington DC., USA. Following President Bush’s announcement of a national strategy to safeguard Americans from the threat of an influenza pandemic, the Advanced Medical Technology Association of the USA, AdvaMed, issued a statement emphasising the importance of medical technology in such a strategy:

“The President’s strategy correctly stresses that ‘early detection is the first line of defense.’ Our member companies are at the cutting edge in developing rapid diagnostic tests that can confirm the presence and type of influenza within 15 minutes. While these tests are not yet capable of confirming specific flu subtypes, such as avian flu, they will be crucial to the President’s plans for a global surveillance and preparedness network and a national bio-surveillance initiative.

The rapid identification of influenza is important because antiviral medications are only effective if administered within 48 hours after symptoms begin. In addition, confirmation of flu will help physicians choose the appropriate patient treatment, since antivirals would be ineffective for conditions such as colds or pneumonia, which cause flu-like symptoms.

AdvaMed is also encouraged that the President’s strategy calls for stockpiling critical medical supplies in case of a pandemic. The medical technology industry produces a range of products that will be crucial in the prevention and management of influenza. Devices such as personal respirators and surgical masks will be needed to help prevent the spread of the disease, while state-of-the-art ventilators and pulse oximeters will be critical in assessing a patient’s respiratory status and managing some of the most severe complications of influenza, such as pneumonia and other severe respiratory diseases. In addition, influenza vaccines and antivirals will be of little benefit without adequate supplies of drug delivery systems."

Link: www.advamed.org

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