Swine flu a flop – upgrade planned
Scientists at the World Health Organization have announced a new upgrade to the troubled H1N1 Swine Flu virus. The new version, H1N1.1 has now been released on a limited scale for beta testing, and will be ready for a widescale rollout in two months.
“We’ve come under a lot of flak for announcing deadly diseases that don’t live up to the hype,” said Dr Peter “Petri” Renquist, leader of the WHO’s H1N1 development team. “But this time, I think we have the problems licked. The 1.1 version is going to be a honey of a virus.”
Industry analysts say that the WHO are in desperate need of a “killer bug”, after the relative failure of the original H1N1. Touted to be a “newer, faster, punchier” form of influenza in April of 2009, H1N1 was supposed to target victims in the prime of life.
But corporate sickness administrators have rejected the disease for use in the work environment, preferring to stick with such tried-and-true diseases as the common cold.
“So far, H1N1 has been a flop,” said Erika T. Vendikar, a leading disease trendspotter. “We heard all the usual big promises early on – higher death rates, hitting the healthy, pregnant women, etc. – but in the real world, by which I mean North America and Europe, the virus just didn’t deliver. Not even when they called it a pandemic. Now they’re saying, wait till the fall – it’ll be big then. All I can say is, it had better be!”
The WHO is under increasing pressure from shareholders to deliver a hit disease.
“Mad Cow DIsease fell short of the hype and so did SARS,” said Vendikar. “Now people are asking some awkward questions about H1N1. If it doesn’t cause some major germ havoc, then I think it’s going to ‘three strikes and you’re out’ for the WHO.”
But Dr Renquist is confident that the new H1N1 beta, codenamed “Blue Vengeance” will be worth the wait.
“H1N1.1 is going to be Ebola meets Bubonic Plague,” he said. “We predict it will spread like wildfire through the entire human population, before probably mutating and infecting other animals and even plants. I expect it will then be carried through space on airborne sneeze molecules, and colonize the rest of the galaxy – although, of couse, there will be no humans left to see it.”
Renquist conceded, however, that unforeseen circumstances may cause H1N1.1 to fail like its predecessor. He is prepared for that eventuality.
“We are also working on a new type of mumps,” he said.