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Interesting article about topical iodine and pandemic flu transmission

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  • Interesting article about topical iodine and pandemic flu transmission

    This article is about using iodine during the 1957 flu pandemic in India when a vaccine wasn't available. Indications were that topical application to necks helped to stop the spread of flu, though it was unsuccessful treating flu once someone was mildly symptomatic.
    (There is some discussion of IV use in a hospital with severe cases, though that does not relate to home use for prevention.)

    Remember that some people are allergic to iodine, or the carrier ingredients. Also long term use can cause sensitivity. This is just short term topical application discussed in the article.
    Bull World Health Organ. 1959; 20(2-3): 199–224.
    PMCID: PMC2537734
    The 1957 pandemic of influenza in India
    I. G. K. Menon


    Asian influenza appears to have reached India via Madras in May 1957. The main pandemic wave swept through the subcontinent within the next 12 weeks; cases occurring thereafter represent the permanent infiltration of the new virus into the population. Between 19 May 1957 and 8 February 1958 there were reported 4 451 758 cases, with 1098 deaths. The author discusses the attack-rates by age-group, by occupational group, by State and in closed communities such as schools. The disease, in India as elsewhere, seems generally to have run a mild course, although nausea and vomiting and symptoms related to the nervous system were relatively frequently seen.

    A number of A/Asia/57 virus strains were isolated; their antigenic and biological characteristics are discussed in some detail. In view of the rapid spread of the pandemic, it proved impossible to prepare sufficient vaccine from the new strains in time for adequate field trials or mass immunization of the population.

    The author reports briefly on the results obtained with iodine in the prevention and treatment of influenza.
    Other Prophylactic and Therapeutic Measures
    Experiments carried out in India before 1957 had shown that iodine
    was effective in the laboratory in destroying different strains of influenza
    virus, various preparations such as Mandl's paint, Lugol's solution and
    tincture of iodine being used. Laboratory experiments with the new Asian
    strains gave identical results. Research was in progress on the details of
    the action of iodine when the advent of the 1957 pandemic precipitated
    trials of its prophylactic and therapeutic value in human beings. In view
    of the rapid spread of the pandemic and of the urgent necessity to take
    protective measures, it was not possible always to insist on the use of
    control groups or, consequently, on as accurate an assessment of the results
    of field trials as would otherwise have been desirable.
    Early in the pandemic, however, controlled trials were carried out;
    these have been reported elsewhere by Menon & Shaw (1957). Among the
    uncontrolled trials worthy of mention was one in a military hospital where
    189 cases were reported in the first three days of an outbreak in June.
    Starting on the morning of the fourth day, the throats of all those at risk
    were painted twice daily with Mandl's paint. There were 144 further
    cases that day and a steady drop to 18, 6, 5, 1, 2 and 1 cases on subsequent days.
    Similar results were obtained in a further outbreak in November.
    Mention may also be made of use of Mandl's paint among 183 persons
    on a tea estate, of whom only five (2.8 %) developed influenza, as against
    689 cases in 4647 untreated persons (14%) on the same estate.

    The use of iodine in the treatment of influenza gave the best results
    in severe cases, to whom 1-3 doses of 10 ml of colloidal iodine were generally
    administered intravenously. In several such cases, treatment was followed
    by a rapid drop in temperature and the disappearance of toxaemia. In mild
    cases, however, it has not been possible to show statistically that the results
    of iodine treatment are superior to those obtained in control groups given
    placebo injections or antibiotics. The simultaneous use of antibiotics
    and iodine does not apparently interfere with the action of either.

    Ask Congress to Investigate COVID Origins and Government Response to Pandemic H.R. 834

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