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October 15, 2005

What is up with Tamiflu immunity?

Earlier we had reported possible H5N1 strains resistant to Tamiflu.  It turns out this is based on just one case; here is a report.  The authors suggest two bottom lines.  First:

The mutation that made the girl’s H5N1 virus resistant also occurs in ordinary flu viruses among Japanese children who are treated with Tamiflu. And ordinary flu with that mutation rarely if ever goes on to cause a new infection in another person, says Frederick Hayden of the University of Virginia, US, an expert in antiviral drugs.  “Becoming resistant to this class of drugs seems to impose a fitness penalty on the virus”...

Second:

The observation may, however, cast doubt on plans by some governments to put “essential” workers on Tamiflu prophylaxis if a pandemic breaks out. Large numbers of people on low doses of the drug for a long time could cause new kinds of resistant strains to emerge, which might not be so weak.

Posted by dymaxion at October 15, 2005 07:34 AM

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