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March 21, 2007

Thai bird flu strain found to be resistant to drug

Via Reuters: Thai bird flu strain found to be resistant to drug. Excerpt:

Yong Poovorawan, a medical professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, said an H5N1 strain in the central part of Thailand had become resistant to amantadine, casting more doubt over its use to fight the disease .

"It would be very dangerous if we don't know the sensitivity or resistance of the strain to amantadine and we use amantadine (to treat people infected with this strain of H5N1)," Yong said.

He urged more rigorous surveillance and study.

"If you follow any new strain you will know the genetic changes, you analyse its molecular structure, make experiments to see which drug it is sensitive to and find out which is the best antiviral for any given strain," he said.

"It's like a jigsaw, we have to find the pieces and see the big picture."

Yong and his researchers came to the latest conclusion after studying the molecular structure of the strain, which has been circulating in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam since 2004.

"We need to conduct in vitro experiments," he said, referring to experiments in a laboratory or other controlled settings. However, he could not say how effective a dual Tamiflu-amantadine therapy may be as Thailand has not tried administering such a treatment.

Their findings were published in the March issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Here's the article in Emerging Infectious Diseases, which also has several other articles of interest in this month's issue.

Posted by dymaxion at March 21, 2007 10:09 PM

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