Skip to comments.Bird flu virus resistant to Tamiflu
Posted on 10/14/2005 4:34:28 PM PDT by neverdem
AP SCIENCE WRITER
NEW YORK -- Bird flu virus found in a Vietnamese girl was resistant to the main drug that's being stockpiled in case of a pandemic, a sign that it's important to keep a second drug on hand as well, a researcher said Friday.
He said the finding was no reason to panic.
The drug in question, Tamiflu, still attacks "the vast majority of the viruses out there," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Tokyo and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The drug, produced by Swiss-based Roche Holding AG, is in short supply as nations around the world try to stock up on it in case of a global flu pandemic.
Kawaoka said the case of resistant virus in the 14-year-old girl is "only one case, and whether that condition was something unique we don't know."
He also said it's not surprising to see some resistance to Tamiflu in treated individuals, because resistance has also been seen with human flu.
In lab tests, the girl's Tamiflu-resistant virus was susceptible to another drug, Relenza, which is made by GlaxoSmithKline.
Kawaoka and colleagues report the case in the Oct. 20 issue of the journal Nature, which released the study Friday. The researchers conclude that it might be useful to stockpile Relenza as well as Tamiflu.
There's no evidence that so-called H5N1 viruses - like the one recovered from the girl - are becoming generally resistant to the class of drugs that includes Tamiflu, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
Both Tamiflu and Relenza are being stockpiled by the U.S. government. Doctors have good reason to believe Tamiflu would be effective at combatting a pandemic strain of bird flu, although it's not clear how long people would have to be treated or what doses they'd need, said Dr. John Treanor of the University of Rochester.
In adults with mild cases of ordinary flu, Tamiflu speeds up recovery by a day or two, he said. Its effect on severe flu like bird flu isn't clear, he said.
The new report, while not surprising, shows scientists must find out more about how people with bird flu respond to Tamiflu and how often they shed drug-resistant virus, he said.
The shed virus could become a problem if it is transmitted to other people, he said. He noted that in the new report, as in prior studies, the resistant virus was less able to reproduce itself than normal virus was, which might cut down on the chance of transmission.
The girl, who had been caring for an older brother with the disease, had been taking low doses of Tamiflu as a preventive measure when the virus was isolated in late February. She later got sick and was given higher doses. She recovered and left the hospital in March.
Kawaoka said it's not clear whether the low preventive dose had encouraged the emergence of drug resistance.
Dr. William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University called the report important and said it shows the importance of watching for drug resistance.
"It is not unusual to find the occasional resistant virus," he said. "It could be just a biological oddity, or we could see this more frequently.
"This is a blip on the radar screen, and it surely does mean that we have to keep the radar operative," Schaffner said. "We have to keep testing more viruses."
Does it make any difference whether I stick my head in the sand? I dunno.
The text contradicts the headline.
Hope for a vaccine. The entire world population won't get vaccinated because of limited supplies. We have the trial lawyers to thank for driving most of the vaccine companies out of business in the U.S.. If not vaccinated, avoid crowds, contact with the ill and/or the public in general. If it happens, it won't be pretty.
Wasn't there an article not to long ago that mentioned partial Tamiflu resistance?
Good thing we're being kept right up to date on this, isn't it?
Instead of trying to find a human vaccine, they should be trying to come up with a vaccine for chickens and turkeys. It's more likely to wipe out our poultry industry than our human population, and if it mutates so that it can be easily transmitted from human to human, the vaccine they are working on now won't necessarily work.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list. Anyone can post any unrelated link as they see fit.
There has been some blog chatter that the new 3M P100 or N100 masks could provide 100+ hours of protection. They are not expensive or hard to get at the moment. I bought a couple as a "just in case" measure. Even if the pandemic never happens I can always use one in my shop!
Yes, but we're really all guessing at this point. Until the virus breaks through to sustained human to human transmission we can neither make a vaccine nor judge what drugs will be most effective against it.
The limited cases where humans have acquired this are too few to conduct any sort of clinical trial.
Perhaps some bio-engineering by the Chinese?
"Hope for a vaccine. The entire world population won't get vaccinated because of limited supplies. We have the trial lawyers to thank for driving most of the vaccine companies out of business in the U.S.. If not vaccinated, avoid crowds, contact with the ill and/or the public in general. If it happens, it won't be pretty."
This bird flu sounds scary ... but so did "10,000+ dead" from hurricane Katrina. I pray this is media hype.
No it is Bush's fault.
My theory is that it's time to quit depriving myself of chocolate. Eat, drink and .....
Unless other people blow their noses on your toothbrush or you use it to clean the toilet, why worry?
That's great for bubbling earwax out, but you don't catch colds and flus through your ear.
In terms of a flu pandemic, I might suggest that folks buy a few of the cheap N100 paper masks and stash them away. Remember that folks wore those to get around in Hong Kong during the SARS scare. Having a mask could enable a person to remain mobile and relatively safe during the peak weeks of a pandemic.
A 50% fatality rate is nothing to...uhhhh...sneeze at.
I guess it is actually a capsule, not a tablet. Can still split the dose. There is a suspension form available also.
I found 3M N95 Masks at http://www.3MMasks.com for reasonable proces. Other sites too. I remember the SARS days when these masks were 5 dollars each so I bought some too early. I am not happy that you cannot buy Tamiflu without a prescription.
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