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Tamiflu may be useless

by: iwrote1

Wed Apr 29, 2009 at 11:41:15 AM EDT

There was a recent debate over whether to call this bug the Swine Flu, the Mexican Flu, or something else... and it seems that a decision was made by our politically correct politicians. So from here on out they will be calling it simply "The H1N1 Virus."

Hmmm, for those who didn't know it, before we ever starting hearing about this Mexican Flu outbreak, the CDC had already identified "The H1N1 Virus" as the most common strain of influenza in the United States for this year. I read all about it in a March 5th, 2009 news article that informed us that Tamiflu was proving itself ineffective against 'The H1N1 Virus.' So you may want to save your money or go for the more promising 'Relenza' if you want some amount of protection.

Resistance to flu drug widespread in U.S. March, 05, 2009.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Virtually all cases of the most common strain of flu circulating in the United States now resist the main drug used to treat it, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday.

CDC researchers said 98 percent of all flu samples from the H1N1 strain were resistant to Roche AG's Tamiflua pill that can both treat flu and prevent infection. Four patients infected with the resistant strain have died, including two children.

This year, H1N1 is the most common strain of flu in the United States, although the flu season is a mild one so far, and still below the levels considered an epidemic.

Few doctors even test patients for flu, and Tamiflu is not widely prescribed. But the news is sobering because the pill, known generically as oseltamivir, is one of the few weapons against influenza, which kills an estimated 36,000 people in the United States in an average year.

It is also considered a key weapon against a potential pandemic of a new type of influenza, and this study suggests the virus can rapidly evade its effects.

This season, nine children have died from influenza, most apparently healthy before they died of flu, the CDC reports.

Last flu season, only 19 percent of H1N1 viruses tested were Tamiflu-resistant, Dr. Nila Dharan and colleagues at the CDC reported.

"As of February 19, 2009, resistance to oseltamivir had been identified among 264 of 268 (98.5 percent) U.S. influenza A(H1N1) viruses tested," the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


They interviewed 99 patients and found 30 percent of them had been vaccinated against flu but became infected anyway. The vaccine is known not to fully protect against infection.

"Two patients died on the way to the hospital or in the emergency department. One patient was 4 years old and previously healthy, and one patient was 4 years old with neurological problems," Dharan's team wrote.

"Two deaths were among hospitalized patients, one patient was a 1-year-old with multiple medical problems and one patient, hospitalized for a stem cell transplant, was 22 years old and diagnosed with influenza infection on the fifth day of hospitalization," they added.

Dr. David Weinstock of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Dr. Gianna Zuccotti of Brigham and Women's Hospital, both in Boston, said the quick spread of Tamiflu-resistant flu had surprised doctors.

"Undoubtedly, new surprises await in the perpetual struggle with influenza as one thing is certain -- the organism will continue to evolve," they wrote.

"For now, the best tools to mitigate influenza infection are tried-and-true -- vaccination, social distancing, hand washing, and common sense."

GlaxoSmithKline, which makes the rival flu drug Relenza, said there was no indication influenza viruses were resistant to its drug. Relenza, known generically as zanamivir, is squirted into the nose and is used even less commonly than Tamiflu.

Flu already resists two older drugs, rimantadine and amantadine. There is no indication the two other types of season flu now circulating, H3N2 and influenza B, resist the effects of Tamiflu.

iwrote1 :: Tamiflu may be useless
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I'm certainly no doctor, but I wouldn't be surprised to see the novel H1N1 virus rapidly develop resistance to Tamiflu as it becomes more widespread and Tamiflu is used everywhere to combat it.

Totally irrelevant article
Check the date of that news article you posted.  It is a different strain, present way before this swine flu arrived in the USA.  So, we can happily conclude that old article is entirely irrelevant.  

I read today Tamiflu and Relenza work against the current swine flu. Lets all pray that holds for the next year or so.  

While I won't argue the point as obviously you're an expert, I did note the date of the news article before I posted it, and it's only (1) one month before the mexican flu strain was identified. So what does "...way before this present swine flu arrived in the USA" mean? One month is way before?

Nevertheless, if Tamiflu is working then praise the Lord, but all I did was passed this report on because it seemed relevant to the times and not out of date and irrelevant as you're implying.

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

[ Parent ]
Is not irrelevant
As this article shows, influenza has the potential to rapidly become resistant to anti-virals such as Tamiflu.  This past flu seasons human H1N1 seemed to do so almost overnight.  The swine (now human) H1N1 may or may not do so.  No one knows.  But if it does, then we are down to only one remaining weapon, Relenza.  Let us hope this virus does not pick up the genetic material from it's cousin to circumvent Tamiflu.  We've got enough problems already.

[ Parent ]
I spoke to my physician about Tamiflu this morning
What I was told was that after looking at all the information available to her, she felt Tamiflu was being over hyped by the Media and was, in fact, quite aggravated about it. She isn't convinced that it's the best drug (if there is one) for the swine flu. That being the case, I wonder if the govt. has also stockpiled Relenza in addition to the Tamiflu?  


"History never looks like history when you are living through it." ~John W. Gardner


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