Drug resistance has been detected in patients, who are infected with the new bird flu that has emerged in China. The new bird flu is H7N9 virus has become resistant to the main flu drug Tamiflu. Three out of 14 patients found resistant to this drug, while being treated with antiviral drugs at Shanghai Public Health Clinical Centre, as reported by BBC.
The researchers said that resistance emerged with ‘apparent ease’ and was ‘concerning’, though no new cases of the infection were reported for more than two weeks. Doctors and researchers have analyzed the virus in 14 patients; they all had pneumonia and half needed ventilation to keep them alive. Treatment with anti-viral drugs reduced levels of H7N9 in most patients and led to an improvement in symptoms. The anti-viral treatment failed in three patients and genetic testing of the virus in these patients showed it had acquired the mutations needed to resist the drugs.
According to the doctors, at least in one patient the emergence of resistance was a direct consequence of treatment with Tamiflu and in such cases; such antiviral drugs are the only way of treating the infection. The researchers stated that the apparent ease with which antiviral resistance emerges in H7N9 viruses is concerning, it needs to be closely monitored and considered in future pandemic response plans.
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