Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Treating the flu isn't easy

From the Owen Sound (Ont.) Times:
Early signs from this flu season suggest doctors face a vexing dilemma in treating the illness. Testing to date in Canada, the United States and Europe shows that nearly all H1N1 viruses are resistant to oseltamivir (sold as Tamiflu) and susceptible to the adamantane drugs, amantadine and rimantadine.

The inverse is true for H3N2 viruses, which are universally resistant to the adamantanes and susceptible to oseltamivir.

Given that in reality little point-of-care testing is done to determine whether a patient actually has influenza, let alone which variety of the bug is behind the illness, the resistance situation could see doctors making choices that lead to treatment failure this season.

"It definitely adds to the complexity of trying to manage influenza,'' said Dr. Maria Zambon, head of the respiratory viruses unit of Britain's Health Protection Agency. ...more

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