Swine Flu Outbreak Map

23 March 2009

Drug-resistant flu strains throwing doctors a curve

from USA Today

Even as this year's flu season winds down, doctors say the implications of the spread of drug-resistant flu strains could resonate in seasons to come, affecting treatment and highlighting the need for faster flu tests, new drugs and global monitoring of flu viruses.

In recent years, because of rising concern about the potential for a flu pandemic, governments around the world have been stockpiling millions of doses of Tamiflu, along with smaller amounts of Relenza and older antivirals, amantadine and rimantadine.

Tamiflu still is effective against bird flu in most cases, though some variants show signs of reduced sensitivity, says Frederick Hayden of the Infectious Disease Society of America's Pandemic Flu Task Force. "It's important that we monitor susceptibility patterns, not only in humans but also in avian viruses."

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