Two die after h7n9 bird flu virus develops drug resistance:The Lancet reports that H7N9 is already showing the ability to mutate to avoid treatment with Tamiflu

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
By Paul Martin

James Meikle
The Guardian
Tuesday 28 May 2013

Scientists have found the first cases of the new bird flu virus proving resistant to treatment with Tamiflu or similar drugs. The virus has so far killed 36 people in China and been confirmed in 95 others.

The analysis of the course of the H7N9 bird flu virus and use of antivirals in 14 patients, reported in the Lancet medical journal, found that three severely ill people did not respond to the group of medicines that are the standard weapon against threatened flu pandemics. Two died and the third still needed specialist equipment to oxygenate their blood at the time the research paper was submitted.

The authors, from Shanghai and Hong Kong, said that in these cases genetic testing showed a mutation. In one patient, it seemed to have occurred after the infection took hold, probably as a result of the treatment.

They said: “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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