-- E.J. Mundell
TUESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Chinese scientists say
they've identified the first cases of resistance to the flu drug
Tamiflu in a person infected with the emerging H7N9 avian flu
BBC News, there have been 131 confirmed cases in China of
the new "bird" flu in humans so far, including 36 deaths. No new
cases have been identified in over two weeks.
According to the new report, published online May 28 in
The Lancet, viral samples from three of 14 patients treated
for H7N9 in a Shanghai hospital tested positive for resistance to
Tamiflu (oseltamivir). These three patients were also the most
severely ill -- two died, and the third was still on mechanical
ventilation at the time the
Lancetpaper was published.
"The apparent ease with which antiviral resistance emerges in A/H7N9 [flu] viruses is concerning; it needs to be closely monitored and considered in future pandemic response plans," wrote the team led by Dr. Zhenghong Yuan of Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, in China, and Dr. Malik Peiris, of the University of Hong Kong.
According to the researchers, the 14 people who are the focus of
the report were confirmed to be infected with H7N9 in April, and
doctors monitored ongoing viral severity through blood, throat,
stool and urine sampling. All of the patients went on to develop
pneumonia, and seven got so sick they needed to be placed on
ventilators or other technologies to help them take in enough
Viral analysis revealed that three of the most severe cases were
resistant to neuraminidase inhibitors -- the class of drugs
including Tamiflu. Patients who were responsive to these drugs
showed a lessening of viral disease and better and quicker
recovery, the researchers said.
The three patients whose virus seemed resistant to Tamiflu
carried mutations that have been noted in other cases of resistance
to the drug. One patient appears to have developed the mutation
only after being treated with Tamiflu, suggesting that H7N9 might
mutate around the drug with relative ease, the Chinese team
Find out more about the H7N9 flu strain at the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
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