Bird flu warning: Antiviral pill may be useless

In 1933, MRC (Medical Research Council) researchers identified human influenza virus, at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) in London – which was to become one of the most important centres in the world for flu research.

Since then the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) has been at the forefront of research in to the Influenza viruses.

It is therefore more than a little disturbing when Dr Alan Hay, a distinguished NIMR scientist drops a bombshell about the Human Influenza virus and the so called antiviral protection against the virus.

Apparently, all those countries which have been spending Millions of Dollars stockpiling Tamiflu, the main antiviral drug used to protect humans against the Bird Flu, have been wasting their money!

A Report co-authored by Alan Hay, of the UK’s National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) says that the Tamiflu is useless against the mutations of the Bird Flu virus.

The report suggests that the mutations of the H5N1 Bird Flu virus, that have emerged in human influenza, are resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

However, according to the same report, the mutations are still “strongly inhibited” by an alternative drug, Relenza.

Both drugs are commonly stockpiled but governments both in Australia and around the world have favoured the more convenient Tamiflu pill ahead of the inhaled medicine Relenza.

“The mutations cause resistance to Tamiflu but not Relenza,” Dr Hay told ABC Radio.

“It’s clear that there is greater potential for Tamiflu-resistant viruses to emerge than was previously thought. Relying on a single drug is foolhardy when more than one drug is available.”

Dr Hay says one implication of the new research is that governments should stockpile greater courses of Relenza.

That is of course, until the new drug Relenza, also becomes useless against the influenza virus due to further mutations of the virus!

Credits:

www.birdflubreakingnews.com 

http://www.nimr.mrc.ac.uk/

http://www.nature.com/nature

http://www.news.com.au/couriermail

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