Thursday, December 22, 2005

December 22 Flu Update

Two Indonesian deaths from earlier this month are now lab-confirmed H5N1.

ProMed on the two deaths. Note that these are not "new" in that they have been reported previously.

Its safe to say that the story of the two patients who were Tamiflu resistant was all over the news today. We're not going to link to each one--suffice it to say this was typical--special emphasis on the word "alarm."

Roche's reaction, captured here, is to say that it may need to adjust its dosage and duration...alarming in its own way, since there were shortages at the previous dosage and duration.

The currently approved dose and duration of Tamiflu therefore remains the minimum required for the treatment of pandemic influenza. However when a pandemic strain emerges, it will be vital to test the susceptibility of the pandemic strain to Tamiflu to determine the optimal dose and duration

A news story on the Roche reaction.

CIDRAP has a report, which takes the story from the NEJM to the comments by the relavent parties.

Effect Measure comment on the science of the report, the "fitness" of the resistant virus, and then what may be the salient point: that too much hope was placed in Tamiflu in the first place.

ProMed on the Tamiflu resistance. Here's a mod comment:

The development of resistance to any antiviral agent, such as oseltamivir, which targets a specific viral protein (the viral neuraminidase), is not an unexpected event. It does suggest, however, that Tamiflu should be used primarily for pre-exposure protection of healthcare personnel and others in vulnerable occupations, rather than for treatment of patients exhibiting early or late symptoms of influenza virus infection.

Finally, Recombinomics says that sub-optimal dosing could be creating the resistance.

There's a new drug which could soon be on everyone's lips--especially on the heels of yesterday's Tamifu news. Its called peramivir, and its made by a small company called BioCryst in Alabama.

Pre-clinical testing in mice has shown that the injectable drug could cure victims of the avian flu virus with no side effects, said Nugent, and the National Institutes of Health is providing funding for the tests. The government has not offered Biocryst a contract at this time.
The Russian Ag Ministry says there are no known cases of bird flu in the country.

On the other hand, bird outbreaks continue to be announced nearly everyday in Romania.

ProMed on Romania.

Russia says it has a miraculous flu "antidote" that it will begin to make in 2006.

"We have developed a brand new disinfectant made of natural ingredients that can kill the virus in the air, in the water and on any surface," Ishchenko said.

The quarantine has been lifted in Yongzhou, a heavily hit Chinese region.

Effect Measure on the Chinese "openness."

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