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Drug Resistant Flu Cases on the Rise

Resistance to Canadian drugs appears to be on the rise in certain strains of the flu virus, according to two new studies which are set to be published in the January 1st, 2011 edition of the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

The first study focuses on the person-to-person transmission of a strain of Canada drug-resistant influenza in a hematology unit in the United Kingdom, while the second takes a wider view, examining twenty eight cases of the seasonal HIN1 virus that had resistance to two common drugs – adamantine and oseltamavir - in five separate countries between the years of 2008 and 2010. The studies raise concerns about the possible threat to public health from flu viruses that may be immune to traditional Canadian drugs, and the need for alternative methods of treatment.

“Because only two classes of antiviral agents are approved, the detection of viruses with resistance to drugs in both classes is concerning,” notes Dr Larisa Gubavera, MD, PhD from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, who was senior author on the second study. “If circulation of viruses with dual resistance becomes more widespread among any of the predominant circulating influenza A viruses, treatment options will be extremely limited. New antiviral agents and strategies for antiviral therapy are likely to be necessary in the future.” The worry is that other strains of flu virus could come into contact with the Canada drug resistant viruses and mutate, becoming resistant themselves.

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