Common Flu Exhibits Drug Resistance

Up to 10% of cases in West don't respond to Tamiflu treatment
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 1, 2008 4:39 PM CST
An undated company photo provided by Swiss pharmaceutical concern Roche Products shows a worker supervising the package of the Tamiflu. (AP Photo/Keystone, Roche)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A widespread strain of the influenza virus is proving to be resistant to a common treatment, Time reports. The H1N1 virus, a subtype of influenza A (not to be confused with H5N1, the avian or bird flu) has shown rates of resistance of up to 10% in Europe, Canada, and the US for the drug oseltamivir, sold as Tamiflu.

Health officials said the resistance is not much to worry about. "Influenza A has been circulating for many years," said one. "It's not likely to cause a pandemic." What’s puzzling is the development of resistance. Norway, which doesn’t generally prescribe Tamiflu, saw a 75% resistance rate, but Japan, where Tamiflu use is common, has just a 3% resistance rate.