Roche: some resistance to Tamiflu

14th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche admits some cases of seasonal flu are drug resistant.

GENEVA - Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche said on Wednesday that its anti-viral treatment Tamiflu was effective in treating swine flu.

But it said some cases of drug resistance emerged with seasonal flu in winter 2008-2009.

"There was resistance against a seasonal strain of H1N1, where Tamiflu was not effective for a certain number of people," a Roche spokeswoman said.

However, the World Health Organisation "confirmed that Tamiflu is effective against the current swine flu," she added.

Potential mutations of the virus needed to be watched especially during the winter season which is beginning in the southern hemisphere, the Roche spokeswoman said.

On Wednesday, WHO official Nikki Shindo said the development of a vaccine against influenza A(H1N1) was partly prompted by "widespread evidence of oseltamivir resistance in seasonal influenza" during the winter of 2008-2009.

"So given that we have winter in Southern American countries and also the other parts of the southern hemisphere, there will be a risk of having viruses that will be highly resistant to antivirals," Shindo said.

Flu outbreaks are most active during winter.

Oseltamivir is the active ingredient in Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug which many national governments stock against influenza and a possible pandemic.

Roche said on Tuesday it was donating 5.65 million treatment courses of the drug to the WHO to help fight the swine flu outbreak and boosted its production capacity through October.

Without an efficient vaccine against influenza A(H1N1) for now, Tamiflu and Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline, are the only effective treatments.

AFP / Expatica

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