WHO examines drug use against swine flu

29th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that it will consult experts on anti-viral drug use against the swine flu pandemic.

Geneva -- The World Health Organisation said Tuesday that it will consult experts on the way anti-viral drugs such as Tamiflu are used to tackle the swine flu pandemic, and possible drug resistance.

"In the coming days we're having technical consultations by teleconference regarding antivirals," said spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi.

"But as of now WHO's recommendations for use of antivirals has not changed," she added.

"They will be looking at specifics related to antiviral resistance and use of oseltamivir. WHO's recommendation for use of oseltamivir is for treatment," she underlined.

Oseltamivir is the active ingredient of Tamiflu, one of two drugs the WHO recommends to treat influenza A(H1N1).

Different countries have gradually evolved different approaches on the use of Tamiflu -- normally a prescription drug -- and some have been distributing it more widely than others.

But some doctors express concern that excessive use, especially for preventive purposes or to tackle mild symptoms, could lead to the development of wider drug resistance and reduce the effectiveness of Tamiflu.

Health officials in Canada recently identified a case of drug resistance, adding to cases in Denmark, Hong Kong and Japan.

Roche, the manufacturers of Tamiflu, has said it expects a 0.5 percent rate of case resistance based on clinical trials.

AFP / Expatica

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