Friday, August 26, 2011

Swine Flu Genetic Mutation Resistant toTamiflu - H1N1 Flu Outbreak Reported in Australia’s Newcastle - 26th Aug 2011

More than two dozen cases of H1N1 swine flu resistant to Roche Holding AG (ROG)’s Tamiflu pill were reported in Australia in the largest outbreak of the drug- evading influenza strain.

Viruses from 25 of 184 patients in the Newcastle area of eastern Australia infected with the pandemic germ had a genetic mutation that reduces the potency of Tamiflu, scientists said in a report distributed today by the International Society for Infectious Diseases’ ProMED-mail program.

The cases, first reported in May, raise concern that the resistant strain may spread, leaving doctors without their preferred treatment for influenza. GlaxoSmithKline Plc (GSK)’s Relenza drug is effective against the mutant strain, which is still found in the Newcastle area, according to the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Centre for Influenza in Melbourne.

“As long as it’s isolated to Newcastle and that region, it’s not so much of a problem,” said Ian Barr, the center’s deputy director, in a telephone interview today. “If it spreads further, it might be a concern. Fortunately, we’re heading toward the end of our flu season.”

The cluster of cases with the mutant virus is the largest reported outbreak globally to date, and shows the new variant is capable of being transmitted efficiently in the absence of drug pressure, said Jennifer McKimm-Breschkin, a virologist at the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organization in Melbourne, who studies antiviral resistance. Read More