Tamiflu is no match for the A H1N1 strain of the flu. Samples tested since October 2008 have shown an almost 100% resistant for that strain to Tamiflu.
This is horrible news considering that the United States has Tamiflu as the antiviral of choose stockpiled in the event of a pandemic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now issued new guidelines for doctors when it comes to the flu. They are being advised to use Relenza or to use Tamiflu in combination with rimantadine is the main virus is the H1N1 strain in their communities.
Thankfully this had been a very mild flu season.
The flu vaccine each year is chosen from the three most prominent flu strains, two type A’s and one type B. Experts recommend the flu shot as the best defense from the flu.
The new findings bring to light the fear that doctors have had that misuse of Tamiflu could make it resistant. Tamiflu has been on the market for 10 years. Because the experts believed that the flu could become resistant of Tamiflu they wanted Relenza to be stockpiled in the same numbers. That has not been the case, Tamiflu has been stockpiled at a rate of four to one when it comes to Relenza.
The LA Times reports:
“There have been people, and I’m one of them, that have suggested that there be more of an equal stockpiling of oseltamivir and zanamivir,” said Dr. Anne Moscona, a pediatrician and professor of microbiology and immunology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The lure of Tamiflu is that it can be taken in both pill or liquid form and the general public can receive it. Relenza must be inhaled and can not be used in cases dealing with young children or the elderly.
The resistance to Tamiflu is not from overuse though. It appears that the resistant strain mutated naturally.