A  A  A   Print
China's Bird Flu's Drug Resistance Worries Experts

China's Bird Flu's Drug Resistance Worries Experts

TUESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Some strains of the new H7N9 bird flu virus that appeared in China this year are resistant to antiviral drugs, and tests can fail to identify that resistance, which could help accelerate their spread, a new study finds.

"We'd better get some vaccine seed stocks up and ready. The antiviral option for controlling H7N9 isn't too good," said study corresponding author Robert Webster, of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Researchers analyzed viruses taken from the first person known to have H7N9 infection and found that 35 percent of them were resistant to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), which are antiviral drugs used to treat H7N9 infections.

However, lab testing of the viruses failed to detect the strains that were resistant, so using lab tests to monitor the development of resistance in H7N9 would be useless, according to the authors of the study, published July 16 in the online journal mBio.

Resistant strains of H7N9 can flourish in patients treated with oseltamivir or zanamivir, inadvertently leading to the spread of resistant infections, explained Webster.

"If H7N9 does acquire human-to-human transmissibility, what do we have to treat it with until we have a vaccine? Oseltamivir. We would be in big trouble," he said in a journal news release.

H7N9 first appeared in China in early 2013, in some cases infecting people who had been in contact with poultry or had been in places where poultry are housed. The virus has since been detected in poultry at live markets near where human infections have been reported. As of July 12, the number of H7N9 infections was 132 and the number of deaths 43.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Infection has more about the H7N9 virus.

SOURCES: mBio, news release, July 16, 2013

 
Related Items

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.