skip to Main Content


What happens when a prosperous industrial nation decides to give out antivirals to the masses?  Well, we will see!  This is an experiment unfolding before our eyes.

Drug Resistance is the Main Concern

The UK has given out thousands of doses of Tamiflu
The UK has given out thousands of doses of Tamiflu

The UK government rejected advice from its expert advisers on influenza pandemic H1N1, who said there was no need for the widespread use of Tamiflu and suggested that the public should simply be told to take paracetamol. An independent panel set up by the Department of Health warned health ministers that plan to make the stockpiled drug widely available could do more harm than good, by helping the flu virus to develop resistance to the drug.   However, those health ministers pressed ahead with a policy of mass prescription, fearing the public would not tolerate being told that the millions of doses of Tamiflu held by the state could not be used during a pandemic, one of the committee members has told the Guardian [newspaper]. “It was felt … it would simply be unacceptable to the UK population to tell them we had a huge stockpile of drugs but they were not going to be made available,” Professor Robert Dingwall, a member of the Committee on Ethical Aspects of Pandemic Influenza, said. On August 16, one of the country’s foremost flu experts called for the national helpline to be shut down to stop hundreds of thousands of doses of Tamiflu going out in an unregulated way, which could render it useless when a more dominant strain returns in the autumn.

Antivirals Should Be Given to High Risk Groups

As it became clear that the current outbreak only had mild symptoms, the committee recommended that antivirals should only be given to those in high-risk categories, like pregnant women or people with existing respiratory illnesses. It suggested the government explain to people that they would not be given medicine they did not need and should use off-the-shelf flu treatments.

No Magic Bullet

Oxford University researchers have warned that antivirals are not a “magic bullet” against flu and that resistance to the drug could develop, making it useless to fight any future and potentially more serious pandemic flu strain. Flu expert Hugh Pennington, emeritus professor at Aberdeen University, who called for the national flu line to be shut down, seconded the concern. “I am concerned about the vast amount of Tamiflu that is going out almost unregulated,” he told the Guardian. “We are increasing the possibility that the flu will become resistant sooner or later. At the moment, there is no desperate need for Tamiflu. We should be reconsidering its issue rather than encouraging its use. I think we should stop the national pandemic flu service. It was put there for an outbreak of far higher mortality than we have. If you get a resistant strain that becomes dominant in the autumn, Tamiflu will then be useless.”

The ProMed Editor went on to say…. The danger inherent in the uncontrolled dispensation of the anti-neuraminidase antiviral Tamiflu is already evident in the sporadic appearance of Tamiflu-resistant viruses. In all cases so far, resistance has been conferred by the same H275Y mutation in the NA gene. The spread of Tamiflu-resistant viruses may not be long delayed if there is restriction in the use of this drug. Fortunately, so far, all the Tamiflu-resistant viruses have remained sensitive to the alternate anti-neuraminidase drug Relenza (zanamivir).

PRO> ProMED Digest V2009 #386 –

The Guardian –

The Guardian –

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Business Continuity Management
Sort by

H1N1 (Swine Flu): Bird Flu Returns to Asia; First Confirmed Human Case in Hong Kong since 2003. Philippines On Alert, Screening At Airports

Bird flu has returned in Asia with a reported case in Hong Kong. A 59-year-old woman in the city contracted H5N1


H1N1 (Swine Flu): Two human infections with swine origin influenza A (H3N2) in the United States (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania)

Last week CDC reported 2 human infections with a novel swine origin influenza A (H3N2) virus in the United States


H1N1 (Swine Flu) Mutant Gene D222G Linked To Fatal Cases Might Have Disabled The Clearing Mechanism Of Lungs

A new study in the November issue of Virology suggests that suggests that the mutant virus, known as D222G, could


H1N1 (Swine Flu): CDC Lowers Annual Death Toll from 36,000 to 24,000

Last week, the CDC substantially lowered its often-quoted estimate of how many people die in a typical influenza


H1N1 (Swine Flu): The World Enters the Post Pandemic Phase

Today, Dr. Margaret Chan, the Director General of the World Health Organization announced that Phase 6 of the H1N1


H1N1 (Swine Flu): Wanna Lose Sleep At Night??? Read About Reassortment with H1N1 Pandemic Strain and H5N1 (Bird Flu)

The latest Journal of Virology, had an interesting article that has the ability to send chills down your spine…”High


This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top
×Close search