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Published on 4 June 2010

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Mutations “make flu drugs useless”


New mutations in the influenza virus could soon make all but one of the drugs designed to fight it virtually useless, research has suggested.

A study published in the journal Science found that two changes in the genetic structure of the organism had made it more resistant to Roche’s Tamiflu, the current treatment of choice, as well as strengthening its survivability and contagiousness.

Research leader Jesse Bloom, of the California Institute of Technology, said the findings were surprising, because such mutations in drug resistance usually compromised a virus’s capability to spread..

“Something happened to make the Tamiflu-resistant virus also capable of replicating and spreading like wild-type flu viruses,” he said.

The news comes not long after the World Health Organization announced that the H1N1 pandemic had not ended.


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