Effectiveness of Tamiflu in Preventing the Spread of Bird Flu Virus
Roche Holding AG reassured the public that their influenza drug Tamiflu
is effective against the H5N1 avian influenza virus if administered
early. This is following a controversial study published yesterday by
Lancet claiming the drug is not as effective as it has been represented
to be. Roche presented their evidence today at the Central Role for
Antivirals in London.
Roches study suggests that Tamiflu can prevent H5N1 mortality in animals
but says that further research is needed to determine the appropriate
dosages if administered after the first 24 or 48 hours of infection.
The Lancet study was funded by England’s Health Department and the
Piemonte region of Italy. They analyzed the data from 50 clinical trials
of flu medications including Tamiflu.
The study in Lancet found that both Tamilfu and Relenza (produced by
GlaxoSmithKline) are effective at ameliorating traditional symptoms of
seasonal influenza. This is the common type A or B influenza. They
found that these drugs do not treat other viruses that cause “flu-like”
Dr. Tom Jefferson, an epidemiologist based in Rome, conducted the
researcher that appears in Lancet. He says that doctors should not
over-use Tamilflu. Jefferson is worried that if doctors are not sure
what virus they are treating that a resistance to the drug will
“increase” and it will eventually lose its effectiveness.
Just last week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) advised doctors to
quit using amantadine and rimantadine because this seasons flu strain
has become resistant to them.
According to CDC director Julie Gerberding, reports that tests of 120
samples of H3N2, the dominant flu strain affecting the U.S., indicated
the virus was resistant to the generic anti-virals amantadine and
rimantadine in 91% of the cases.
Two studies showed that Tamiflu prevented the transmission of the
influenza virus between family members. Other studies showed the drug
does not completely stop the virus from being “shed” from infected
people to others. This may suggest the drug will not prevent the spread
of a virus during an epidemic.
Dr. Jefferson recommends the use of Tamilfu during an epidemic since
instances of influenza A and B will increase. According to the
newsinferno website this will increase the “effectiveness of the drug in
terms of the number of people who might benefit from it.”
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Bird Flu Books
Keywords and misspellings: bird flue influensa tamiflu tamaflu