Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Old drug might become arsenal in bird flu fight

A drug created in the 1970s to combat the seasonal flu, just might be the next weapon to fight the bird flu along with Tamiflu.

Initial tests among the first avian bird flu victims in Southeast Asia suggested the virus was resistant to amantadine, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. But evidence is mounting that amantadine might be effective against some of the 130 strains of the H5N1 bird flu virus that have been sequenced.

WHO ( World Health Organization ) officials in Geneva told reporters the H5N1 strains found in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia seem to be mostly resistant, but strains from China, Indonesia and Turkey seem to be somewhat sensitive to the drug.

Tamiflu is the current vaccine of choice in most plans to combat bird flu should the virus evolve and cause a pandemic. However, experts at the World Health Organization note amantadine and its older cousin, rimantadine, are produced by many generic drug makers, offering a potentially huge supply at costs far lower than Tamiflu’s.

Posted by john T. on 03/15 at 06:08 PM
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