Sunday, July 5, 2009

A third resistant case

OseltamivirImage via Wikipedia
Detected in Hong Kong; other cases in Denmark and Japan 

HONG KONG - Hong Kong on Friday detected a strain of H1N1 that was resistant to Tamiflu, the health department reported on its website, during routine tests of its sensitivity to anti-virals.

The case came as the Japanese health ministry said doctors had detected the second case worldwide of a patient resistant to Tamiflu.

In the Hong Kong case, the resistant virus was isolated from a specimen taken from a 16-year-old girl who arrived in the southern Chinese city from San Francisco last month. But the strain is not resistant to the other anti-viral drug, Relenza, the health department said.

A spokeswoman for Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Roche, which makes Tamiflu, said the company had been informed of the case and called it "normal". She said "0.4 per cent of adults develop resistance" to Tamiflu.

In Japan, the health ministry said doctors in Osaka prefecture had identified a woman who was resistant to Tamiflu - the second such case, after one found in Denmark. The Japanese woman had since been treated with Relenza and was recovering, Kyodo news agency reported Thursday.

In Washington, the White House is set to hold a high-level meeting next week to prepare for the possibility of a more severe H1N1 flu outbreak.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week at least 1 million people in America have had the flu, taking into account many cases gone unreported to the authorities. There have been about 287,000 confirmed cases and 127 deaths.

World Health Organization Director-General Dr Margaret Chan and the world's health ministers met on Thursday in Mexico for a two-day summit to devise strategies amid fresh concern over the pandemic's spread. The flu is running wild in the southern hemisphere and is spreading rapidly through Europe.

Argentina has seen a sharp rise in fatalities, with the number of dead rising from 26 to 43 within five days. Argentina has surpassed Canada as the country with the most H1N1-linked deaths after the US and Mexico. AGENCIES

From TODAY, World – Saturday, 04-Jul-2009