NEWS

Drug-Resistant Swine Flu Arises and Then Dies in Danish Patient

By Matthew Harwood

A drug-resistant strain of swine flu appeared in a Danish patient and then apparently died out before the infection could spread.

The Danish patient's strain of swine flu was resistant to Tamiflu, an antiviral drug produced by the Swiss company, Roche. The drug has been the recommended medicine to fight the virus. If taken early, Tamiflu eases the symptoms of swine flu, making it less likely to spread, reports BBC.com.

The patient recovered after a competitor's drug was used, according to The New York Times.

An executive of Roche, the Swiss maker of Tamiflu, held a telephone news conference to describe the progress of the Danish patient, who apparently developed the resistant strain while being protectively treated with a low Tamiflu dose because a close contact had the swine flu. Doctors switched treatment to a different but related drug, Relenza, and the patient recovered.

The pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline manufactures Relenza.

Virologists continue to worry a mutated strain of the swine flu could occur if the current strain merges with seasonal H1N1 flu, possibly in the Southern Hemisphere as it enters flu season.

♦ Photo by ahisgett/Flickr

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