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Avian flu more resistant to antiviral drugs

A University of Colorado at Boulder study shows the resistance of the avian flu virus to a major class of antiviral drugs is increasing through positive evolutionary selection.

Avian Influenza A subtype H5N1, is evolving a resistance to a group of antiviral drugs known as adamantanes, one of two classes of antiviral drugs used to prevent and treat flu symptoms, said CU-Boulder doctoral student Andrew Hill, lead study author.

The rise of resistance to adamantanes -- which include the nonprescription drugs amantadine and rimantadane -- appears to be linked to Chinese farmers adding the drugs to chicken feed as a flu preventative, according to a 2008 paper by researchers from China Agricultural University, said Hill.

In contrast, resistance of the avian flu virus to the second, newer class of antiviral drugs that includes oseltamivir -- a prescription drug marketed under the brand name Tamiflu -- is present, but is not yet prevalent or under positive genetic selection, said Hill.
The CU findings should help health administrators around the world plan for the possibility of an avian flu pandemic.
For more information go to Infection Control Today
(Photo: Courtesy 3Dscience.com)

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