April 11, 2013
H7N9: Already resistant?
It's early Friday morning in China, and South China Morning Post starts the day with unwelcome news: Flu toll rises amid concerns H7N9 has resistance to Tamiflu, Relenza. Excerpt:
The H7N9 bird flu virus claimed another life yesterday and five more people were confirmed to have contracted it.
That brings to 38 the number of cases confirmed by mainland authorities since the first on March 31, with 10 dead.
A four-year-old boy in Shanghai has been discharged after making a full recovery.
A 74-year-old retired man in Shanghai became the tenth death. He was diagnosed with pneumonia on Tuesday, confirmed to be infected with H7N9 on Wednesday and died yesterday, Shanghai authorities said.
An 83-year-old woman and 68-year-old man were also being treated and in stable condition.
In Jiangsu, a 31-year-old Yangzhou cook and a 56-year-old Suzhou teacher were in critical condition, provincial health officials said.
Scientists and public health experts have been racing against the clock to study the virus, which has jumped for the first time from birds to humans. A gene mutation known to help resist Tamiflu, one of the drugs recommended for treating H7N9, was found in the first of three H7N9 specimens from a Shanghai patient. The mutation, known as R292K, causes high-level resistance to the Roche-made drug and reduced sensitivity to a related drug from GlaxoSmithKline, Relenza, also recommended for treating H7N9 patients, according to information posted on the website of the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data.
Other H7N9 specimens from a patient in Shanghai and one in Anhui province do not show the mutation.