Two Vietnamese patients who were infected with the H5N1 bird flu died in spite of having been treated with the new Roche drug, Tamiflu. The virus appears to have developed a resistance to the drug which is causing considerable concern among medical circles. The virus was seen to mutate in the patients, becoming more aggressive and killing the patients. The 274Y resistant strains were seen in both cases.
This has been reported by the British Wellcome Trust doctors to the New England Journal of Medicine. This calls for more antiviral drugs along with Tamiflu. This also means that taking low doses of the drug may prove to be dangerous as this will result in greater resistance to the drug and undermine its effects altogether. The UK Government alone has ordered for enough of the drug to cater to 25% of its population, with 3.5 million doses being delivered already.
The drug can still serve to reduce the severity of the attack of the virus. Instances of resistance to the drug has also been seen in Japan, especially in the case of children, adding to doubts with regard to the reliability of the drug which is being stockpiled across the world. The other drug which is available to counter the virus is the antiviral Relenza.