BETHESDA, MD — A new study from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) warns that drug resistance to the H1N1 influenza virus is a realistic threat that has already occurred in some cases, according to Clinical Infectious Disease.
According to the story, in two recent cases, and in patients with limited immune functions, drug-resistant H1N1 influenza developed in less than two weeks.
H1N1 and seasonal influenza are both still active in the Southeast United States and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to encourage vaccination, the story stated.
NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci said: "While the emergence of drug-resistant influenza virus is not in itself surprising, these cases demonstrate that resistant strains can emerge after only a brief period of drug therapy. We have a limited number of drugs available for treating influenza and these findings provide additional urgency to efforts to develop antivirals that attack influenza virus in novel ways."
Resistance to drugs such as Tamiflu, Peramivir and Relenza had previously been noted in genetic mutations of the influenza virus, but not in the H1N1 strain until recently, the story noted.
Roughly 80 percent of H1N1 influenza deaths in 2009 occurred among individuals with underlying health conditions and most were between the ages of 50 and 64 years, the story added.
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