The Roche group of Basel says it has reports of 13 cases of pandemic swine flu becoming resistant to its antiviral drug Tamiflu, which it calls a very low percentage.This content was published on September 7, 2009 - 16:08
A good sign is that the people who had the resistant strain have not passed the disease on to other people, said David Reddy, head of Roche's Tamiflu pandemic task force.
The 13 cases were scattered around the world in Europe, the United States and Asia, he said.
Tamiflu is one of two main antivirals in use against A/H1N1 flu as the world awaits the widespread availability of a vaccine against the disease.
Reddy told a news conference that the low rate of resistance was in line with tests the company had conducted, which indicated that 0.32 percent of adults and four percent of children who took the Roche drug developed resistance to it.
Reddy told the Associated Press news agency that it wasn't certain why the 13 patients developed the resistance while taking the drug, but that there was an indication that many were taking only half a dose.
William Burns, chief executive of the Roche pharma division, said the company was ready to increase production of the drug to 400 million individual treatment packages if needed as the pandemic virus is expected to spread in the northern hemisphere this winter.
swissinfo.ch and agencies
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