ANCHOR LEAD: WHAT DOES THE EMERGENCE OF DRUG RESISTANT FLU MEAN FOR CONTROLLING ITS SPREAD? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
For the first time, one strain of flu circulating in the United States is resistant to osaltamivir, marketed as Tamiflu. This is concerning for many reasons, but especially because we’ve been stockpiling this medication for use against a pandemic strain of flu, and emerging resistance could render this medication ineffective. Aaron Milstone, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, says there are other considerations .
MILSTONE: Other important measures that will need to be considered are how are we going to prevent the spread of influenza, not just treat people that are sick with influenza. There needs to be a greater push towards a comprehensive vaccine that will cover not just the circulating strains but give broader protection against other strains that may circulate. We need better rapid diagnostic tests to help distinguish what strains people have, so we know if you’re sick with a drug resistant virus that will help your doctor treat you. :30
Milstone says its good to know when resistant strains emerge because it also means surveillance is working. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.