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The flu strain most likely to strike this winter has proved to be a near-total resistant to one of the most popular drugs prescribed to block its symptoms.

Over 98% of one of the influenza A viruses circulating this winter is now resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu, while two years ago this percentage was less than 1 percent.

The increased resistance, which is complicating the work of physicians, appears to be the result of a natural mutation and not over-prescription of the 10-year-old drug.
Other alternative antivirals come with their own resistance issues and side effects. Tamiflu was and still is the best useful antiviral that can be used against influenza right now.

With such increasing resistance to antiviral drugs, flu prevention is even more important: Currently, vaccination is the best prevention for illness due to influenza infection. It is still available and can provide protection within two weeks.

Physicians got the bad news about Tamiflu back in December as well as new CDC guidelines on which antiviral drugs are still effective against which flu viruses. They were already struggling with resistance among B-type viruses and another A-type flu bug, H3N2, to another class of antiviral medicines called adamantanes. Tamiflu still works for those.


Sounds like the pathogenic viruses are winning. It takes many years to test and develop a new drug, but the viruses can mutate and develop drug resistance in much less time. It becomes all the more important that one should try to stay healthy.