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WHO Refreshes Advice on Effectiveness of Anti-Virals

24 Aug 09

Whilst anti-viral drugs (such as Tamiflu and Relenza) continue to be strongly recommended for those individuals at most risk of complications – such as pregnant women and patients with underlying medical conditions – the latest World Health Organization guidelines for Swine Flu recommend that the majority of sufferers avoid such medicines in the absence of a severe bout of the illness. Indeed, in spite of WHO reassurances that an underlying medical condition does not guarantee a severe bout of the illness, a number of new studies confirm the suspicion that the majority of H1N1-related fatalities are occurring most prominently amongst those patients already suffering from pre-existing illnesses. For these individuals, WHO officials say, antiviral drugs such as Roche’s Tamiflu still contribute to the recommended course of treatment. Yet as researchers continue to monitor any potential resistance to the drugs, there is currently no meaningful evidence to suggest that any mutations have materialised.

"Worldwide, around 40 percent of severe cases are now occurring in previously healthy children and adults, usually under the age of 50”, the study shows, with researchers adding that "Some of these patients experience a sudden and very rapid deterioration in their clinical condition, usually on day 5 or 6 following the onset of symptoms”.

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