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H7N9 Bird Flu Might Easily Develop Resistance To Common Treatments, Research Shows

“Scientists have found that a mutation in a new strain of bird flu infecting people in China can render it resistant to a key first-line treatment drug without limiting its ability to spread in mammals,” Reuters reports. Researchers “found [H7N9] was highly resistant to Tamiflu, but also that it still had the ability to infect human cells in a laboratory dish, and spread between laboratory animals just as efficiently as its non-mutated counterpart,” the news agency writes, adding, “While this does not make H7N9 any more likely to develop into a human pandemic, researchers said it means doctors should be prudent in their use of antiviral medicines to treat H7N9 cases, and consider using drugs other than Tamiflu, such as GlaxoSmithKline’s Relenza, where possible” (Kelland, 12/10).