London, July 1 (ANI): For the first time, the National Health Board of Denmark has announced a case of pandemic H1N1 flu resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
However, the board has claimed, "there is no evidence" that the virus has spread.
While the case is likely to be isolated, the discovery has led to calls questioning the policy in most European countries of giving low doses of Tamiflu to people in contact with infected people.
The Danish case, a contact of someone who caught swine flu abroad, was given Tamiflu as prophylaxis to prevent her getting sick, but she still developed symptoms.
Later she took Relenza, another antiviral drug, and recovered.
The State Serum Institute in Copenhagen found that her virus carried a mutation giving resistance to Tamiflu.
Thus, they are thinking that the resistance emerged during treatment rather than having been there already.
"Such a development is no surprise from a scientific point of view," New Scientist quoted David Reddy, head of the pandemic taskforce at Swiss company Roche, which produces Tamiflu.
Like antibiotics, antiviral drugs favour the survival of strains that resist the drug.
While Reddy said that the resistance in Danish case was unlikely to spread, but it is known that H1N1 viruses that resist Tamiflu are quite capable of spreading.
Already, the normal seasonal H1N1 virus became almost entirely Tamiflu resistant over the past two years.
Thus, scientists fear the pandemic virus, also a member of the H1N1 family, might acquire Tamiflu resistance by interbreeding with these ordinary strains.
It might also evolve resistance by exposure to the drug. (ANI)