Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Chinese misuse ruins drug against avian flu

People in China have apparently been using the anti-influenza drug amantadine indiscriminantly on poultry, so that the dangerous H5N1 strain of influenza is now resistant to that family of drugs. As there are only two families of anti-flu drugs, this will be a major blow to fighting the next virulent flu pandemic.

Just like their lethal approach to SARS containment, the Chinese deny that anything is going on and promise never to do it again. Now why do these jokers get Most Favored Nation status?

Interestingly, not only is amantadine an antiviral, it is also a CNS dopamine enhancer useful for treating Parkinsonism. It was also used to treat that girl who recently survived rabies. Drug discovery involves a great deal of serendipity.

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