Feeds

WHO issues bird flu warning, warns on Tamiflu research

Virulence and resistance discussed

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The World Health Organisation has warned that there is no guarantee that a pandemic strain of the H5N1 virus will be less deadly to people. The report, published this week, contains the findings of a meeting of flu experts held last month.

The method of change will determine how deadly the virus is, the report says. If the virus changes by exchanging genes with a human flu virus, a process called reassortment, a pandemic might not be too deadly. However, straightforward adaptive mutation would leave the virulence of the disease unchanged, the scientists warned.

It also cautioned against regarding the anti-viral drug Tamiflu as a magic bullet, highlighting that some H5N1 viruses seem to already be naturally resistant to the effects of the drug.

The report comes less than two weeks after the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) in the UK issued a warning about the possible environmental effects of large scale use of Tamiflu.

Dr Andrew Singer of the CEH said: "An antiviral drug has never been widely used before, so we need to determine what might happen. During a flu pandemic, millions of people will all take Tamiflu at the same time. Over just eight or nine weeks, massive amounts of the drug will be expelled in sewage and find its way into the rivers. It could have huge effects on the fish and other wildlife."

A build up of the drug in rivers could cause the avian version of the virus to become resistant to it, which could lead to a new, resistant strain emerging in humans, Singer argues.

He is calling for research into ways to safely break the anti-viral down once it is in the sewage system but before it reaches the public waterways. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.