Feeds

WHO issues bird flu warning, warns on Tamiflu research

Virulence and resistance discussed

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.