Scientists have found that a mutation in a new strain of bird flu (+2 point @ 81, seasonally +11% over prior year) infecting people in China can render it resistant to a key first-line treatment drug without limiting its ability to spread in mammals.
Bird Flu Media Coverage
The discovery means that unlike Influenza (-2 points @ 90, seasonally +4 point over prior year) strains, which often become less transmissible when they develop resistance to drugs like Roche’s Tamiflu (+13 point @ 56), the new H7N9 bird flu does not lose any of its spreading potential with drug resistance.
(Note that the Roche brand is pulling a TrendSignal of 78, +7 point on the month, +1% points over the prior year.)
The Tamiflu brand is edging into the gaining Media Signal prominence growth quadrant this month. As we enter the broader flu season in December/January, the brand historically experiences a seasonal spike in media coverage as the primary drug addressing widespread flu applications.
Tamiflu Media Coverage
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 anti-viral medicines to treat H7N9 cases, and consider using drugs other than Tamiflu, such as GlaxoSmithKline’s (+2 points @ 74, +2 over prior year) Relenza (+4 points @ 30), where possible.