Aug 22

Questions are arising over how long the Tamiflu retro-viral drugs being stockpiled by the New Zealand government — and many other countries — will remain an effective weapon against the next flu pandemic.

Tamiflu-resistant forms of the “ordinary” seasonal influenza are rapidly spreading and the drug may be ineffective in fighting the dominant flu strain in South Africa this winter.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows tests on 107 people in South Africa with the H1N1 strain — one of the three most common flu viruses in humans — found all had a mutant bug resistant to Tamiflu, the WHO said in a statement. Only one of the patients was taking Tamiflu at the time of sampling.

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