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Amantadine and Rimantadine Sensitive H5N1 Approaches Europe
August 2, 2005
As H5N1 continues its migration toward Europe, demand for FDA approved Amantadine and Rimantadine should sky-rocket. The 12 isolates from Qinghai Lake did not have the resistance markers in M2, so H5N1 from northern and western China should be sensitive to both Amantadine and Rimantadine. In Vietnam and Thailand the M2 gene has two changes that make them resistant, leaving only Tamiflu as an approved and somewhat available treatment for bird flu.
However, Tamiflu is in short supply and in vivo data showed that Tamiflu's effectiveness against H5N1 may require a higher dose. The H5N1 from China should be susceptible, but resistance could develop. Initially, however, both Amantadine and Rimantadine should be effective against H5N1 that is rapidly migrating toward Europe and should arrive in the next few days, if it is not already there.