Drug-resistant swine flu cases rising

INCREASINGLY resistant variants of swine flu are being detected in Australia, indicating a possible new threat from the virus, which has been stable since the 2009 pandemic, experts say.

The WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne found among 28 A(H1N1) virus samples collected around Darwin, 30% had the mutation S247N that confers mild resistance to oseltamivir and zanamivir. 

Another sample, from an immunocompromised patient who died in Perth in March, had S247N plus another variant, H275Y, a combination that was 6000 times more resistant than the 2009 strain.

“When you get the two mutations together, like the guy in Perth had, then it has a profound effect,” commented Dr Heath Kelly, from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory. 

“It has been a very stable virus with almost no resistance reported – that’s why this paper has attracted so much