H1N1 resistance to Tamiflu

It is not surprising that we are seeing a resistance to Tamiflu considering the widespread prescription of this drug. The influenza viruses has the propensity to mutate with ease and our blanket prescription of Tamiflu will only expedite the mutation process.

Our general practitioners have lamented that the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health is inconsistent. The fact remains that we have little idea what we are up against. On one hand, the pressures from the press and the general public about the closely monitored statistical data has forced the government to take a stance that may not on the other hand have proven medical benefits. Prescribing Tamiflu is certainly not the answer to this pandemic and the move is extremely short-sighted.

It is important to ensure there is no panic among the general public. As demanding as they may be, the Ministry of Health has to conserve its finite resources. Reserving Tamiflu for high risk groups and ill patients may be the only way to go at this point. Educating the public about warning signs is important so as to ensure that visits to the doctors are neither premature nor delayed.

Vaccine trials are in progress. However, the introduction of vaccination may pose new problems for an edgy public. Who should be given priority?

I feel the number of infections will fall by the time the vaccination program is introduced. The rapidity of the spread will only strengthen the herd immunity among the population slowing the spread and eventual elimination. There are probably more infections than reported and fortunately most are mild and resolve without much fuss.

The blanket prescription of Tamiflu should end. It will do more harm than good in the long run and only serves to give us all a false sense of security.

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