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Tamiflu-resistant swine flu strain 'not a surprise'

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The emergence of a drug-resistant form of swine flu makes the ongoing immunisation programme even more important, experts have said.

Professor Peter Openshaw said the news that five patients in Wales had been diagnosed with a Tamiflu-resistant form of the swine flu virus was not surprising, adding their weakened immune systems would have made them more susceptible to the condition.

“It’s not surprising that this has happened, indeed it has always been anticipated,” Professor Opensaw said.

“The important thing now is to emphasise the value of vaccination. Just because there is resistance to Tamiflu does not mean there is resistance to Relenza or Zanamivir.”

Dr John McCauley, of the Medical Research Council’s National Institute for Medical Research, said: “The resistance in Wales is in patients who are an at-risk group.

“It is well established that patients with immunodeficiency do have problems with eliminating virus, giving it a greater chance to acquire resistance. Full genetic sequencing may be able to discover more detail.”

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