Swine flu could soon become resistant to Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled to fight it, say Government scientists.
A strain of seasonal flu closely related to the swine virus has already mutated so that Tamiflu is virtually useless against it.
But the Government is spending more than £100million to bring Britain’s stockpile of Tamiflu up to 50million doses – enough for 80 per cent of the population.
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Dr Steve Gamblin, the joint head of molecular structure at the National Institute for Medical
Research, told The Mail on Sunday that the mutation renders Tamiflu about 250 times less effective than it should be.
‘Our research suggests that if Tamiflu is used extensively, mutant swine flu viruses that are resistant to the drug may well arise,’ said Dr Gamblin.
‘Instead of relying on Tamiflu alone, it would be better to use a cocktail of Tamiflu and Relenza,’ – another anti-viral drug to which, so far, flu viruses have not developed resistance.