A group of doctors have recently stated that a new and unauthorized medication for swine flu may be brought to use to treat patients suffering from Tamiflu-resistant viruses. A group of British doctors have detailed the manner in which they made use of intravenous variety of the anti-viral Relenza to cure a 22-year-old woman who had been suffering from acute swine flu. The details of the treatment process adopted by these British doctors have been published in the medical journal Lancet. It may be mentioned here that Relenza is normally breathed in through the nose and is not licensed for administration as an intravenous injection.
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In fact, the woman treated by the British physicians for swine flu had of late endured chemotherapy for Hodgkin's disease. The woman's lungs were filled with fluid and she was even put on a ventilator to facilitate her breathing following the swine flu infection. Incidentally, the condition of the patient continued to worsen irrespective of the fact that she was being administered Tamiflu, inhalable Relenza and other medications for several days.
Consequently, the doctors attending on the woman settled on trying out an unusual technique to administer the medicine into the patient's body as her lungs were incapable of absorbing the anti-viral medications in the normal method. Having obtained the requisite permission from the woman's family as well as the hospital authorities, the doctors administered the patient an unauthorized intravenous form of anti-viral zanamivir or Relenza made available by the drug's manufacturer Glaxo-Smith-Kline PLC. Soon after the unlicensed intravenous administration of the inhaler, the patient recuperated. And surprisingly enough, there was no adverse side effect owing to the experimentation by the British physicians!
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According to Michael Kidd, the lead author of the study undertaken by the British physicians and a scientist of the University College London, the outcome of this medical experimentation is likely to offer a third alternative to cure patients who are not responsive to anti-viral therapy as the lungs are unable to receive active medication. Kidd further said that though they are now certain that the woman did not suffer from Tamiflu-resistant virus, the intravenous zanamivir may perhaps be administered to cure similar ailments.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has, in a statement, declared that the treatment adopted by the British physicians to cure the woman may only be applicable in exceptional situations, as the availability of the medication is not only difficult, but the process is also unauthorized. Nevertheless, the healing process may prove to be beneficial for patients who have a poor immune system, for instance, people who have had chemotherapy or are suffering from ailments like HIV, as they are at an extreme risk of having viruses that are resistant to medicines. According to a WHO spokesperson Gregory Hartl, the alteration in the use of the anti-viral drug from being an inhaler to an intravenous injection is a rational alternative in such instances. It may be mentioned here that while Tamiflu is the most common preliminary healing drug for swine flu, at times, physicians also make use of the inhaler Relenza.
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Though just a few swine flu viruses that are resistant to the drug Tamiflu have been selected thus far, the virus is capable of transforming into a resistant variety as it continues to spread more. In fact, extensive resistance to the Tamiflu drug has been observed during a recurring breed of H1N1 that is vaguely associated with swine flu. At present, the countries that provide the Tamiflu drug include Britain. In fact, these nations may also accelerate the materialization of viruses that are resistant to the medicine. Although the WHO recommends that Tamiflu should be saved for the most susceptible people, such as pregnant women and children, Britain offers the Tamiflu medication to any individual who is suspected to have been contaminated by the virus.
According to Michael Kidd, the inhaler Relenza, which was administered as an intravenous injection despite being unlicensed, may also prove to be beneficial to cure other acutely ailing patients who are affected by flu and may even reduce the period of their hospitalization. In fact, this may actually lessen the burden on the hospitals, as people would be less inclined to occupy the hospital beds during the ensuing winter. Incidentally, it is apprehended that the swine flu endemic may stage a come back.
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Apart from the use of the inhaler Relenza as an intravenous injection to cure the woman in Britain, a similar case has been reported from Australia. Incidentally, this particular patient in Australia is said to have been cured of swine flu infection.
Meanwhile, it needs to be mentioned that majority of the countries in the northern hemisphere are now endeavoring for a desperate preparation to tackle the swine flu season that is in the offing. However, it needs to be noted that no inoculation capable of combating the swine flu virus is likely to be available before October.
While the spread of the swine flu virus is still not vigorous, the Word Health Organization (WHO) apprehends that as many as two million people may be affected by the virus across the globe. And in a situation like this, the pandemic is able to overpower the health system worldwide.