As we scramble to buy Tamiflu, there are signs that the highly infectious form of bird flu moving across Russia towards Europe may be sensitive to the older, cheaper drug amantadine (symmetrel), according to Chemistry & Industry magazine.
If the virus does prove to be sensitive to amantadine, this could overcome potential shortages of Tamiflu and Relenza on which many countries have pinned their hopes of combating a possible pandemic.
Henry Niman founder of US biotechnology company Recombinomics says preliminary sequence data suggest that the Russian virus does not exhibit any of the changes in the M2 ion channel that would make it resistant to amantadine. Early work on the Russian virus also suggests that it is related to the Qinghai virus. Yi Guan of the University of Hong Kong who sequenced the Qinghai strain earlier this year says Qinghai sequence data suggest it is amantadine sensitive.
The story comes from Medical News Today.