News of the WeekSwine Flu Outbreak

What Role for Antiviral Drugs?

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Science  08 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5928, pp. 705
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_705

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When it comes to treatment, there's good news and bad news about the new H1N1 swine flu strain circling the globe. Two antiviral drugs can squelch it and are currently the best defense, given that a vaccine will not be ready for months. But stocks of Roche's Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and GlaxoSmithKline's Relenza (zanamivir) are too small to protect everyone in a worst-case scenario outbreak; health officials also worry that the virus could become resistant to the drugs.