A virus types tend to be sensitive to the usual antiviral medications, however, this new A H5N1 seems to be resistant to the usual antiviral mainstays in current medicine, amantidine and rimantidine. Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) seems to be one of the few antiviral medications that we currently have available, that still seems to be effective in treating the A H5N1 virus, which is why, there is currently a buying spree of this medication in the various pharmacies throughout the US. It has to be taken very early during the initial infection for it to be effective.
Having been a survivor of the SARS epidemic in Asia, and, having been a frequent visitor to Asia (and, also having seen many of these people virtually living with their chickens), I find all of this interesting, and, to some degree, a bit disconcerting. The whole concept of having chickens living outside your door, living in your ramshackle house, etc, is a foreign one to those of us living in the west, but a common one in some of the poorer regions of Asia, regions which seem to be most prevalent. it is not surprising that a viral evolution of this nature is taking place, when one considers the living conditions of a very prevalent part of the population of Asia. And, having experienced the rapidity of the SARS infection first hand, I'm not pessimistic that we will have a new pandemic on our hands in the near future, but, frightful that one might erupt.
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