26 Nov 2009 09:14

Mutating A/H1N1 virus still treatable - official

Shanghai. November 26. INTERFAX-CHINA - Existing vaccines and antiviral drugs are still adequate for use against the mutating influenza A (H1N1) virus strain, according to a Chinese health official on Nov. 25.

"We detected the first case of the mutated A/H1N1 virus in June this year on a patient with minor symptoms who returned to China from the United Kingdom. In September, we witnessed a similar mutation in a severe case in Zhejiang Province," Shu Yuelong, director of the Chinese National Influenza Center, said in a press conference organized by the Ministry of Health.

At present, statistics from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) indicate that China has detected eight instances of A/H1N1 flu mutation.

According to Shu, more mutations will likely occur and further research will be required to determine the clinical significance of the mutated virus strain.

Yu Hongjie, a deputy director from the China CDC, pointed out that virus mutations are inevitable and it is only a matter of time before they take place.

"If a mutated strain poses a serious threat to human health, the new strain must be immediately used to produce vaccines, and adjustments need to be made in the current A/H1N1 clinical treatment guidelines in China," Shu said.

According to the World Health Organization, similar viral mutations have been found in Norway, Ukraine, the United States, Mexico, China, Brazil and Japan. At the moment, it is still unclear if the mutated virus will pose a serious threat to human health.

- KZ