Friday, February 03, 2006

How amantadine became useless

Symmetrel (amantadine) and Flumadine (rimantadine), have lost their value against this year's strain and should be shelved. Ok, but why?

That's the interesting question, and most of the media reports I've seen don't address it. NPR did, however. It turns out that over the counter cold remedies in China and Russia often contain amantadine. Sigh. That's so sad, and so stupid. Very human.

Of course the same thing is true of antimicrobials, they are widely available over the counter in many nations. The difference is that pathogenic bacteria don't travel nearly as quickly as flu viruses. The CDC expected we'd get a few more years of life out of amantadine/rimantadine, but resistance spread more quickly than expected.

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