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Report: Tamiflu is 'useless' for avian flu
LONDON, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- A Vietnamese doctor with experience in treating avian flu says Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled for treatment of avian flue is useless against the virus.
Dr. Nguyen Tuong Van of the Centre for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi has treated 41 victims of H5N1, following World Health Organization guidelines and administering Tamiflu to her patients. She told the Sunday Times of London the medicine had no effect.
"We place no importance on using this drug on our patients," she said. "Tamiflu is really only meant for treating ordinary type A flu. It was not designed to combat H5N1."
The newspaper said the finding casts doubt on the British government's pandemic flu policy. The nation's top medical official, Sir Liam Donaldson, has ordered 15 million doses of Tamiflu be stockpiled.
Van said the only way to keep avian flu patients alive is to "support" all their vital organs -- including the liver and kidneys -- with modern technology like ventilators and dialysis machines, the Sunday Times reported.
The WHO has acknowledge Tamiflu had not been "widely successful in human patients," but said it believes it would have been more effective in many Asian countries if it had been used earlier in the illness.