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Seasonal Influenza Activity Increasing Across Europe - H3N2 Dominant Strain
Date:1/19/2009

BASEL, Switzerland, January 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

- Tamiflu Remains Fully Effective Against 94 Percent of Circulating Influenza Viruses in Europe

Latest surveillance data coming through the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) from virologists and clinicians indicates that the influenza A(H3N2) virus is the predominant strain in Europe so far this season. Based on the data published by ECDC Roche confirms that the oral antiviral Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is fully active against influenza A(H3N2) and influenza B, which currently comprise 94 percent of circulating viruses in Europe this year.(1)

Tamiflu resistance reported in the 2008-2009 influenza seasons is confined to H1N1. No resistance has been seen with other circulating seasonal viruses - H3N2 and influenza B.

"Recent media reporting has elevated awareness of the H1N1 seasonal resistance seen this year in the United States and the Far East. However, in Europe the picture is different with H3N2 being the dominant strain so far. The circulating H3N2 viruses, which often cause a more severe illness than H1N1, are sensitive to oseltamivir, which means that oseltamivir will be active against the vast majority of influenza infections in Europe this season, if current trends continue," comments Prof Albert Osterhaus, Head of Virology, Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam. "It is important that doctors understand that oseltamivir remains an effective treatment for patients across Europe."

Vaccines are considered first line in the management of seasonal influenza, however, people who show symptoms or have been in close contact with an infected person may require more immediate intervention, such as Tamiflu, which can rapidly treat and prevent influenza.

European surveillance data

The ECDC reports that in the 2008-2009 season, influenza activity is increasing rapidly acr
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SOURCE Roche
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