Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Flu Becomes More Drug Resistant

With flu season on the way, we should be concerned that the virus has become increasingly resistant to common vaccines, such as Tamiflu. What is interesting about this report is that epidemiologists at the CDC don't think that overuse of the vaccination led to the increase in resistance, but that the virus became more resistant by a spontaneous mutation. Luckily, the vaccination being administered at the moment is able to combat the Tamiflu-resistant strain.
Lots of controversy surrounds whether or not vaccines are overused in some cases, leading to strains of viruses that are resistant to those vaccines. With something as simple and relatively harmless as the flu, perhaps the vaccine should be reserved for infants and the elderly, whom the virus could do more damage to and the average citizen should have to deal with the sneezing and runny nose. It's a sacrifice I know I'm willing to make in order to slow the development of vaccine-resistant strains that could cause more damage in the future, but many people feel it is their right to protect themselves and their families, especially when a flu shot is so convenient and inexpensive. It's a debate that arises whenever a vaccination is made available to the general public and it seems impossible to determine which side of the issue is right, especially since it turns into a moral issue.

For more info on the Tamiflu-resistant flu strain, check out http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1870601,00.html

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