Oseltamivir Resistant Influenza Viruses
Unusually high prevalence of high-level oseltamivir resistant influenza A(H1N1) virus has recently emerged. These were first detected in European countries by the European Union (EU) VIRGIL Project Influenza Laboratories, the WHO Collaborating Centre in London and the European WHO National Influenza Centres, which are part of the Community Network of Reference Laboratories for Human Influenza in Europe working together in the European Influenza Surveillance Scheme (EISS). Subsequently the viruses have been found in many countries across the rest of the world through the Global Influenza Surveillance Network (see links in box).
On 13 September 2008 European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe convened a global consultation of specialists to review the situation and discuss the public health implications of the phenomenon. The meeting was attended by six European countries that have performed detailed investigation of these viruses and their clinical impact (France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom), staff from WHO's Global Influenza Programme, the EU EISS and VIRGIL projects, as well as the heads of the four WHO Collaborating Centres for Reference and Research on Influenza in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The meeting reviewed the data and scientific findings gathered during the 2007-2008 influenza season in the Northern Hemisphere and new data from the Southern Hemisphere 2008 season. The specialists addressed what is known so far on the virological, epidemiologic, and clinical features of infections caused by these viruses, their genetic and biologic properties and the options for prevention and treatment.
There was discussion and agreement on the public health questions needing to be addressed, which will shape the future research agenda, and a meeting is planned to develop protocols to improve clinical data collection on infections caused by these as well as other novel viruses. A record of the meeting will now be prepared and published in a form widely accessible to the medical community.