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Stronger pill plan to check swine flu

By Fnf Desk | PUBLISHED: 10, Oct 2017, 15:11 pm IST | UPDATED: 10, Oct 2017, 15:17 pm IST

Stronger pill plan to check swine flu PUNE: The Maharashtra government is planning to introduce amantadine, an anti-viral drug stronger than oselatamvir, to contain swine flu virus that has so far claimed 626 lives in the state this year.

"We have written to the Union health ministry to approve the use of amantadine and issue necessary guidelines. The drug will either be used independently by replacing oselatamvir (Tamilfu/Fluvir) or in combination with it. Its use will depend on the Centre's advices," said, adviser to the state government on communicable diseases.

Till October 5 this year, the state registered 5,580 cases with an 11% mortality rate. The state's idea to introduce amantadine is to check H1N1-related deaths, mainly among those starting the prescribed antiviral (oseltamivir) late and also patients with other co-morbid conditions.
 
Explaining the rationale behind the use amantadine, Salunkhe said, "It is often seen that people procrastinate when it comes to ensure immediate treatment of influenza-like illness. The delay causes increased viral load in human body and leads to complications."
 
He added, "For such patients, we need a stronger antiviral such as amantadine. Besides, patients with medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and asthma also exhibit life-threatening complications when infected with swine flu. We need a stronger antiviral for them as well."
 
The virus positivity rate touched an all-time high of 33% in the last week of September, revealed the latest H1N1 Positivity Rate report of the Pune-based National  (NIV). This means that 33 of every 100 people, who underwent H1N1 confirmation at NIV, tested positive for the virus. This figure is in huge contrast to the 1-3% rate registered last year.
 
"We received 2,576 throat swab samples from various parts of the state between January and September this year. Of these, 604 tested positive for swine flu, accounting for 23.4% positivity rate. Last year, it hovered between 1% and 3%," an NIV official had said. The H1N1 virus activity attained two distinct peaks in the last nine months, indicating its severity in Maharashtra in 2017.
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