WHO backs Tamiflu for treating 'severe' flu

WHO backs Tamiflu for treating 'severe' flu

“WHO continues to recommend the use of antivirals as treatment for people who are severely ill or are at risk of other health complications,” the World Health Organisation said in a response to questions about the recent study.

However, it also stressed that the antiviral, made by Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, should not be taken by those showing just mild flu-like symptoms.

The study published on Monday in the British Medical Journal said that children with seasonal flu should not be given Tamiflu because harmful side effects may outweigh relatively meagre benefits. Though the study did not cover the current outbreak, it suggested that antivirals may not significantly reduce the length of illness or prevent complications in children infected with the new A(H1N1) virus.

WHO said it was “aware” of the study but stressed that it was on seasonal flu and not A(H1N1). The organisation said on Tuesday that some 1,462 people around the world had died from the swine flu virus since it first emerged in April.

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