We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.

The full article is available here as HTML.

Press Ctrl-C to copy

In preparation for a bird flu pandemic and in the absence of a vaccine, countries are racing to stockpile the flu drug oseltamivir, which Roche produces under the trade name Tamiflu.

In this article in The Lancet, Kenneth Tsang and colleagues suggest contingency plans.

First, governments should consider accumulating stocks of a similar drug called zanamivir, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline as Relenza. They say zanamivir is as effective as oseltamivir, has fewer side effects, and that the bird flu virus is less likely to become resistant to it.

Second, governments and health agencies should consider planning research trials that compare the two drugs. This would help decide which would be more effective in a pandemic.

Tsang and colleagues also question the merit of producing vaccines and drugs in developed countries — which could mean developing countries will not obtain them quickly enough — and the ethics of keeping drugs such as oseltamivir and zanamivir under patent.

Link to full article in The Lancet*

* Free registration is required to view this article