17 Sep 2010

Possibility of pandemic flu virus acknowledged

9:31 am on 17 September 2010

Scientists say it is possible that if someone suffers from swine flu and seasonal flu at the same time, a drug-resistant pandemic flu virus could be created.

The new strain could arise if a cell is infected by both flu viruses, one of which is drug-resistant.

A New Zealand study, published in an American journal, tracked 11 people who have the co-infection, which researchers say is rare.

Lead researcher Matthew Peacey says that with influenza, when two viruses affect the same cell there's a possibility that if one is drug- resistant, the resistance could be passed on to the one that isn't.

However, Dr Peacey says this was not found to have occurred in this study.