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Antiviral Oseltamivir Is not Removed or Degraded in Normal Sewage Water Treatment: Implications for Development of Resistance by Influenza A Virus

Authors
Journal
PLoS ONE
1932-6203
Publisher
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
10
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000986
Keywords
  • Research Article
  • Science Policy
  • Chemistry/Physical
  • Inorganic
  • And Analytical Chemistry
  • Virology/Antivirals
  • Including Modes Of Action And Resistance
  • Public Health And Epidemiology/Environmental Health
  • Public Health And Epidemiology/Infectious Diseases
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Geography

Abstract

Oseltamivir is the main antiviral for treatment and prevention of pandemic influenza. The increase in oseltamivir resistance reported recently has therefore sparked a debate on how to use oseltamivir in non pandemic influenza and the risks associated with wide spread use during a pandemic. Several questions have been asked about the fate of oseltamivir in the sewage treatment plants and in the environment. We have assessed the fate of oseltamivir and discuss the implications of environmental residues of oseltamivir regarding the occurrence of resistance. A series of batch experiments that simulated normal sewage treatment with oseltamivir present was conducted and the UV-spectra of oseltamivir were recorded. Findings: Our experiments show that the active moiety of oseltamivir is not removed in normal sewage water treatments and is not degraded substantially by UV light radiation, and that the active substance is released in waste water leaving the plant. Our conclusion is that a ubiquitous use of oseltamivir may result in selection pressures in the environment that favor development of drug-resistance.

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