May 12, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to release clinical guidance that will say most patients sick with the novel H1N1 influenza (swine flu) will not need antiviral treatment, but the drugs should be considered for high-risk groups, a WHO official said today.

“Soon we will be publishing initial guidance for clinical management for this disease,” said Dr. Nikki Shindo, leader of the WHO clinical team for response to the H1N1 epidemic, speaking at a news briefing. “We are highlighting the fact that most of the patients will not require hospitalization or antiviral therapy.”

Later she added, “We will recommend to consider the use of antivirals for high-risk groups or the group of people at increased risk, depending on availability.”

Yesterday the WHO said the new virus usually causes only a mild illness in otherwise healthy people.