Bird Flu Alarm



Understanding Avian Influenza

Are there drugs available for prevention and treatment?


Yes. Two classes of drugs are available. These are the M2 inhibitors (amantadine and rimantadine) and the neuraminidase inhibitors (oseltamivir and zanimivir). These drugs have been licensed for the prevention and treatment of human influenza in some countries, and are thought to be effective regardless of the causative strain.

However, initial analysis of viruses isolated from the recently fatal cases in Viet Nam indicates that the viruses are invariably resistant to the M2 inhibitors. Further testing is under way to confirm the resistance of amantadine. Network laboratories are also conducting studies to confirm the effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors against the current H5N1 strains.

Understanding Avian Influenza