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J Virol. 2004 Nov;78(22):12665-7.

Neuraminidase is important for the initiation of influenza virus infection in human airway epithelium.

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  • 1Institute of Virology, Philipps University, Robert Koch Strasse 17, 35037 Marburg, Germany.


Influenza virus neuraminidase (NA) plays an essential role in release and spread of progeny virions, following the intracellular viral replication cycle. To test whether NA could also facilitate virus entry into cell, we infected cultures of human airway epithelium with human and avian influenza viruses in the presence of the NA inhibitor oseltamivir carboxylate. Twenty- to 500-fold less cells became infected in drug-treated versus nontreated cultures (P < 0.0001) 7 h after virus application, indicating that the drug suppressed the initiation of infection. These data demonstrate that viral NA plays a role early in infection, and they provide further rationale for the prophylactic use of NA inhibitors.

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