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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2006 Jun;195(2):65-71. Epub 2005 Jul 30.

Utilization of the embryonated egg for in vivo evaluation of the anti-influenza virus activity of neuraminidase inhibitors.

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  • 1Institute of Virology and Antiviral Therapy, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Hans-Knoell-Strasse 2, 07745 Jena, Germany. andreas.sauerbrei@med.uni-jena.de


Previous studies have shown that embryonated egg provides a convenient and easy to use system for in vivo screening of anti-influenza virus inhibitors. However, it is not known whether this model is suitable for testing neuraminidase (NA) inhibitors, too. Therefore, the present study describes the evaluation of the ion-channel blockers amantadine and rimantadine in comparison with the NA inhibitors oseltamivir and zanamivir by using the influenza A virus hen's egg model. The treatment was started immediately before or after the challenge dose was placed on the chorioallantoic membrane (CAM). Differences between the survival rate of treated and untreated chick embryos infected with influenza A virus were analyzed statistically. As result, the survival rate of chick embryos could be significantly increased when the treatment with amantadine, rimantadine, oseltamivir, or zanamivir was started before the CAM was inoculated with one egg infective dose 50% (EID50) influenza A virus. When the drugs were administered shortly after viral inoculation, significant antiviral efficacy was shown for rimantadine, oseltamivir, and zanamivir. Antiviral efficacy could be demonstrated exclusively for both oseltamivir and zanamivir after the embryos were infected with higher challenge doses of 10(2) EID50 influenza A virus. In conclusion, the NA inhibitors oseltamivir and zanamivir have a significantly better antiviral activity against influenza A virus than amantadine and rimantadine tested in embryonated hen's eggs. Therefore, this model can be a valuable alternative approach for in vivo pre-testing anti-influenza virus activity of NA inhibitors.

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