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Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Jan;58(2):233-7. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit695. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

How will physicians respond to the next influenza pandemic?

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  • 1Sergy Haut, France.


The emergence of the H7N9 virus in China is another reminder of the threat of a global influenza pandemic. Many believe we could confront a pandemic by expanding our capacity to provide timely supplies of affordable pandemic vaccines and antiviral agents. Experience in 2009 demonstrated that this cannot and will not be done. Consequently, physicians may have little more to offer their patients than they had in the 1918 pandemic. Fortunately, several modern drugs (eg, statins, angiotensin II receptor blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors) can modify the host response to inflammatory illness, and laboratory and clinical studies suggest they might be used to treat pandemic patients. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to the research needed to support their use in patient care. There is no guarantee these drugs will work, but physicians will never know unless those responsible for pandemic preparedness recognize and act on the extraordinary possibility that they might save lives.


immunomodulatory agents; pandemic influenza; public health; statins

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