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Prog Drug Res. 2001;56:195-237.

Anti-influenza drugs and neuraminidase inhibitors.

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Roche Discovery Welwyn, Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire AL7 3AY, UK.


Each year, influenza viruses are responsible for considerable illness, complications and mortality. An effective treatment will have a major impact on the severe personal and economic burden that this disease incurs. There are several points in the influenza life cycle that may be potentially inhibited. One critical point is the release of newly synthesized virions from the host cell surface. Viral neuraminidase (NA) cleaves the virus from host cell sialic acid residues allowing infection of other host cells. Rationally designed NA inhibitors that block the viral life cycle are now in the clinic and these molecules are effective and safe for the treatment of influenza. Compared with other anti-influenza agents the NA inhibitors are well tolerated, effective against all influenza types and there has been little evidence of the emergence of viral resistance. NA inhibitors provide an important new therapeutic weapon for the management of influenza infection.

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