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Ann Pharm Fr. 2007 Jan;65(1):50-7.

[Neuraminidase inhibitors and risk of H5N1 influenza].

[Article in French]

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Unité Inserm U761 Biostructures et découverte de médicaments, Faculté des sciences pharmaceutiques et biologiques, Université de Lille II, 3, rue du Professeur Laguesse, BP 83, F 59006 Lille Cedex.


Oseltamivir and zanamivir are highly potent inhibitors of influenza A and B neuraminidase and operate by inhibiting viral replication, and more specifically, the release and the movement of the virus through mucus. Neuraminidase inhibitors reduce the severity and duration of symptoms, and prevent clinical influenza as post-exposure and seasonal prophylaxis. Both have similar efficacy; oseltamivir has a more convenient route of administration, and zanamivir a more favourable resistance profile. Pending availability of effective vaccines, neuraminidase inhibitors are the only specific antiviral drugs which might be opposed to a possible pandemic that could emerge from the current highly pathogenic H5N1 virus. Although the effectiveness of oseltamivir and zanamivir for the therapy of clinical H5N1 influenza is questionable, simulation models suggest that a combination of targeted antiviral prophylaxis and quarantine might be able to contain an emerging influenza strain at the source. As a consequence, after an initial lack of commercial success probably related to the mild intensity of seasonal influenza during the last winters, neuraminidase inhibitors are now stockpiled by many countries to prepare for an outbreak.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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