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Enferm Infecc Microbiol Clin. 2012 Oct;30 Suppl 4:49-53. doi: 10.1016/S0213-005X(12)70105-2.

Antiviral treatment and vaccination for influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus: lessons learned from the pandemic.

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Infectious Diseases Unit, Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


The influenza pandemic that was declared by the World Health Organization in June 2009 created a new scenario for the use of influenza antivirals and vaccination. The new strain, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, was resistant to amantadine and rimantadine, and the most frequently used antiviral was oseltamivir. Randomized studies were not performed comparing neuraminidase inhibitors with placebo. Nevertheless, experience from prospective and retrospective cohorts indicated that these drugs were useful for improving the prognosis of patients admitted to hospitals, especially for those with more severe disease. Treatment with oseltamivir was associated with a reduction in days of fever, length of hospital stay, use of mechanical ventilation and mortality. Treatment was more effective if it was begun within the first 48 h after the onset of symptoms, but it was also useful if begun later. A safe and effective vaccine to prevent disease from this new influenza strain was available in developed countries soon after the pandemic began; thus, the rate of adverse effects was comparable to that of seasonal influenza vaccines. The main barrier to its use was the concern of target populations about its necessity and safety. Therefore, the challenges for future pandemics will be to increase the population coverage of the vaccine in developed countries and to make it affordable for developing countries.

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