Flu shots are considered the most useful precaution to control influenza, but the avian influenza virus that threatens commercial chicken flocks and has the ability to infect humans as well, has been a threat in Asian countries. Current influenza vaccinations will not provide immunity either, and the annual vaccination programs cannot possibly target all of the various types of influenza viruses.
British researchers have found that the neuraminidase inhibitor, which is effective against all subtypes of influenza A and B viruses, is also effective against avian influenza viruses. Senior scientist Shobana Balasingam from Queen Mary School of Medicine in London states that there is no current vaccine available should a pandemic influenza of the avian flu subtype H5N1 emerge. For this reason the neuraminidase inhibitors would be a powerful weapon. They can help prevent infection and reduce influenza symptoms. The drug, which is marketed as Tamiflu by the pharmaceutical company Roche, would have significance in restricting outbreaks in chicken and consequently preventing transmission to humans. Human isolates of the avian flu are resistant to the current drugs amantadine and rimantadine, which have been used in the treatment of influenza, whereas the new medication was tested to be very effective.
Reference: The Medical Post, November 23, 2004, page 14
Last edited December 7, 2012