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Two anti-viral drugs should be stockpiled > Greek researchers February 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Health & Fitness.

A combination of anti-viral drugs should be stockpiled to fight a potential flu pandemic, say researchers in Greece.

There are two classes of drugs that are effective against influenza viruses: the ion channel inhibitors, amantadine and rimantadine, and the neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Although ion channel inhibitors are effective against several strains of influenza viruses, they are not being widely stockpiled for a future flu pandemic because they cause unacceptable side effects and their use is associated with a rapid emergence of resistance, according to an article in the British Medical Journal.

However, researchers argue that combining the two types of drugs may reduce side effects and the risk of resistance, and could play an important role against a future flu pandemic.

In laboratory tests, the combination of ion channel and neuraminidase inhibitors reduced the emergence of resistance and even prevented the emergence of resistant strains of the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus, according to Sotirios Tsiodras, a lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of Athens.

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