Study suggests Tamiflu, Relenza require improved evidence for pandemics

Tamiflu and Relenza require improved evidence for influenza
Tamiflu and Relenza require improved evidence for influenza | Courtesy of
A report from the Wellcome Trust and the Academy of Medical Sciences questioned the current evidence base for using neuraminidase inhibitors such as Tamiflu and Relenza.

The report calls for a strengthening of evidence for influenza drugs.

“We will carefully consider the findings of the report, but it is important to note that the U.K. remains one of the best-prepared countries for future flu pandemics and antivirals remain a core part of our strategy,” Richard Pebody, head of flu surveillance for Public Health England, said.

The report brings forward specific pieces of evidence that show antivirals may be more efficient than Tamiflu and Relenza in treating the flu.

“The report shows there is good evidence for using antivirals in some cases, although they have no place in treating seasonal flu,” John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, said. “People in at-risk groups are more vulnerable, while there may be circumstances in which giving antivirals to large parts of the wider population is necessary.”

The report is part of a series of questions posed toward the U.K. government because of its stockpile of Tamiflu as a neuraminidase inhibitor for influenza

“We agree with the authors that it is difficult to decide about whether stockpiling of antiviral drugs is necessary, because the evidence for this is patchy and the nature of future pandemics uncertain,” Ashton said.

Despite the questions, the report still recommends Tamiflu and Relenza for routine use for an influenza pandemic.

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