n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Antiviral agents for prevention and / or treatment of influenza virus infections : old and new : main topic

Volume 21, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Yearly epidemics of influenza are a cause of considerable morbidity and mortality worldwide. <br>Influenza vaccination is the primary means of prevention of infection and its complications. <br>Antiviral agents are an adjunct to vaccination for control and prevention of influenza infection, but should never be used as a substitute for vaccination. <br>Two classes of antiviral agents are available for the prevention and treatment of influenza infection, the adamantanes and the neuraminidase inhibitors. <br>Adamantanes block the M2 protein channels of the influenza A virus and prevent uncoating of the virus inside the cells, so inhibiting replication. <br>The neuraminidase inhibitors block the activity of viral neuraminidase, so preventing the release of newly formed viruses from cells. <br>Amantadine, an adamantane available in South Africa, is 70 - 90% effective in preventing illness caused by influenza A infection, and when administered within 2 days of onset of illness can reduce the duration of uncomplicated influenza A infection.

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