Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(1):32-36

Analysis of decrease in sensitivity in influenza A (H5N1) avian and human strains to neuraminidase inhibitors


J. Reina 

The options for efficient control of avian influenza A (H5N1) viruses include specific vaccination and antiviral prophylaxis and treatment. However, because H5N1 viruses undergo continuous antigen mutations, the production of a matched vaccine strain is currently not possible. Thus, during the early pandemic period, specific control measures would rely solely on antiviral drugs. Now only neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs) (zanamivir and oseltamivir) are considered for prophylaxis and therapy in patients with H5N1 infection. The sensitivies of H5N1 strains to the NIs fell into 3 groups. The clade I viruses isolated before 2004 were as sensitive to NIs than reference strains (first group). But the clade I viruses isolated from 2004 were 6 to 7-fold less sensitivity to NIs (second group). The clade II strains isolated from 2005 to 2007 demonstrated a 15 to 30 fold decrease in sensitivity to oseltamivir compared with clade I viruses (third group). The specific decrease in sensitivity to oseltamivir of both Cambodian and Indonesian clade 2 influenza H5N1 isolates is disturbing, especially because they maintain their pathogenicity and transmissibility in birds and are clearly pathogenic in humans. No altered sensitivity to zanamivir has been detected. Zanamivir may also play an important role in pandemic stockpiles. Because the clade 2 virus is now spread through parts of Europe and Africa, continued global collaboration and phenotypic testing of NIs sensitivity are critical for a future pandemic. 



Key words:Avian influenza. H5N1. Neuraminidase inhibitors. Antiviral resistance.

Rev Esp Quimioter 2008;21(1):32-36 [pdf]