Announcement Date: October 8, 2015
In October 2015, the Academy and Wellcome Trust published a report exploring the scientific evidence around the treatment of influenza, including the use of existing antivirals, research priorities, methodological improvements and the pipeline of new treatments.
The report laments the uncertainty over the evidence base of NIs and the failure to carry out research during the 2009 influenza pandemic.
Use of neuraminidase inhibitors in influenza, Academy of Medical Sciences and Wellcome Trust, October 2015,
Science Media Centre briefing
Pandemic influenza tops the UK’s National Risk Register due to the social and economic disruption that could result from a particularly virulent strain. (Read More)
Experts call for tests on use of flu drugs in pandemic, Guardian newspaper. Sarah Boseley, Health editor, 8th October 2015
New trials are urgently needed to establish whether the anti-flu drug Tamiflu would help save lives in a pandemic, experts have said.
Flu pandemics are highly dangerous, with the potential to kill millions around the world. Each winter in the UK, hundreds die of flu. Yet the drugs available to treat people, of which the best known and most widely used is Tamiflu, appear to have only a modest effect and have only been tested on seasonal flu, according to a report by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust.
The senior doctors on the review panel urge that plans should be put in place to test whether the drugs would work in a pandemic. That could involve people who go to their GP with flu symptoms being randomly assigned either Tamiflu, nothing at all, or an alternative such as paracetamol to deal with the symptoms.