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Book and Media Reviews
April 23 2008

Combating the Threat of Pandemic Influenza: Drug Discovery Approaches

JAMA. 2008;299(16):1957-1963. doi:10.1001/jama.299.16.1961-b

The first line of defense against the next influenza pandemic will be antiviral treatment and prophylaxis. Many nations have stockpiled available preparations hoping to forestall the spread of the next unique influenza virus. However, stockpiling may be wasteful for several reasons: (1) The new influenza virus may be insensitive to the treatment that has been chosen, (2) stockpiling drugs without a method for rapid distribution and preliminary orientation of clinicians in use of influenza antiviral preparations for both treatment and prophylaxis could prove to be ineffective, (3) surveillance networks for rapid identification of influenza viruses and immediate notification of clinicians in all regions have not been established, and (4) the surveillance networks must include expedited testing of prevalent viruses for sensitivity to available antiviral preparations.