Every year, influenza viruses infect millions of people worldwide, resulting in an estimated 400,000 fatalities. Because viruses evolve over time, existing vaccinations offer only a limited level of protection against the flu. To treat influenza infection, a variety of antiviral medicines are available, with Oseltamivir being one of the most widely utilised. (1)
Influenza is a respiratory illness caused by several viruses. Animals such as birds and pigs are the source of influenza A viruses, but influenza B viruses have no known animal source. The flu, which is caused by influenza viruses, mostly affects the upper respiratory system, including the sinus cavities, throat, and occasionally the lungs. When an infected person coughs or sneezes in close proximity to an uninfected person, the virus spreads by respiratory droplets. Fever, tiredness, cough, sore throat, and a runny nose are some of the symptoms. The majority of people recover from the flu. Individuals with underlying health problems, on the other hand, might have significant and even fatal consequences. (2)
The influenza virus has a rapid mutation rate, which results in novel strains (antigenic drift) that are not easily identified by those who have previously been infected with influenza. Antigenic shift occurs when viral genes reassort, resulting in variations that are significantly different from currently circulating strains; this process frequently leads in a pandemic.
The annual flu vaccine is a typical preventative, although it is ineffective, with an estimated effectiveness of approximately 60% that varies depending on vaccination year and age of vaccinated persons. Because the influenza virus has a rapid mutation rate, it can evade vaccine-induced protection. As a result, new influenza vaccinations must be developed every year. The yearly influenza vaccine takes into account both novel and current strains of influenza viruses that are spreading across the world.
Luckily there are several antiviral drugs, majorly Oseltamivir, that can be used to either treat severely ill influenza-infected patients or household contacts of individuals with confirmed influenza infection. Efficacy of such drugs has been extensively evaluated in clinical trials both including infected patients and volunteers that had been infected with a known strain and dose of an influenza virus. In the latter types of trials, the commencement of therapy may be well-defined in relation to the onset of infection, and Oseltamivir appears to have an influence on viral dynamics and/or patient symptoms when begun within 24 hours of infection and/or onset of symptoms. Oseltamivir also has additional drawbacks, including as side effects and the emergence of drug-resistant strains. (3)
In the latter types of experiments treatment start can be well-defined relative to the infection initiation, and for Oseltamivir the treatment appears to impact virus dynamics and/or patient’s symptoms when the treatment is started only within 24 hr of the infection and/or onset of symptoms.
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