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Chapter: Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases: Antibacterial and Antiviral Agents

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Neuraminidase Inhibitors - Antiviral Agents

Oseltamivir and zanamivir are new antivirals that selectively inhibit the neuraminidaseof influenza A and B viruses.

Neuraminidase Inhibitors

Oseltamivir and zanamivir are new antivirals that selectively inhibit the neuraminidaseof influenza A and B viruses. The neuraminidase cleaves terminal sialic acid from glyco-conjugates and plays a role in the release of virus from infected cells. Zanamivir was the first approved neuraminidase inhibitor. It is given by oral inhalation using a specially de-signed device. Oseltamivir phosphate is the oral prodrug of oseltamivir, a drug compara-ble to zanamivir in antineuraminidase activity.

Treatment with either oseltamivir and zanamivir reduces influenza symptoms and shortens the course of illness by 1 to 1.5 days. The activity of these compounds against both influenza A and B offers an advantage over amantadine and rimantadine, which are active only against influenza A.


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