Pandemic influenza tops the UK’s National Risk Register due to the social and economic disruption that could result from a particularly virulent strain.
Questions have been raised for some years about the efficacy and effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs)Tamiflu and Relenza, the principal antiviral drugs used in treating flu, and whether this justifies their being part of the UK government’s response to influenza.
In response to a request from the UK Department of Health, a small, independent steering group was established by the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust to review the recent evidence about the use of NAIs, consider the pipeline for new treatments for influenza, and identify research priorities.
Members of the steering group came to the SMC to present and comment on the results of the report.
Roundup comments accompanied this briefing.
Professor Deborah Ashby, Professor of Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials, Imperial Clinical Trials Unit, Imperial College London.
Professor Chris Butler, Clinical Professor, Institute of Primary Care & Public Health, University of Cardiff.
Dr Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust.
Professor Sir Patrick Sissons, Director of Medical Services for Cambridge University Hospitals and former Emeritus Regius Professor of Physic, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge.