The Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust have published a report into the effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitor antiviral drugs for the treatment and prevention of influenza. In response, the BSI released the following statement.
Professor Anne Cooke, Chair of British Society for Immunology Policy Forum, and Professor of Immunobiology, University of Cambridge, said:
“Influenza pandemics have the potential to cause huge loss of human life, illness and social and economic disruption, so it’s critical that we know more about the treatments, and that we learn from future outbreaks. From this timely report, it’s clear that we currently don’t have the knowledge we need to understand how we can make best use of antiviral drugs in flu pandemic situations. It is key that health professionals have access to data from properly controlled clinical trials which are the cornerstone of all evidence-based medicine. We support the report’s recommendation that the UK must be prepared to conduct the clinical trials into the effectiveness of antiviral drugs when the next influenza pandemic arises. Ensuring our infrastructure is ready to carry out such research during a pandemic means that we need to start planning now for the appropriate networks to be in place, which would allow scientists and clinicians to act quickly and decisively when the need arises. As a global leader in infectious disease research, the UK is well placed to take on this role, which could lead huge health benefits regarding our knowledge of effective treatments and also boost our national resilience to future health emergencies.”