Updated on 6 February 2013
Volunteers with influenza are being enrolled at the trial sites
Singapore: Three clinical trials that seek to find more effective treatments for influenza are enrolling volunteers with influenza at the National Institutes of Health's Clinical Center in Bethesda in the US and at several dozen other sites, both domestic and international. Researchers are based in 36 sites, including Australia and Thailand in Asia Pacific apart from Argentina and Mexico.
One study examines whether treatment with a licensed influenza drug, oseltamivir, reduces the time that infected people continue to produce virus in the upper airway. The second trial tests whether a combination of three licensed flu antiviral drugs works better than oseltamivir alone in people with influenza who have chronic health conditions, such as heart or lung disease, that put them at greater risk of severe illness.
The third tests whether treatment with plasma enriched with anti-influenza antibodies improves the condition of hospitalized influenza patients compared to standard antiviral treatment alone.
"This year's flu season came earlier than usual and has been particularly hard on the elderly," said Dr Anthony S Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, part of the NIH. "Despite our best efforts to prevent influenza through vaccination, people still get sick every year with the flu. At best, influenza infection is a miserable experience. At worst, it can be a deadly one. We need better ways to treat people with influenza, which kills thousands of people in the US each year, and clinical research supported by NIAID helps to address that need."
The studies are sponsored by the NIAID Influenza Research Collaboration, a clinical research network funded by the NIAID Division of Clinical Research (DCR). Activities of the collaboration are coordinated under the leadership of Dr Richard Davey, deputy clinical director, NIAID DCR, and Dr John Beigel, medical affairs scientist on contract with NIAID.