Updated on 6 February 2013
Although oseltamivir has been approved for use in the US since 1999, no studies have shown conclusively whether the drug significantly reduces the amount of virus produced (shed) by an infected person. Reduced shedding would likely lessen the chances of an infected person passing the virus to others. The oseltamivir trial will enroll a total of approximately 560 people at 31 locations in the US, Argentina and Thailand.
The trial comparing oral oseltamivir alone to treatment with oseltamivir plus two other licensed antiviral drugs is enrolling a total of up to 720 adults at sites in the US, Argentina, Australia, Mexico and Thailand.
The third trial is enrolling children as well as adults, including pregnant women, hospitalized with severe influenza. This trial aims to enroll a total of approximately 100 people at approximately 20 sites in the US. All participants will receive standard drug treatment for influenza, and half will also receive two infusions of plasma enriched with antibodies against the virus. Antibodies are infection-fighting proteins produced by the immune system. The antibodies used in the trial are derived from blood donated by volunteers who were recently vaccinated against flu or are recovered from a recent bout of flu.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that the addition of plasma with high levels of antibody against the virus may confer additional benefit over drug treatment alone. This trial will be one of the first to examine that possibility in a scientifically rigorous fashion," said Dr Davey. "The outcome of this trial may provide valuable data on how best to treat patients hospitalized with severe influenza."