(Vienna, 23rd June 2014) In an international, retrospective study the effectiveness of the controversial neuraminidase inhibitor Tamiflu (active ingredient Oseltamivir) has been proven. The paper, recently published in “The Lancet Respiratory Medicine”, which drew data from over 29,000 hospital patients who tested positive for H1N1 influenza, proved via 78 centres in 40 countries, including the MedUni Vienna with the University Department of Internal Medicine I (Clinical Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine), that taking neuraminidase inhibitors reduces mortality among those affected by 20 per cent - regardless of when they took the medication.
“If neuraminidase inhibitors were given in the first two days of the illness, mortality was actually reduced by 50 per cent,” says Heinz Burgmann from the Clinical Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at the MedUni Vienna, summarising the findings. “This effect only occurs in adults, however.” And only for H1N1 influenza - not for a "normal" influenza infection. This means that the international scientists, led by the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham, were also able to contradict a meta-analysis by the Cochrane Collaboration which had attributed a very weak effect to Tamiflu.
“Neuraminidase inhibitors are no miracle drug,” admits Burgmann. But at the moment, they are the only agent available in the event of an H1N1 pandemic, i.e. a spread of the disease spanning countries or even continents. From the perspective of public health, the prophylactic storage of neuraminidase inhibitors is therefore justified for possible worst-case scenarios, according to the MedUni Vienna expert. Oseltamivir is also effective against 'bird flu', caused by the H5N1 virus.
In order to prevent the feared influenza pandemic of the bird flu virus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised all countries to keep enough quantities of this agent in storage to treat around 25 per cent of the population. The USA health administration (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) also recommends Oseltamivir as a useful agent against H1N1 influenza.
Service: The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
“Effectiveness of neuraminidase inhibitors in reducing mortality in patients admitted to hospital with influenza A H1N1pdm09 virus infection: a meta-analysis of individual participant data.” Lancet Respir Med 2014, dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70068-2.
Five research clusters at the MedUni Vienna
A total of five research clusters have been set up at the MedUni Vienna in which the MedUni Vienna is increasing its focus in the fields of fundamental and clinical research. The research clusters include medical imaging, cancer research / oncology, cardiovascular medicine, medical neurosciences and immunology. This work comes under the remit of immunology.