A worldwide outbreak of Avian influenza continues to be a possibility. There have been human cases of H5N1 avian influenza in southeast Asia, Africa and eastern Europe.
The production of an effective vaccine has been declared to be the number one priority. Attempts to develop antiviral medications and vaccines have met with only limited success for humans. One recent study of vaccine showed only 50% effectiveness and the vaccine could not be produced efficiently.
Adjuvants are chemicals that can be added to vaccines that reduce the necessary dose of vaccine and increase their effectiveness. One adjuvant is aluminum hydroxide (AlOH).
There are four antiviral drugs licensed by the U.S. government. Of these, amantidine and rimantadine interfere with the viral uncoating inside the cell. They are not advised for Avian influenza because the H5N1 virus has already developed resistance to these drugs in southeast Asia. Two other drugs, zanamivir and oseltamivir, are neuraminidase inhibitors which prevent new viruses from emerging from the inside of cells. Peramivir is a drug that shows 80% effectiveness; but, it must be administered in the muscle.
T-705 is a viral RNA polymerase inhibitor. In early studies it has been very effective.
Thirty six thousand people die annually of seasonal influenza. The studies that have been done for prevention of death from a pandemic will, hopefully, be of help in treatment of seasonal influenza.
CONCLUSION: Development of drugs and vaccines for prevention of deaths from a pandemic of avian influenza has met with limited success. Hopefully, the developments will be of help to people with seasonal influenza.
NOTE: There should be discussion of the possible hazards of using AlOH in vaccines.
Ely, JT, wrote an article on the effect of ascorbic acid in Exp. Biol. Med. (Maywood) in July, 2007 (PMID: 17609500.) He has evidence that ascorbic acid would be of protective effect in many people against avian flu virus. See summary 184.