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Triple antiviral combination stops H1N1 flu in lab tests

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers have found that a combination of three antiviral drugs stops H1N1 flu from replicating, found in lab studies. The combination of three widely available antiviral drugs worked better to stop H1N1 flu than any single or double combination of antiviral drugs in the study.

Mark Prichard, Ph.D who serves on the board of directors of the International Society for Antiviral Research found that oseltamivir (Tamiflu), amantadine (Symmetrel) and ribavirin used together stopped H1N1 flu growth in the lab.

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"These findings suggest strongly that the triple combo is highly synergistic against virus replication, meaning it strikes multiple targets within H1N1 flu and other strains," Prichard says. "Only human testing will determine for sure, but this combo has the potential to be the antiviral therapy of choice for serious flu infection and to address Tamiflu resistance".

The triple antiviral combination not only halted H1N1 flu, but was also effective for stopping Avian flu and seasonal flu. The researchers are seeking approval to begin testing in humans.

Prichard says because flu last for a short period of time, using a triple antiviral drug approach for treatment can prevent flu strains from developing resistance. "That's why this research is so timely, and why antiviral safety and testing data is crucial". The researchers, from University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases says they would be "thrilled" if the triple antiviral combination turns out to reduce the impact of severe H1N1 flu. The findings from lab studies shows that use of the three readily available antiviral drugs can stop H1N1 flu virus growth, as well as Avian and seasonal flu.