Influenza virus neuraminidase inhibitors

Lancet. 2000 Mar 4;355(9206):827-35. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(99)11433-8.


Neuraminidase promotes influenza virus release from infected cells and facilitates virus spread within the respiratory tract. Several potent and specific inhibitors of this enzyme have been developed, and two (zanamivir and oseltamivir) have been approved for human use. Unlike amantadine and rimantadine that target the M2 protein of influenza A viruses, these drugs inhibit replication of both influenza A and B viruses. Zanamivir is delivered by inhalation because of its low oral bioavailability whereas oseltamivir is administered by mouth. Early treatment with either drug reduces the severity and duration of influenza symptoms and associated complications. Both agents are effective for chemoprophylaxis. Because of a broader antiviral spectrum, better tolerance, and less potential for emergence of resistance than is seen with the M2 inhibitors, the neuraminidase inhibitors represent an important advance in the treatment of influenza.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / adverse effects
  • Acetamides / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Guanidines
  • Humans
  • Influenza, Human / drug therapy
  • Influenza, Human / virology*
  • Neuraminidase / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Orthomyxoviridae / drug effects*
  • Oseltamivir
  • Pyrans
  • Sialic Acids / adverse effects
  • Sialic Acids / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Zanamivir


  • Acetamides
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Guanidines
  • Pyrans
  • Sialic Acids
  • Oseltamivir
  • Neuraminidase
  • Zanamivir