Sensitivity of influenza viruses to zanamivir and oseltamivir: a study performed on viruses circulating in France prior to the introduction of neuraminidase inhibitors in clinical practice

Antiviral Res. 2005 Oct;68(1):43-8. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2005.07.004.


Influenza virus neuraminidase inhibitors (NAIs) were introduced in clinical practice in various parts of the world since 1999 but were only scarcely distributed in France. Prior to the generalization of zanamivir and oseltamivir utilization in our country, we decided to test a large panel of influenza strains to establish the baseline sensitivity of these viruses to anti-neuraminidase drugs, based upon a fluorometric neuraminidase enzymatic test. Our study was performed on clinical samples collected by practitioners of the GROG network (Groupe Régional d'Observation de la Grippe) in the south of France during the 2002-2003 influenza season. Out of 355 isolates tested in the fluorometric neuraminidase activity assay, 267 isolates could be included in inhibition assay against anti-neuraminidase drugs. Differences in IC50 range were found according to the subtype and the anti-neuraminidase drug. Influenza B and A/H1N1 viruses appeared to be more sensitive to zanamivir than to oseltamivir (mean B IC50 values: 4.19 nM versus 13 nM; mean H1N1 IC50 values: 0.92 nM versus 1.34 nM), while A/H1N2 and A/H3N2 viruses were more sensitive to oseltamivir than to zanamivir (mean H3N2 IC50 values: 0.67 nM versus 2.28 nM; mean H1N2 IC50 values: 0.9 nM versus 3.09 nM). Out of 128 N2 carrying isolates, 10 isolates had zanamivir or oseltamivir IC50 values in upper limits compared to their respective data range. Sequencing of the neuraminidase of these outliers N2 highlighted several mutations, but none of them were associated with resistance to neuraminidase inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acetamides / pharmacology*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • France
  • Guanidines / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / drug effects
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / enzymology
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / drug effects
  • Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype / growth & development
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects*
  • Influenza A virus / enzymology
  • Influenza B virus / drug effects*
  • Influenza B virus / enzymology
  • Influenza, Human / virology
  • Neuraminidase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neuraminidase / drug effects*
  • Oseltamivir
  • Pyrans / pharmacology*
  • Sialic Acids / pharmacology*
  • Zanamivir


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