Limitations of current prophylaxis against influenza virus infection

Am J Ther. Sep-Oct 2007;14(5):449-54. doi: 10.1097/MJT.0b013e3180a5e7d6.


Avian influenza has been a source of worldwide concern since Hong Kong authorities detected the first outbreak in 1997. Mainly as a result of poultry-to-human transmission, more than 200 cases of infection in humans have been attributed to the A/H5, A/H7, and A/H9 viral subtypes, with a case fatality rate for A/H5N1 infections exceeding 50%. A mutant or reassortant virus capable of efficient human-to-human transmission can set off a pandemic. Increased attention to prophylaxis against viral infection has identified several potentially complementary approaches: nonpharmacologic measures (eg, travel restrictions), vaccination, chemotherapeutic agents, and herbal/natural products. All have significant limitations that point out the need for additional modalities. Herbal/natural products, particularly those based on green tea extract, offer promise as adjuncts or alternatives to current interventions and warrant further evaluation in well-controlled human trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs / organization & administration
  • Infection Control / methods
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype / pathogenicity
  • Influenza Vaccines / therapeutic use
  • Influenza in Birds / transmission
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use
  • Poultry


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Influenza Vaccines
  • Plant Preparations