Characterization of influenza A/HongKong/156/97 (H5N1) virus in a mouse model and protective effect of zanamivir on H5N1 infection in mice

J Infect Dis. 1998 Dec;178(6):1592-6. doi: 10.1086/314515.


A recent outbreak of influenza in Hong Kong was caused by a highly virulent virus of avian origin. Concern that the appearance of such a virus in the human population may be a harbinger of a new pandemic has brought increased attention to the issue of antivirals available for treatment of influenza. A/HongKong/156/97 (H5N1), the first virus of H5N1 subtype isolated from a human host, is highly virulent in the mouse model and can infect mouse lungs without requiring adaptation. High mortality and evidence of systemic disease, including spread to the brain after intranasal inoculation, are observed. Zanamivir, a novel neuraminidase inhibitor, is effective at decreasing replication of the virus in vitro. In a model of lethal challenge in mice, zanamivir reduces lung titers of the virus and decreases morbidity and mortality.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Female
  • Guanidines
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H5N1 Subtype*
  • Influenza A virus / drug effects
  • Influenza A virus / isolation & purification
  • Influenza A virus / pathogenicity
  • Influenza A virus / physiology*
  • Influenza, Human / physiopathology
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Lung / virology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Organ Specificity
  • Pyrans
  • Sialic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Virulence
  • Virus Replication / drug effects
  • Zanamivir


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Guanidines
  • Pyrans
  • Sialic Acids
  • Zanamivir