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Apr 28, 2009

Now we have the new "Swine Flu" and the hype is giving it an almost pandemic status. Tamiflu is being prepared for managing this new disease. Tamiflu is made from analogues of the anteretrovirals. Also, Tamiflu was prepared for the bird flue pandemic, which did not happen. Now Tamiflu will be used against swine flu. Is Tamiflu a broad based anteretroviral. can it be used on animals like dogs with say parvoviral infection, rabies, infectious canine hepatitis etc. Please, I am anxious to know

Response from Dr. McGowan

Tamiflu (oseltamivir) is an antiviral drug, but not antiretroviral drugs. Tamiflu is active against influenza (flu) viruses. It blocks the flu virus from spreading from one cell to another. Antiteroviral drugs block the grow of retroviruses (of which HIV is the most important cause of disease in humans). Tamiflu has no HIV activity, nor are they effective to treat hepatitis B or C. Tamiflu blocks an enzyme (neuraminidase) that flu needs to be released from infected cells. While tamiflu and a related medication zanamivir (Relenza) seem to be active against swine and avian flu, we learned this past year that the form of flu that hit North America this winter was resistant to these medications.

Best, Joe

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