Key Facts About Antivirals and 2018 H7N9 Pandemic

What You Need to Know about Antivirals and 2018 H7N9 Pandemic Flu


There are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating both seasonal and pandemic H7N9 called “antiviral drugs.” These drugs can make you better faster and may also prevent serious complications of H7N9 infection. It’s important that antiviral drugs be used soon after symptoms develop to treat flu in people who are very sick (for example people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with flu and have a greater chance of getting serious flu complications (see box). Other people may also be treated with antiviral drugs by their doctor this season.

What We Know Now

  • Currently, early treatment with influenza antiviral drugs and non-pharmaceutical actions offer the best available options to fight against this new virus.
  • Pandemic H7N9 virus is susceptible to the antiviral medications called neuraminidase inhibitors, which means these drugs can be used to treat illness caused by 2018 H7N9 virus infection.
  • Recommended antiviral drugs can treat pandemic H7N9 infection and reduce serious outcomes. Treatment should be initiated as early as possible after symptoms develop as possible.
  • The priority for influenza antiviral drugs during this outbreak is early treatment of people with acute respiratory symptoms and suspected H7N9 infection. Treatment will be based on symptoms and not laboratory diagnosis.

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