In October 2015, the Academy and Wellcome Trust published a report exploring the scientific evidence around the treatment of influenza.
Following discussion with the Department of Health, the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Wellcome Trust convened a steering group to prepare a report on the treatment of influenza. The steering group’s final report is available for download on the right-hand side of this page.
To inform the report, a small group of experts were brought together for an all-day advisory workshop on 24 February. The first half of the event focused on reviewing recent scientific evidence for the use of existing antivirals in response to seasonal and pandemic influenza. The second half explored research priorities and methodological improvements, as well as the development and implications of resistance, including the pipeline of new treatments.
The steering group, chaired by Professor Sir Patrick Sissons FMedSci, developed the workshop agenda and produced the final report, which combines discussions at the workshop with a wider consideration of the available evidence.
A document of supplementary material containing the following is also available to download:
- Summaries of recent key studies, as provided by their authors.
- A series of slides, presented at the workshop by Professor Frederick Hayden (Professor of Medicine, University of Virginia), offering an overview of the products in development and prospects for future therapies.
- Post-workshop comments from Professor Carl Heneghan (Professor of Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Oxford), and from Roche, the manufacturers of oseltamivir.
Professor Sir Patrick Sissons FMedSci (chair of the steering group) Emeritus Regius Professor of Physic, University of Cambridge
Professor Jeffrey Almond FMedSci Visiting Professor, Medical Sciences Division, University of Oxford
Professor Deborah Ashby OBE FMedSci Chair in Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials, Imperial College London
Professor Chris Butler Professor of Primary Care, University of Oxford
Dr Jeremy Farrar OBE FMedSci Director, Wellcome Trust
Sir John Skehel FRS FMedSci Emeritus Scientist, Francis Crick Institute
- Review the scientific evidence (primarily from recent systematic reviews and large cohort study reports) to determine what level of support there is for the use of existing antivirals in response to seasonal and pandemic influenza. Specifically:
- treatment for individuals with underlying health conditions that predispose them to complications of influenza (including pregnant women) who develop influenza;
- treatment for previously healthy people who develop severe influenza;
- treatment for any previously healthy people with influenza that is not (currently) severe (‘treat all’ approach);
- commencing treatment in severely ill individuals more than 48 hours after onset of symptoms; and
- in prophylaxis.
- Consider the development and implications of resistance, including the development of new antivirals and new treatments.
- Identify research priorities and any improvements in methodologies that will support the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza.