Vaccine expert shares information on potential bird flu drug
David Fedson, an internationally known vaccine expert, says
cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may have the potential to mitigate symptoms of
Fedson, who was speaking at The First International Conference on Avian
Influenza in Humans in Paris, called for research on the drugs' effects on
people and animals infected flu.
Fedson says that the
anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of statin drugs could decrease
respiratory distress and the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who
flu. He said observational studies suggest that statin drugs may reduce
death rates in patients who have sepsis or pneumonia.
Given the wide
distribution of statin drugs, the treatment may offer hope for patients in
countries with scant supplies of antiviral medications or vaccines. "If
epidemiological, laboratory, and clinical studies confirm the benefits of
statins for treatment of influenza, physicians everywhere will have something to
offer their patients for the pandemic," Fedson says.
statin drugs would also offer a cost advantage over antiviral agents, with a
5-day course of the antiviral drug oseltamivir costing about $60 to $90, while a
5-day course of generic simvastatin costs as little as $1.75.
scientific rationale for considering statins for treatment and prophylaxis of
pandemic influenza is persuasive, but the public health rationale is
overwhelmingly compelling," Fedson says.
For more information, see
Fedson's report: Preparing for Pandemic Vaccination: An International Policy Agenda
for Vaccine Development.
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