AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Fighting the Flu: Why Kids Need More Influenza Antivirals

Influenza Virus

Influenza, otherwise known as the flu, is a very well known disease, that is unfortunately still very common. Given its commonality, there are many different ways to try and treat or mitigate the virus. Despite this fact, we can see discrepancies between guidelines and actual prescription practices for flu treatment among children, thanks to the study “Trends in Outpatient Influenza Antiviral Use Among Children and Adolescents in the United States.” 

The lead author, James Antoon, a professor and doctor at Vanderbilt, emphasizes that antiviral treatment, especially when administered early, significantly improves health outcomes in influenza cases among children. However, the study reveals that a significant proportion of children, particularly those under the age of 5 and especially those under 2, are not receiving the recommended antiviral treatments. In fact, only about 40% of children studied were treated with antivirals, despite guidelines suggesting that all of them should receive this treatment.

Interestingly, the study reveals a notable disparity in the geographic use of influenza antivirals, showing a significant difference in prescription rates across different regions, independent of flu cases.

The reasons behind the under prescription of antivirals in children is likely due to various factors, including differing perceptions about effectiveness, variations in the interpretation of diagnostic testing, misunderstanding of national guidelines, and concerns about potential adverse drug events associated with certain antivirals, such as oseltamivir.

Additionally, the study mentions a previous investigation led by Antoon that explored neuropsychiatric side effects in children diagnosed with influenza. While these events are relatively infrequent, the study observed that they occurred in both treated and untreated children.

The research emphasizes the importance of improving flu management among vulnerable children in the United States, highlighting the need for better following of guidelines regarding antiviral use in pediatric flu cases.

This study connects to a few things we’ve learned this year in our AP Biology class. The way oseltamivir works, is that once inside, your body metabolizes it, which activates the oseltamivir. Once activated, it binds to and inhibits the active sites of the enzymes responsible for spreading the flu throughout a host’s body. As we learned in AP Biology, it doesn’t completely stop the spread of the virus, but it definitely slows it down, allowing your white blood cells to eradicate the virus.

Do you think the underuse of antiviral medications in children with influenza is a widespread issue? How might this research impact pediatric healthcare practices in managing flu cases more effectively?

(Post Includes suggestions made by ChatGPT)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Miracle Drug for Drugs?


Tardigrades: Tiny Survivors in Denmark

1 Comment

  1. benzyme

    Hi Slayerson,
    thank you for sharing this Influenza antiviral information and shedding light on the potential underuse of antivirals. In the study you mentioned, it seems alarming to me that merely 40% of the children had Influenza antivirals, given that they were all recommended for it. Furthermore, you mentioned how Influenza antiviral treatment use is vastly different in different geographic regions. Unsure of why this fact is the case, I investigated. The most convincing reason I found for this phenomenon is that the genetic structure of the virus constantly changes. The COVID-19 virus has changed genetic structure from variant to variant, as we learned in AP Bio class, so this fact does not surprise me. It does, however, explain why the same antiviral treatments at the same rates are not used everywhere (the virus changes). Good job, Slayerson.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

Skip to toolbar