Zanamivir

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Description:
Zanamivir (INN) () is a neuraminidase inhibitor used in the treatment and prophylaxis of influenza caused by influenza A virus and influenza B virus. Zanamivir was the first neuraminidase inhibitor commercially developed. It is currently marketed by GlaxoSmithKline under the trade name Relenza as a powder for oral inhalation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no flu, seasonal or pandemic, has shown any signs of resistance to zanamivir.

History

Zanamivir was discovered in 1989 by scientists led by Mark von Itzstein at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, Monash University, in collaboration with the CSIRO and scientists at Glaxo, UK. Zanamivir was the first of the neuraminidase inhibitors. The discovery was initially funded by the Australian biotechnology company Biota and was part of Biota's ongoing program to develop antiviral agents through rational drug design. Its strategy relied on the availability of the structure of influenza neuraminidase, by X-ray crystallography. It was also known, as far back as 1974, that 2-deoxy-2,3-didehydro-N-acetylneuraminic acid (DANA), a sialic acid analogue, was an inhibitor of neuraminidase. Sialic acid (N-acetyl neuraminic acid, NANA), the substrate of neuraminidase, is itself a mild inhibitor of the enzyme, but the dehydrated derivative DANA, a transition-state analogue, is a better inhibitor.

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