On December 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Rapivab (peramivir) to treat influenza infection in adults.
Rapivab is an inhibitor of influenza virus neuraminidase, an enzyme that releases viral particles from infected cells. Neuraminidase inhibitors are commonly used to treat flu infection. Rapivab is the first neuraminidase inhibitor approved for intravenous (IV) administration and is administered as a single IV dose. It is intended for patients 18 years and older who have acute uncomplicated influenza and have shown symptoms of flu for no more than two days.
“Rapivab is the third neuraminidase inhibitor approved by the FDA to treat flu infection, but the first approved as an IV formulation .
Other neuraminidase inhibitors approved by the FDA to treat flu include oseltamivir, administered orally, and zanamivir, which is inhaled. Older antiviral drugs for flu, amantadine and rimantadine, are no longer recommended by CDC because circulating influenza strains are resistant to these drugs.
Rapivab and other antiviral drugs used to treat flu are not substitutes for early, annual flu vaccination, as recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. CDC recommends all persons ages 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine.