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As part of pandemic preparation, in the early 2000s many countries amassed large stockpiles of the influenza neuraminidase inhibitor Tamiflu. Tony Hisgett/Flickr

Controversies in medicine: the rise and fall of the challenge to Tamiflu

One of the biggest recent controversies in medicine involves the effectiveness of the antiviral drug Tamiflu. Governments have stockpiled the drug but many have raised doubts about its usefulness.
Influenza can be a serious and even life-threatening illness, but most infections are mild and self-limiting. HI TRICIA! 王 圣 捷/Flickr

Worried about the flu season? Here’s the story behind the figures

Today’s reports suggesting a particularly severe flu season could easily be overstating the case. The figures, released by Influenza Specialist Group say there have been more than 20,000 cases of flu nationally…
Antivirals Tamiflu and Relenza were stockpiled by governments across the world in response to the 2009 swine flu pandemic. Andrew Wales/Flickr

Tamiflu drug ‘largely ineffective’ in reducing hospitalisation: study

Antiviral drugs are largely ineffective for reducing hospital admissions and complications from influenza, and come with serious side-effects, according to a research review published by the Cochrane Collaboration…
At the heart of debates about whether to get the flu shot is the question of its effectiveness. Rachel Strum

The heart of the matter: how effective is the flu jab really?

Facts about Flu - We’ve considered all kinds of matters related to influenza this week. Now to the heart of the matter. People who think influenza vaccines are highly effective may have been surprised…
A lot of the illness we think of being caused by the ‘flu’ is actually due to other viruses. Kim Keegan

Is it really the flu? The other viruses making you ill in winter

Facts about Flu - Perhaps the misery you feel when ill in winter isn’t the fault of the much-maligned influenza virus after all. RSV, hMPV, CoV… these may all sound like random acronyms, but they are influenza’s…
Creating the universal flu vaccine will require more than innovation in science. Joel Kramer

The Holy Grail of influenza research: a universal flu vaccine

Facts about Flu - What if you needed just one flu shot to protect you from pandemic as well as the yearly seasonal flu viruses in circulation? Imagine you could only identify people by their jackets. Once…
The idea of vulnerable patients becoming infected by their health-care practitioner has spawned mandatory vaccination policies in many places. Thompson Rivers University

Should flu shots be mandatory for health-care workers?

Facts about Flu – Today we consider the ethics of requiring one group of people to have the flu shot as a condition of employment. We’re still looking for ways of preventing and treating influenza, and…
Not being able to give children the locally-manufactured vaccine leaves a hole in our pandemic preparations. Julian Smith/AAP

CSL’s flu vaccine leaves a hole in Australia’s pandemic plan

Facts about Flu - We often hear of an expected pandemic and had a scare in 2009 with the swine flu, but how well are we prepared? Although no longer considered an immediate risk, the recent outbreak of…
Roche has repeatedly refused to hand over trial data so researchers can evaluate whether Tamiflu reduces the symptoms of influenza. kiyong2/Flickr

The Tamiflu saga shows why all research data should be public

Facts about Flu - Today, we consider the long-running attempt to evaluate whether the antiviral drug Tamiflu works. There’s a dispute going on at the moment, a war of words with lots of public relations…
One of three major types of the flu viruses that infect people, influenza A ranges from H1 to H17 and from N1 to N9. Señor Codo

H1N1, H5N1, H7N9? What on earth does it all mean

Facts about Flu - Ever wondered what flu classifications mean? Read on. The pandemic influenza strain, or swine flu, that spread globally in 2009 was referred to as H1N1 and the new bird flu currently…
There’s still much confusion about the use of flu vaccines and their effectiveness. Lance McCord

Influenza vaccine for 2013: who, what, why and when?

Facts about Flu - Today, Ian Barr considers advice about who should get a flu shot. Questions about who should be vaccinated against influenza are asked each year as the winter (and influenza) season approaches…
The flu is not a disease, it is what’s known as a syndrome – a series of signs and symptoms caused by a variety of agents. sunnyUK/Flickr

Of influenza, flu, potions and key opinion leaders

Welcome to Facts about Flu - Our week-long series of articles about influenza. Ever wonder why the flu, coughs and colds that you suffered from in your youth have become a monster killer that rolls out…

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