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Research project: ALICE Antivirals for influenza like illness - an RCT of clinical and cost effectiveness in primary care

Currently Active: 

Infectious diseases are a major threat to human wellbeing and economic and social development. Influenza, a highly contagious virus, causes a common respiratory infection with local and systemic symptoms.

Patients with influenza can develop complications such as pneumonia, otitis media, encephalopathy or other secondary bacterial infections. Annual influenza epidemics cause substantial morbidity and mortality1 and the 2009 H1N1 influenza outbreak was defined as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO)2.

Effective control and management of seasonal influenza and pandemic outbreaks is a high priority for national governments. Guidelines in many countries recommend influenza vaccination of older people and individuals with underlying chronic medical conditions that increase risk of complications. In some settings, for example in Japan, treatment with antiviral agents is common in primary care. The rationale is to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications and prevent spread. However, the routine use of antiviral agents in European primary care is rare.

Determining the cost-effectiveness of antiviral treatment and whether those at higher risk of complications benefit more is of great importance to the delivery of primary, and indeed, self-care. For example, in many EU countries, patients with ILI symptoms are advised not to consult but to self-manage and patients with additional risk factors are not yet routinely treated with an antiviral agent. This is largely because of an absence of evidence about the cost effectiveness of using these agents in addition to usual primary care management. Should the overall advice change and should all patients with ILI or subgroups of patients with ILI be encouraged to consult to obtain antiviral treatment, then primary care services would need re-configuration with considerable resource implications.

Duration: 01-10-2015 - 30-09-2018 

Funder: European Commission, FP7



Related research groups

Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education
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