NotesZanamivir is a drug that was created by scientific researchers in Australia. The scientists identified a part of the influenza virus that does not change, no matter how many times the virus mutates. They then created the Zanamivir molecule that locks into the unchanging part of the influenza virus particle, rendering it inactive and preventing the virus from spreading throughout a person's body. By immobilising virus particles, Zanamivir gives the body's immune system a chance to destroy them.
Three Australian scientists, Dr Peter Colman, Professor Mark von Itzstein and Dr Graeme Laver, contributed to the development of Zanamivir and shared the 1996 Australia Prize for their research effort. Dr Laver, at the Australian National University, first crystallised, neuraminadase, a protein which occurs on the outside of all influenza molecules. In 1983, Dr Colman of the CSIRO, announced that he and his colleagues had identified a part of neuraminadase as the unchanging molecular target. They described the exact shape of the site. In 1986, using the CSIRO group's information, Professor von Itzstein and a colleague, Dr Wen-Yang Wu at the Victorian College of Pharmacy, began making blocking molecules that would fit neatly into the neuraminadase site. By early 1990, Professor von Itzstein and Dr Wu had developed Zanamivir. In animal trials it successfully blocked influenza infections in ferrets. Their research was supported financially by a small Melbourne-based company called Biota Holdings which had, in 1986, acquired the intellectual rights related to the discovery of Zanamivir.
In 1990 Biota Holdings reached an agreement with the giant UK-based pharmaceutical company Glaxo-Wellcome to develop, test and market the anti-influenza drug. The drug underwent clinical trials between 1993 and 1998. In 1999 approval was granted by various regulatory bodies to market Zanamivir as Relenza in Australia, Sweden, USA and the European union. Relenza was launched in Australia in May 1999 and in the USA and UK in September 1999.
MadeGlaxoSmithKline Pty Ltd 2004
DesignedBiota Holdings 1998