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Aquatic birds are the natural reservoirs of a wide variety of influenza A viruses. Novel influenza strains occasionally emerge from wild bird populations and spread to other species. Historically, pandemic influenza strains crossing over to humans have led to serious outbreaks. The rapid evolution of influenza strains in birds presents a major public health concern. Globalization and intensified agriculture have increased human contact with avian influenzas in the past century. Antiviral drugs effective against influenza are an important part of preparing for outbreaks, as well as common seasonal flu’s. Two major classes of antiviral drugs widely used against influenza are M2 inhibitors and neuraminidase inhibitors. The M2 inhibitor amantadine was approved by the FDA in 1966. More than 30 years later the neuraminidase inhibitor oseltamivir was approved for use against the flu in 1999, marketed as Tamiflu®. Unfortunately, flu viruses are highly mutable and can quickly develop resistance to treatment. Resistance has been observed to both amantadine and oseltamivir, with resistance to amantadine especially widespread since its introduction 50 years ago. Monitoring levels of drug sensitivity in natural flu strains collected from the wild is one way to understand how different strains are affected by antiviral drugs and how resistance spreads.

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