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Antiviral activity of maca (Lepidium meyenii) against human influenza virus

Introduction

Influenza virus infection remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality during winter months almost every year. Influenza viruses can cause global epidemic diseases, known as pandemics, during which rates of illness and death from influenza-related complications can increase dramatically. High infection rates, short incubation periods, and rapid progression of the disease through the population are characteristic of influenza. Its hallmark is its epidemicity, and its impact on public health is dramatic. The final H1N1 statistics from Centers for Disease Control estimate that, between April 2009 and April 10, 2010, there were between 43 million and 89 million cases of 2009 H1N1 of which 195 000 and 403 000 in 2009 H1N1 were related hospitalizations. The control of viral diseases has been a subject of intense scientific endeavor. There is an increasing need to find new molecules or compounds with antiviral activity for the treatment of viral infections because in recent years it has reported an increase of mutations to antiviral against Flu-A.

Influenza Type A (Flu-A) and influenza Type B (Flu-B) are two types of influenza viruses. Flu-A virus is further categorized into subtypes based on two surface antigens: hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. Vaccination remains the primary method for prevention of influenza, but vaccine strains must be continually updated and their protective efficacy is limited in people over 65 years of age who paradoxically are the group most severely affected by influenza. An alternative to failed vaccination is the administration of antiviral drugs.

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