The antiviral drugs amantadine and rimantadine block a viral ion channel (M2 protein) and prevent the virus from infecting cells. These drugs are sometimes effective against influenza A if given early in the infection but are always ineffective against influenza B because B viruses do not possess M2 molecules. Measured resistance to amantadine and rimantadine in American isolates of H3N2 has increased to 91% in 2005. This high level of resistance may be due to the easy availability of amantadines as part of over-the-counter cold remedies in countries such as China and Russia, and their use to prevent outbreaks of influenza in farmed poultry.
Figure 2. Antiviral drugs Symmetrel (amantadine) and tablets of Flumadine (rimantadine)