A new flu drug that kills the virus in about 24 hours may be available next year if FDA trials go well.
The experimental drug was developed from studying the way some HIV drugs work to block that virus from seizing control of human cells to replicate itself, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The new drug requires only a single dosage of a pill, compared with the current leading flu drug Tamiflu, which must be taken multiple times a day for five days to kill the virus.
“The data that we’ve seen looks very promising,” World Health Organization vaccine advisory head Martin Howell Friede said, the WSJ reported. “This could be a breakthrough in the way that we treat influenza.”
The drug is on the fast-track to approval in Japan and could be approved there as early as March, the WSJ said. The drug’s creators said they will apply for U.S. approval this summer but a decision probably wouldn’t be made until next year.
Roche, the Swiss company that brought Tamiflu to the market, has stepped forward to develop the new drug as well, Bloomberg reported. Other drugs also are being developed to better counter the flu, but the 24-hour Japanese drug is the furthest along in development.
Like Tamiflu, the new drug works on both A and B strains of the influenza virus, the WSJ reported.
This season's flu outbreak is the worst since the swine flu pandemic of 2009. Vaccines for this year’s strains have proven less effective than expected, and a super vaccine that would counter all strains is still a decade or more away.
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