The Miracle Pill?
There is no denying that the flu has been on a vicious tear this year. 1 in 10 deaths in the U.S. attributed to the flu or pneumonia. According to the CDC, 63 children have died thus far from this year’s monster flu virus compared to the 110 children claimed by the previous year’s influenza.
“This year’s Flu Season is breaking records and influenza activity is still on the rise,” says Center for Disease Control acting director, Dr. Anne Schuchat.
But hope could be on the horizon with a miracle flu pill that is said to be able to halt or even kill the virus within a single day with just a single-dose needed.
What is the flu?
There are four species of influenza viruses— A, B, C, and D. Seasonal flu is caused by influenza A and B. Every year, different strains of these viruses circulate and hit those with compromised immune systems the hardest.
The reason this year’s flu season is far more severe than previous years is because it involves the dreaded H3N2, a strain of the influenza A virus that causes more health complications and is insanely tricky to combat.
And while it isn’t far-fetched to assume that you or someone you know may have been impacted by the flu, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), led by commissioner Scott Gottlieb, is already working on vaccines for next year’s flu season.
“We’re already partnering with other public health agencies to conduct essential work,” Gottlieb said in a statement released on Monday.
Other health agencies, like Japanese drug maker, Shionogi, which claims it has developed a new miracle flu pill treatment (a single pill) that can kill the influenza virus within in a day’s time.
According a recent Bloomberg report, Shionogi’s experimental compound called, Baloxavir, killed the flu in American and Japanese patients during a late-stage trial, faster than any flu drug currently available.
Nearly two decades ago, you may recall Roche Holding AG’s developed a prescription antiviral medicine for treatment of flu in people two weeks or older, called Tamiflu. Tamiflu, which generated more than $3 billion in sales according to Bloomberg, reduces the duration of illness by a day if taken within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. But with mutating seasonal strains, the prescription medications dwindling efficacy has spurred calls for new alternatives to be developed.
What is this Miracle Flu Pill?
Baloxavir works by inhibiting an enzyme that the virus needs to replicate inside a host cell and requires a single dose, unlike Tamiflu, which is usually taken twice a day for five days.
Co-developed by Roche Holdings AG, Baloxavir, this miracle flu pill received preliminary approval in Japan last week. If approved by the FDA, Baloxavir wouldn’t be available in the U.S. until 2019 at the earliest.
Do you support flu vaccines? Share your views in the comment section below.
Especially relevant: Last week’s Truth Tuesday.
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