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Scientists developing new flu pill that could save thousands of lives

Published on 07/05/2013

A new pill that is designed to treat flu symptoms and prevent death from the virus is being developed by US scientists.

Flu can cause sneezing but can also lead to death

Researchers at Maryland University have been experimenting on mice infected with the virus and proved that the use of Eritoran can improve survival rates.

Eritoran was shown to treat the virus even after it had developed and end the use of annual preventative injections.

When flu is contracted the lungs produce an immune response in the form of a protein that causes lung damage. Dr Stefanie Vogel and her team at Maryland University discovered that this protein is destroyed by the Eritoran and prevents serious harm to the lungs.

Whilst most antivirals need to be administered within three days of infection, the new drug can be used up to six days from catching the virus and will still be effective.

Vogel said: “In contrast to current antivirals that must be administered soon after infection, Eritoran treatment significantly enhanced survival, even when started as late as six days after infection.”

Resistance to existing antiviral treatments is ever-increasing as the virus strain adapts to the latest therapies. New treatments such as Eritoran are vital in the on-going battle with influenza and the length with which it is effective is seen as an important step for health experts.

On an annual basis, influenza epidemics result in millions of cases of serious illness and up to half a million deaths worldwide.

Flu kills hundreds of people a year in the UK and those most at risk are the elderly or critically ill. Seasonal outbreaks are common and annual preventative injections are costly and only work before you contract the virus.

Vogel said: “There is a pressing need to develop alternatives to annual influenza vaccines and antiviral agents licensed for mitigating influenza infection.”

By having health insurance you can get access to the latest treatments and medication.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2013

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