Last year, the United States experienced one of the deadliest influenza seasons for more than four decades. Data from the…
Last year, the United States experienced one of the deadliest influenza seasons for more than four decades. Data from the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention Treatment (CDC) show that in the last winter about 80,000 Americans were killed from flu-like diseases and complications – during a typical season the number turns around 30,000.
With the flu season right around the corner, it’s more important than ever to nurture yourself and your loved ones against the virus. Part of the defense will be baloxavir marboxil, the first influenza virus approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for almost two decades, announced the agency Wednesday.
Baloxavir, which will be sold under the trade name Xofluza, is a single dose intended to treat symptoms of acute uncomplicated influenza in people aged 12 years and older who have had symptoms of influenza for up to 48 hours. The FDA evaluated the results of two clinical trials, involving almost 2000 patients, which showed Xofluza to reduce the duration and severity of flu-like symptoms.
“With thousands of people getting the flu every year and many become seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment options is crucial,” says FDA Commissioner Dr. Gottlieb in a statement. “This new drug provides an important, additional treatment option.”
Gofie Gorge Images | David Greedy
Xofluza will join several other FDA-approved antiviral drugs in the flu-like market, such as Tamiflu, a five-day treatment. But Gottlieb was still calling families to get their flu vaccinations if they have not already done so because “annual vaccination is the primary way of preventing and controlling influenza breakthroughs,” he said in the press release.
Although effectiveness varies from year to year, flu vaccine is responsible for millions People get sick. In the season 2016-2017, flu vaccination prevented 5 million influenza diseases and 85,000 influenza-related hospitalizations according to CDC.
Still, there is always a chance to catch the flu, even when vaccinated. Some flu strains, such as H3N2, may mutate rapidly, making it more difficult to develop a vaccine directed against the specific virus. In addition, influenza strains often change from one season to another, which weakens the effect of antiviral medication.
“Having more treatment options that work in different ways to attack the virus is important because influenza viruses can become resistant to antiviral drugs,” said Debra Birnkrant, MD, director of the FDA division of antiviral products, in one statement.
Xofluza will be available to patients across the United States in the next few weeks – and with a big price tag. The endo drug costs $ 150, although some people may get the drug at a discounted rate.