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Push Is on for New Flu Drugs in Pipeline By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor - Analysis October 25, 2009 1 comment Font Size Print RSS E-mail Share this story with friends Facebook Twitter Reddit StumbleUpon More WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators have approved emergency use of one experimental new antiviral drug against pandemic flu and researchers say several more in the pipeline may provide better ways to fight the virus. Late on Friday the Food and Drug Administration issued an authorization for peramivir, made by Biocryst Pharmaceuticals Inc and licensed to Shionogi & Co Ltd. The authorization allows the intravenous drug to be used in seriously ill patients who cannot take pills or inhale Relenza or when Tamiflu or Relenza do not seem to be helping. So far, H1N1 swine flu seems mild enough so that most patients recover with no treatment, and those who get seriously ill are often helped by Tamiflu, Roche AG and Gilead Sciences Inc's popular pill. But flu experts fully expect the virus will evolve resistance to Tamiflu, just as at least one strain of seasonal flu has. And it is spreading fast, ahead of efforts to get vaccines out, so drugs are vital for serious cases. Some of the new drugs in the works could be used if and when that happens, and some hold better potential for using to protect people against the virus before they become infected. October 25, 2009


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators have approved emergency use of one experimental new antiviral drug against pandemic flu and researchers say several more in the pipeline may provide better ways to fight the virus.

Late on Friday the Food and Drug Administration issued an authorization for peramivir, made by Biocryst Pharmaceuticals Inc and licensed to Shionogi & Co Ltd.

The authorization allows the intravenous drug to be used in seriously ill patients who cannot take pills or inhale Relenza or when Tamiflu or Relenza do not seem to be helping.

So far, H1N1 swine flu seems mild enough so that most patients recover with no treatment, and those who get seriously ill are often helped by Tamiflu, Roche AG and Gilead Sciences Inc's popular pill.

But flu experts fully expect the virus will evolve resistance to Tamiflu, just as at least one strain of seasonal flu has. And it is spreading fast, ahead of efforts to get vaccines out, so drugs are vital for serious cases.

Some of the new drugs in the works could be used if and when that happens, and some hold better potential for using to protect people against the virus before they become infected.

They include Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd's CS 8958 or laninamivir and another drug called T-705 or favipiravir, made by Fujifilm Holdings Corp unit Toyama Chemical Co.

If these drugs could be readied and if they work as well as hoped, they can fill in during the months it takes to make flu vaccine -- especially if the H1N1 virus mutates and a new vaccine is needed or if some new strain of influenza emerges.

PROMISING FIELD

"In general, I think that the field is looking much more promising than it has in some years and obviously this is in part due to the threats of H5N1 (avian influenza) and pandemic H1N1 disease," said Dr. Frederick Hayden of the University of Virginia and Britain's Wellcome Trust.

"It's good there are alternative drugs and approaches, including combinations, that are being developed."



 
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