A new drug that its makers say will kill the flu virus in just a day, called Xofluza, just received a fast-tracked approval that could bring it to store shelves in Japan by May.
The drug, which has generic name baloxavir marboxil, promises to be more advanced than Tamiflu, or oseltamivir (the existing drug used to treat flu). Both drugs work to shorten the duration of flu symptoms by a couple of days.
Taking Xofluza won’t end symptoms any sooner. Xofluza, however, promises to deactivate the flu virus in the human body as quickly as 24 hours after it’s taken. While existing treatment plans suggest taking antiflu drugs repeatedly over the course of five days, Xofluza is one pill, taken only once.
Though the patient’s experience of the flu will be the same, this means that after that one dose and one day, patients would no longer be infectious. That could be a game-changer in terms of spreading the flu to others.
The Japanese firm that makes Xofluza, Shionogi, received the fast-tracked approval from Japan’s health ministry to make and sell it there. The drug may not be available to buy in Japan until May, though, because no price has been set by the country’s national insurer.
Roche, the drug manufacturer that makes Tamiflu, is already working with Shionogi and another drugmaker on trials in the U.S.