New drug said to be game-changer against flu

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - There’s a new drug on the market to help fight the flu that doctors believe could be a game-changer.

The new drug known as Xofluza attacks flu cells once a person is infected and prevents them from spreading.

It’s the first new flu treatment in nearly 20 years, and it comes after a particularly bad outbreak.

“One of the worst seasons of flu was last year, so 80,000 people died in the United States last year because of the flu,” said Dr. Joshua Lenchus, chief medical officer at Broward Health Medical Center.

Dr. Lenchus said the drug is taken after a person is diagnosed with the flu.

“It’s a one-pill, single dose prescription medication,” said Lenchus.

According to a Genentech, the influenza virus enters the body most commonly through the nose and mouth.

From there, the virus spreads and the bad cells start replicating themselves.

That’s where Xofluza comes in to stop the duplication process, and in some cases eliminates the flu in just 24 hours. Previous drugs took up to three days.

“This works by inhibiting, by preventing the replication, the duplication of the virus, so this is very different than the way the Tamiflu works,” said Lenchus, “so that’s what makes this relatively groundbreaking.”

Xofluza will soon be available in a matter of weeks.

However, the drug will only be administered to patients over the age of 12.

Despite advances in drugs to tackle the flu, doctors still caution the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated.

The peak of flu season is between October through January.

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