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Peramivir – Single-Dose Flu Treatment Looks Promising
- Updated: September 8, 2014
The outcome of two new studies shows that injectable Peramivir shortens or alleviates symptoms associated with the flu. In addition, researchers claim this single-dose treatment appears to be completely safe and highly effective.
As part of the two studies, 427 adults were injected with either one dose of Peramivir or placebo within 48 hours of experiencing flu-like symptoms. For those who were given the single-dose injection, symptoms eased 22 hours sooner than for participants given a placebo. Researchers also reported that the group who received Peramivir was less contagious over the first two days of having been given the injection.
According to Dr. Debra Spicehandler, infectious disease expert with the Northern Westchester Hospital in New York, these findings are exciting since influenza is a major cause of both illness and death. She went on to say that this is a huge breakthrough since Peramivir not only reduces symptoms but also makes people less contagious to others.
Rich Whitley, lead researcher of the University of Alabama at Birmingham study, stated that people given this single-dose treatment tolerated it extremely well. This particular study was funded by the United States Institutes of Health, along with BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, the drug maker.
Since 2010, Peramivir has been used to treat people with the flu in Korea and Japan. If the single-dose treatment gets approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in America, it would be the first and only single-dose injectable flu treatment offered.
Findings from the studies were presented to the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC, which is considered typical until the information is published in a journal reviewed by peers. This is important since according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths occur annually in the US alone.
Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious disease specialist with the North Shore University Hospital in New York, agreed that having a treatment capable of reducing or alleviating symptoms of the flu is great news but he went on to remind people that the best offense against this illness is a good defense. As he stated, people need to be diligent in washing hands, especially during flu season.
All experts associated with the two studies support Peramivir as being a valuable medicine to have available when the flu hits, but again, the best course of action is to avoid getting the illness at all.