Flu warfare may look different next year

(CNN)New ways of preventing and treating the flu are on the horizon.

One experimental treatment developed by researchers in Japan has garnered plenty of attention, but only time will tell whether or not the drug is worthy of whole-hearted enthusiasm.

In October, Shionogi & Co. Ltd., based in Osaka, reported that its experimental drug baloxavir marboxil reduced influenza viral load to undetectable levels — killed the virus — within 24 hours for more than half of the 414 participants in a study.

However, Tamiflu, the antiviral many people now use to fight the flu, similarly destroyed the virus within 24 hours, though in only 9% of 346 patient participants, the company reported.

Shionogi also studied how long the drug took to relieve symptoms. Patients treated with baloxavir marboxil saw their symptoms alleviated, on average, in 53.7 hours; those given a placebo averaged 80.2 hours, the company said.

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