Researchers say new drug could end the flu as we know it

A study last year shed light on a new drug that researchers were hoping might end the flu as we know it.

University of Washington researchers co-authored the study that was published in  the journal PLOS Pathogens.

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The revolutionary new drug is called HB36.6. In lab studies it was a treatment for the flu, but more importantly, it seemed it could also prevent a victim from ever developing the flu.

The drug appeared to cover multiple strains of the flu. Scientists said the drug would be far more effective than Tamiflu, if the results of lab work on mice also applied to the human body.

In the study, lab mice were given a single dose of HB36.6 via the nose. Two days later, they were injected with the 2009 strain of the H1N1 pandemic flu virus that killed more than a half million people in Asia.

The mice were completely protected and did not develop any flu symptoms.

Mice that were exposed to the H1N1 flu first were also protected with the new drug.

Researchers also found that a single dose of HB36.6 was more effective in mice than 10 doses of Tamiflu.

Researchers believe the anti-flu drug could also work just as effectively in people with weakened immune systems.

Researchers, also at the University of Washington, now believe flu shots could be a thing of the past soon

Explore>> Related: Universal vaccine could end annual flu shots and eventually work for other viruses, too

A new “universal” vaccine uses genetic material of the influenza virus – the part that doesn't mutate – and teaches the body to recognize it, researchers said.

The vaccine is given through "little micro injections into skin cells."

It could mean the end of the annual flu shot, but is still five to 10 years in the future.

Credit: Carsten Koall

Credit: Carsten Koall

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