According to NPR, a new drug could be the cure for the flu. Influenza, or the flu, kills about 650,000 a year, and many more are sickened by it. Sometimes, even the annual vaccine doesn’t protect you- as there are many strains of the flu and the vaccine protects against only one.
An experimental treatment could protect against many strains of the flu, even at currently deadly levels. While the treatment has not yet been tested on humans, it has the potential to cure the flu.
Because the flu has many constantly-changing strains, efforts to develop a single vaccine, administered once to provide long-lasting protection, have been thwarted. The new treatment would target the areas of the influenza virus that are the same in every strain, instead of the areas that change in each strain.
When the treatment was given orally to mice who were exposed to the flu, the treatment provided 100 percent protection against many strains. For the drug to be administered to humans, it will have to endure many more years of testing, but the direction is a promising one.
Now, the best treatment for the flu is Tamiflu. The drug works by preventing the replication of antibodies by the virus, which helps lessen the flu severity. Unfortunately, the drug must be taken very soon after infection or it will not be effective. More, there have been cases of resistance to the drug after multiple uses.
If this new treatment is successful, it could provide a flu treatment that is effective at an earlier stage of infection than Tamiflu can treat.