New 24-hour flu drug may not be a silver bullet after all

Feb. 11, 2019

In October, the FDA approved a new flu drug for the first time in 20 years. 

The drug, developed by Japan’s Shionogi and Co. and called Xofluza, was designed to snuff out the flu in 24 hours with one dose — a superior protocol than what’s required for its chief competitor, Roche’s Tamiflu, which has to be taken twice a day for five days. Xofluza has become a top-selling flu medication in Japan, which has been caught in the throes of its worst flu season in two decades.  

But according to a Wall Street Journal report, Xofluza may not be the miracle cure doctors thought it would be. Scientist are now saying that the drug may be ineffective in as many as six strains of the flu.  

Tokyo’s National Institute of Infection Diseases said that the these issues were observed in late-stage trials of the drug and that “nearly a quarter of children in late-stage trials were found to have viruses that fought off Xofluza.”

Sales of Xofluza have failed to take off in the U.S. since its approval and the drug’s $150 list price could also be contributing to its lower prescription rate. 

Read the full Wall Street Journal report.