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Ask Dr. Nandi: New Drug on the Horizon for Flu's Ills?

Posted: 7:16 PM, Oct 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-25 23:54:33-04

(WXYZ) — Scientists have created a groundbreaking new drug that could potentially treat a virus that kills thousands of Americans every year – and that’s the flu.

Question: What is it and how does it work?

It’s an antiviral drug called EIDD-2801. And it’s been very effective in treating the flu in animals. lt works by blocking an enzyme called polymerase that the virus needs to replicate itself. And once it’s blocked, it causes the virus to create genetic flaws and errors. So it can’t replicate itself and as it continues to mutate, it basically kills itself off.

Question: Is it any different than Tamiflu?

Absolutely. The problem with the flu virus is that it’s always changing. It mutates and over time becomes resistant to our antiviral drugs. Like for instance, the adamantanes were the first class of drugs to treat the flu, and they’re obsolete now. But with EIDD-2801, the researchers discovered that the flu virus has not found an escape route. So it’s been able to block the flu from mutating and becoming resistant to it.

Question: Has this new drug been tested on humans? And how quickly does it work?

It hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but it has been tested on human tissue experiments in the lab. And the good news is that they had similar results to the animal tests. Now how might it impact symptoms, well the researchers found that this drug significantly reduced and shortened the duration of fever in animals and it also reduced respiratory symptoms. Plus the animals who were given the drug 12 hours after they were infected never got sick. Now this doesn’t mean the same thing will happen when human trials get started, but it looks promising. And if it works, it could very well save lives. Because the flu kills anywhere between 30 and 80 thousand Americans each year. So while we wait to see how this new drug does in human trials, please remember to get the flu shot, wash your hands often with soap and water, and stay home if you’re sick. These will all help lower your risk of catching the flu and passing it to others.

This week on The Dr. Nandi Show, “Diet is a Four-Letter Word for Failure”. We all know it can be very confusing when it comes to losing weight as there are so many different types of new diets and fads cropping up all the time. But the key is to create a realistic
plan that makes healthy eating a way of life. So join Dr. Nandi this Sunday and you’ll meet real people who have found a way to permanently lose weight through healthy lifestyle changes. Tune in on October 27th at 1:30 AM **please note this is technically Monday as it's after midnight.