As the H7N9 bird flu virus continues to spread through China, scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine have reported the discovery of a new drug to aid in the treatment of severe influenza infection.
Scientists operating out of the University of Maryland School of Medicine may have uncovered a breakthrough drug in the treatment of the most dangerous and deadly influenza infections.
The discovery of the novel treatment was reported first in the journal Nature and picked up by Science Daily and demonstrates how the drug, known as Eritoran, functions in mice. In the studies, mice were given a lethal dose of influenza virus and were shown to have fully recovered after Eritoran as administered.
Aside from being able to reverse what would otherwise be a deadly outcome, Eritoran was shown to work for up to six days after the initial exposure to the influenza virus. Current anti-viral drugs are effective only within two days of initial infection, and most patients are not seen by doctors in time for anti-viral treatments to be viable.
Seasonal influenza kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people worldwide annually.
The drug's promise comes amid the backdrop of a deadly new bird flu strain emerging out of China. The H7N9 virus has claimed 27 lives in China, and experts believe it will emerge around the world.
"We are at the start of a very long haul with H7N9," Professor Angus Nicoll from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said, according to a Reuters report on the possibility of the virus making its way to Europe.
It is unclear whether or not Eritoran could be effective against coronaviruses.