Can this pill protect us against ‘wide range’ of flu viruses?

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Image credit: Reuters

The flu season is at its height in the Northern Hemisphere, but—as many are discovering—seasonal flu vaccines don’t always provide complete protection, because unexpected flu strains show up unannounced. Now, researchers report they’ve developed an experimental oral medicine that protects mice from a wide range of influenza viruses. If it works in humans, it could lead to a new pill to fight one of the deadliest infections humanity faces.

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[Researcher Maria] Van Dongen’s team showed the would-be drug [JNJ4796] blocks a group of flu viruses from infecting mouse and human cells in a petri dish. And studies in mice given the drug orally showed it prevented animals from getting sick after being exposed to lethal doses of multiple strains of the flu, the researchers report [March 7] in Science.

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That said, JNJ4796 doesn’t work against all flu viruses. The compound blocks influenza A group 1 viruses, which includes the H1N1 virus that accounts for nearly half of flu infections this season. But it doesn’t block two other classes—influenza A group 2 or influenza B viruses—that account for the rest of this year’s infections.

Read full, original post: New pill shows early promise for blocking many strains of flu

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