OSAKA -- Shionogi & Co. will release what it calls the world's first one-day treatment for influenza in Japan as early as 2018.
Unlike conventional offerings, the new drug prevents the flu virus from propagating. It inhibits the activity of enzymes that aid the propagation of viruses that enter the body through the throat or nose. The drug is taken orally.
Current flu treatments include Tamiflu, from Swiss drugmaker Roche. But Tamiflu does not halt the spread of the virus and must be taken for five days or so.
Shionogi has conducted phase I clinical trials in Japan, testing the drug on healthy people to evaluate its safety. The Japanese company plans to begin phase II trials on hundreds of subjects as early as November, once the flu season begins, to confirm efficacy.
The health ministry recently put the drug into a fast-track approval process for quickly bringing groundbreaking new treatments to market.