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J&J’s Flu Drug is Promising Against Drug Resistant Influenza

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johnson and johnsonEvery year, more than one billion people suffer from influenza globally. It results in about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness and about 50,000 deaths, according to World Health Organization (WHO).

Influenza, commonly called as flu is an infectious disease caused by a virus. The continuous and excessive use of many approved antiviral medications leads to the development of resistance to these drugs. It worsens the situation and increases the count of serious illness and death.

Johnson and Johnson’s investigational antiviral drug, pimodivir has demonstrated a significant reduction in the count of virus in patients with a type of influenza.

Now, the company is hopeful to treat those influenza patients with pimodivir who get resistant to the approved line of antiviral medications.

Pimodivir is tested as monotherapy or in combination with the other approved flu drug, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for the treatment of acute uncomplicated seasonal influenza.

Apart from oseltamivir, zanamivir (Relenza) and peramivir (Rapivab) are also approved for flu treatment. Influenza virus can evolve from season to season or even within the same season. When the virus replicates it evolve its genetic structure to get resistant to the current treatment.

In the mid-stage clinical study, pimodivir as monotherapy statistically reduced the count of virus in patients compared to those on the dummy treatment. Pimodivir along with Tamiflu also resulted in significant decline in the count of virus compared to pimodivir alone.

Compared to oseltamivir, pimodivir targets another viral replication process that could treat patients with influenza A who are resistant to existing line of treatments.

Pimodivir has already received Fast Track designation to be developed as a treatment for influenza, an infection in hospitalized patients, or are at high risk of related complication.

Pimodivir was in-licensed from Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2014. The late-stage development of the drug is expected to begin in the next half of 2017.

Featured image credit: Bigstockphoto (pimodivir influenza drug)

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