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Home / Health / The flu may overload our healthcare system this winter. This drug offers some hope. (opinion)

The flu may overload our healthcare system this winter. This drug offers some hope. (opinion)



The news coincides with the 2020-2021 flu season, and the threat may coincide with the new rise in Covid-19 infections in various countries this fall and winter. The fusion of these two viruses may overwhelm already strained medical resources and complicate testing procedures, especially considering that the diseases they cause have very similar symptoms.
A previous study published in The Lancet in June proved that a single dose of baloxavir can be as effective as oseltamivir in shortening the duration of flu when taken twice a day for 5 days. However, the latest July study may be more meaningful because it shows the role of baloxavir in reducing the spread of disease among family members.

We are all keenly aware that respiratory infections are easily spread in families and in schools, dormitories or other places where people gather for a long time. It is indeed possible to greatly reduce the incidence of pandemic influenza. This is very welcome news.

In 201
8, baloxavir was initially approved in Japan for the treatment of simple influenza A and B, and in the United States for people over 12 years of age. This July study was conducted during the 2018-2019 influenza season in Japan and assessed the ability of baloxavir to reduce household transmission. In most cases, the first family member to catch the flu is a child under the age of 11. It is worth noting that family members did not receive the flu vaccine. After influenza infection was detected in at least one family member (as judged by fever, at least one moderate or severe respiratory symptom, and a positive flu test), uninfected family members received placebo or Baloxavir treatment.
Why it is important to catch the flu this year

Among the families receiving placebo, 13.6% of residents were infected with influenza. Only 1.9% of people treated with baloxavir had influenza, and no serious side effects were found in the treatment group.

But there are some caveats. Two influenza A viruses are usually transmitted in autumn and winter, influenza A and B. Although baloxavir has been approved for both influenza A and B influenza, influenza B was not active in Japan during the 2018-2019 influenza season. Although this study has not been confirmed, the hope is that the drug can also prevent influenza B infection.

Family transmission from children is one of the most common ways of transmission of influenza, although by no means the only way. The virus can spread in many different environments, including universities, workplaces, sporting events, theaters and other social gatherings. The author believes that preventing family transmission and supporting preventive use of Baloxavir will also reduce the concept of transmission in other situations.
Baloxavir works through a novel mechanism. Influenza viruses use a process called “cap-grabbing” to reproduce themselves, snatch part of the host cell’s RNA, and use it to continue the reproduction process. Baloxavir binds to and inhibits the proteins necessary for the virus to replicate itself. Human cells lack any similar enzymes or functions.

The success of baloxavir in fighting the spread of influenza is very important and provides hope for the development of drug treatments against other viral enzymes and the prevention of Covid-19.

In critical situations, many healthcare systems today are in distress-hospitals and healthcare providers are already overwhelmed after months of treatment for Covid-19 infection-an approved drug can help reduce flu infections this winter The number of people who are sick. Welcome relief. Effective antiviral Covid-19 drugs are unlikely to be used for preventive treatment in most patients at risk of Covid-19 before this fall and winter. Similarly, vaccines that are both safe and effective may not be widely available.

The combination of seasonal influenza vaccines and effective preventive drugs such as baloxavir-in addition to the personal protection practices already practiced across the United States-can significantly reduce the severity of the upcoming influenza epidemic and make our hospital the highest after the merger. The impact of being unmoved and prevalent in bad situations.


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