FDA approves new flu drug; UNC REX committee set to review it

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting no new flu deaths last week.

That's good news. Also encouraging is that Xofluza, a new drug approved by the FDA, could help speed up your recovery if you get the flu.

But not so fast -- the drug has not yet been cleared by a UNC REX Hospital committee. Doctors, pharmacists, and other medical professionals are scheduled to meet and discuss the drug. The committee will decide whether physicians across the UNC system will prescribe the drug to patients.

"The preliminary results for that looked really good," said UNC REX Infection Control Officer Marty Cooney. "It looked like it could show a decrease in viral load quicker than Tamiflu does, but in its third phase of trial (there was) resistance in about 9-10 percent of the population."

The medication Xofluza is a single dose pill designed to shorten the flu. It can be taken 48 hours after symptom onset.

The FDA said the new drug should start making its way to the marketplace in the next couple of weeks.

Professionals say, in the meantime, we should all be taking steps to deter infection.

"If you touch your eyes, your nose, or your mouth without washing your hands, this is how things are spread," said Cooney.

He says sanitizing and getting the vaccine are good ways to protect yourself from flu

"You definitely want to get vaccinated early. There's still time because the flu levels right now in North Carolina are not that high," Cooney said.

It's also important to wash your hands often and use a paper towel when closing the handle because there could be germs left on the metal.
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