FDA approves new, faster-acting flu drug

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By Maggie Fox

There’s a new drug to fight flu for the coming influenza season.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it had approved baloxavir, the first new influenza drug to hit the market in decades. It will be sold under the name Xofluza and should be available within a few weeks, the company that makes it said.

“With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical. This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

Baloxavir, sold under the name Xofluza, is the first new flu drug to hit the market in decades. It should be available within a few weeks.Genentech

The past flu season was an especially deadly one, with 80,000 deaths and more than 900,000 people put into the hospital by the virus.

Antiviral flu drugs don’t cure flu the way an antibiotic can cure strep throat, but can shorten the time people are sick and reduce the severity of their illness.

Xofluza appears to work more quickly than current flu drugs on the market, and with a single pill.