FDA approves first new flu treatment in nearly 20 years

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 80,000 people died from the flu in the United States during the 2017-2018 flu season and 900,000 were hospitalized.

“It’s scary, quite scary to think that that many people were effected by the flu,” Daniel Nelson of Berryville, Va said. 

“The numbers have gotten to me, and is really making me think about it,” Mark Hoke of Winchester, Va said. 

The numbers make last flu season, the deadliest season in four decades. 

“We always have a large number of hospitalizations this time of year from influenza like illnesses. Last years numbers were even higher, but last years flu season went on for months, normally its six week,” Mark Galbraith of Winchester Medical Center said. 

On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new, flu medication to be sold by Genentech under the brand name, “Xofluza.” Genentech said, “Xofluza” can significantly reduce the duration of flu symptoms in patients over the age of 12 who see their doctors within 48 hours of symptom onset. 

 “This is a medication that is a one time dose, this is an advanced over the medications that was a five day dose,” Galbraith said. 

Dr. Mark Galbraith of Winchester Medical Center said the development of any medication that assists in the treatment of influenza is a good thing, but only time will tell how effective it will be. 

“Weather this drug has a better response rate in the future, we’ll see. We just don’t know,” Galbraith said. 

Galbraith adds that people should not look at it as a substitute for getting their flu shot. 

” I would suggest you get it weather you get the shot in the arm or the nasal vaccine, that can help provide protection.” Galbraith said. 

“I’ve been the type of person that says it won’t happen to me and I’ve been the person who has gotten the flu shot and I am happy to say this year at my last doctor’s appointment about a month ago I did get my flu shot,” said resident Daniel Nelson. 

The price will be $150 for the single dose, but the company reports it plan to offer a coupon to bring the price down to $30 for people with commercial insurance. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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