Pursuit of Slow Hunch Pays Off with Flu Drug

(p. B3) As Americans suffer through the worst influenza outbreak in almost a decade, a Japanese drugmaker says it has developed a pill that can kill the virus within a day.
. . .
“The data that we’ve seen looks very promising,” said Martin Howell Friede, who leads the World Health Organization’s advisory on vaccines, including for influenza. “This could be a breakthrough in the way that we treat influenza.”
. . .
Shionogi scientists began researching a novel flu drug more than a decade ago, shelving almost 2,500 compounds in the process. Then, the 140-year-old Osaka company, which has created blockbuster drugs used to treat HIV and high cholesterol, had a breakthrough.
Shionogi scientists knew from their research that an anti-HIV drug the company had developed with a joint venture of Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline Co. worked by blocking a metallic enzyme that HIV uses as a weapon to hijack human cells. They found the flu virus was also exploiting a metallic enzyme.
“So we said, ‘why don’t we build on our HIV knowledge to find a way to treat the flu?’ And we did,” said Takeki Uehara, who led the compound’s development.

For the full story, see:
Preetika Rana. “Drugmaker: Pill Kills Flu in a Day.” The Wall Street Journal (Monday, Feb. 12, 2018): B3.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Feb. 10, 2018, and has the title “Experimental Drug Promises to Kill the Flu Virus in a Day.”)

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