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Japan Will Soon Have A Drug To Combat The Flu

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Japanese officials approved the single-dose drug, known as Xofluza, for use in that country. In a clinical trial, Japanese and American patients who took the drug when they had the flu saw the virus wiped out, on average, in 24 hours.  The drug will be available in Japan in time for next year’s flu season, but not in the U.S. until 2019.

Currently Tamiflu is used widely for shortening the duration of the flu virus in America.  Xofluza works differently by inhibiting an enzyme the flu virus needs to replicate. The drug can work in 24 hours because it inhibits a process known as “cap snatching.” Cap snatching is a mechanism used by viruses to hijack the nucleic acid in living cells that acts as a messenger for DNA, to allow the creation of viral RNAs.  Influenza A is a virus that has RNA (Ribonucleic acid), the genetic material involved in coding, decoding, regulation, and expression of genes. Xofluza inhibits the cap snatching and the virus cannot survive.

The FDA requires that drugs must pass animal testing for toxicity before drug makers can apply for FDA approval. From there, they must undergo three phases of human trials to determine safety, effectiveness, dosage, and potential interactions with other drugs; a lengthy process indeed.  Often drugs are approved in other countries far faster than in the U.S.  Japan actually has two other drugs for flu treatment that we don’t have in the U.S. The bottom line for Americans: coming soon, but not too soon.



Andrea Groth Wellbeing Detective

Andrea wants to live in a world where the neighborhoods are walkable, bike lanes are plentiful, and the food is fresh, delicious and readily available.
A 20-year veteran of the health and wellness industry, she started her career in the fitness industry while earning a master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and then on to the burgeoning field of worksite wellness. Andrea has competed in collegiate level soccer, worked as a personal trainer, fitness instructor, wellness coach, and master trainer, climbed 14ers, and completed cycling centuries and metric centuries. All of these experiences give her the opportunity to view well-being from many different perspectives.
When she’s not helping others to be their healthiest self, you can find her at a farm to table restaurant, down dogging at the yoga studio, or experiencing the Colorado landscape on a bicycle, snowshoes, cross country skis or on foot.

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