London: In a breakthrough, Australian scientists have developed a drug that prepares the immune system to effectively fight all cold and flu infections, including swine flu virus.The drug, that could be taken once a day before breakfast, would prevent everyday sniffles in otherwise healthy people and life-threatening infections in the elderly.
The drug has already been successfully tested on mice and a government-funded human trial was recently conducted in Western Australia and its results are expected within weeks.As part of the trial, half of the 200 adults taking part took the lozenge once a day before breakfast and the remaining took a dummy sweet and all noted any cold and flu symptoms each week, including time off work.If the results are positive, the drug could be made available over-the-counter in the next two years. It would cost just 20 pence a pill."This medicine is quite cheap to manufacture and very low dosage and doesn`t seem to have any side-effects of any significance," he said.Beilharz, however, does not expect the drug to completely ward off flu and cold. He believes that the symptoms would be greatly eased."When the infection comes along, it still infects but the immune system quashes it in a couple of days. So you will have some symptoms but they will be rather mild and you will go on as normal," he said.The drug could be taken year-round, but people are most likely to rely on them during the winter.PTI
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