Drug to treat human case of bird flu developed
By Yu Zhong (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-27 06:02
A new treatment for human infections of bird flu claimed to be more effective
than Tamiflu has been developed by Chinese scientists.
Like the drug made by Switzerland-based Roche, the new medicine is a
neuraminidase inhibitor which inhibits an enzyme called neuraminidase and
prevents the virus from leaving the cell and spreading to others.
But its molecule structure is different from Tamiflu's.
Tamiflu is displayed in this file photo.
"We have completed clinical experiments, and find it is more effective on
humans than Tamiflu," said Li Song, a leading scientist of a research group of
the Academy of Military Medical Sciences.
The cost is only a quarter to a third of Tamiflu that sells at 29.8 yuan
(US$3.73) for each capsule in China, he told a high-profile forum on prevention
and control of avian influenza yesterday.
He added the new medicine would be produced by domestic companies and
stockpiled only for pandemic use against the deadly strain of the H5N1 bird flu
Tamiflu is the only drug acknowledged worldwide as effective against human
infections and is being stockpiled by governments for possible use in a
On December 12, Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group (SPG) became the first in Asia
to secure a licence from Roche for the production of a generic variety of
The licence allows SPG to produce and sell the drug, known generically as
oseltamivir, on the Chinese mainland.
Li's team is also working on an injection which can be used for emergency
"Patients in a critical condition can hardly take oral medication. Also,
injections are more efficacious than oral medication like Tamiflu or the new
drug," Li said.
Li said all medicines for human infections are basically best for prevention
rather than treatment, because "bird flu knocks men off so quickly."