Flu or Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs that is one of the most severe illnesses of the winter season.
It is easily passed from one person to another by coughing and sneezing. It is most common during the winter season. Many people have ill-advised the onset of malaria for a bout of flu and have not taken proper action with sometimes serious consequences.
Symptoms begin 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body. Some persons can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms but they can still spread the virus to others.
Type of Influenza: There are three types of influenza virus, A, B and C. Flu A viruses are found in humans and animals, whereas B and C are found only in man. Flu A epidemics come up almost every year during the winter season.
1. It is the sixth leading cause of death among American adults.
2. Each year, 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized, and about 36,000 people die from influenza.
3. About 50 percent of infected people have no symptoms but are still contagious.
4. Immunization is 70-90 percent effective in preventing influenza in health people under the age of 65.
Several studies have estimated costs using a variety of methods. In Germany, the estimated total costs of the 1996-1997 influenza epidemic amounted to approximately US$ 1045 million; in 1989 a French study estimated the total cost of influenza at more than US$ 1900 million. In the United States, the yearly total costs were calculated at US$ 11 000-18 000 million.
Tamiflu: FDA approved Drug for Flu
FDA approved Tamiflu (registered trademark of Roche Laboratories Inc.) is an oral antiviral drug for the treatment of flu. It helps to make the symptoms less severe and shortens the time to recovery by 1-2 days. It works by stopping the flu virus from growing and it is not a substitute for the flu vaccine. Study proves that Tamiflu started within 40 hours of onset of symptoms.
Generic Tamiflu demand
With the current demand for a treatment against bird flu far outstripping its ability to produce it, the manufacturer of Tamiflu decided to meet up with four generic drug makers to arrange for them to produce the drug. Roche has said it has received orders from about 40 countries and cannot meet the demand for the product.
It has also agreed by Roche to share its technology and the rights to manufacture this drug with other companies who are ready to help out.