Manufacturers of Xofluza say a single pill of the new drug will kill the flu virus in just a day.

Scientist Ryosuke Yazawa in University of Marine Science and Technology in Tateyama, southeast of Tokyo, October 29, 2014.
Scientist Ryosuke Yazawa in University of Marine Science and Technology in Tateyama, southeast of Tokyo, October 29, 2014. (AP Archive)

The Japanese health ministry has approved a groundbreaking drug that in trials eliminated flu in just one day.

Nikkei Asian Review reports that Osaka-based pharmaceutical company Shionogi has been cleared to manufacture and market its new drug Xofluza, which could rival Tamiflu, made by Swiss drugmaker Roche.

The influenza virus causes an infection in the respiratory tract when it is transmitted. The virus hijacks the cells to make copies of itself, which then burst forth and infect other cells.

Antivirals like Tamiflu are taken in multiple doses over several days, and stop the virus by binding to a coating on its surface to inhibit its ability to escape an infected cell.

New drug Xofluza requires a single pill, and suppresses virus replication by targeting an enzyme the virus needs to multiply.

During trials, the drug was shown to eliminate the flu virus in just 24 hours, compared to three days using Tamiflu.

Xofluza was approved in just four months under Japan's fast-track drug review system, and is set to go on sale once a price is determined by the government.

Source: Reuters