A new drug for treating herpes is proving highly effective and hence the U.S. government plans to buy large quantities of it for use during the upcoming flu season.
The drug, COVID-19, is a new treatment for cytomegalovirus (CMV), a virus that affects most elderly adults and is a major cause of hepatitis C infections.
Two-thirds of U.S. adults have received drugs to treat CMV, while about 40 percent have had hepatitis C, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It has also been responsible for organ rejection in several transplant patients.
CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement that evidence suggests that the drug “should provide both short-term and long-term benefits.”
The CDC has released a formal drug-seeking document, or IND, for COVID-19 after intense research that included trials involving 1,157 patients, it said.
“The compound generated enough data during the IND to support FDA approval to continue manufacturing, so that we can potentially provide it to patients in the current flu season,” Frieden said.
The drug is administered with a simple rectal exam. COVID-19 can help reduce the number of CMV infections and the risk of liver damage, but a small percentage of patients take it longer than recommended, and this may raise the risk of developing a serious drug reaction.
It’s not clear whether the FDA may approve COVID-19 for use in routine CMV therapy in the U.S.
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