Could this World War II drug be the cure for the flu? Historic medication used by soldiers almost a century ago expected to stop deaths caused by the virus
- An anti-arthritis and gout medication could be the answer to saving lives
- The medications used to treat soldiers in World War II can squash inflammation
- Drugs come after what experts are calling a ‘horror’ flu season, with 231 deaths
A medication used on soldiers in World War II may be the answer to curing the flu virus – as the Australian death toll rises to 231 in what experts are calling the worst season on record.
Melbourne researchers are hoping the drugs, which are now used to treat gout and arthritis, will save people from dying from a severe strain of the virus, ABC News reports.
The drugs, an anti-diuretic called Probenecid and anti-arthritis medication, have the potential to dampen inflammation symptoms such as fever, swelling and join pain – and in serious cases, could save lives.
Probenecid was first developed in the 1940s and was used on World War II soldiers to amplify antibiotics. It is now used to treat gout, a type of arthritis caused by too much acid in the bloodstream.
Researchers are hoping the new drugs, which are now used to treat gout and arthritis, will save lies from people suffering from a severe strain of the virus (stock image)
Scientist at Melbourne’s Hudson Institute Ashley Mansell told ABC News ‘the potential for these drugs is enormous.’
‘Obviously, there is a massive worldwide global health burden for influenza infections.’
‘And therefore the applications are huge and have a massive capacity to make a real difference to health outcomes, particularly to the flu, across the world.’
Associate Professor Mansell said the drugs could also help to treat was involved other health problems in the future.
‘Infectious disease, what we call sterile diseases, things like gout, things like cancer even, it has been implicated in. And therefore, these drugs may have applications further than just actually treating the flu,’ he said.
Probenecid was first developed in the 1940s and was used on World War II soldiers to amplify antibiotics – it is now used to treat gout (stock image of drug Probenecid)
While the discovery is exciting, it may take years for the treatment to become available on the market as researchers still need to determine how doses will be administered to patients.
The drugs come as researchers say the flu has ‘mutated at an excessive rate’ meaning anti-viral medication has less effective.
Australia has battled an unusually high flu outbreak this year and there were more than 40,000 confirmed cases in June – tallying the highest amount ever recorded for the month and significantly higher than the 2000 recorded last year.
Currently the flu vaccination only helps prevent people from developing the flu, but little is available to those already suffering from a severe strain of the virus.
The push for new treatments comes as the flu claimed the life of a perfectly-healthy 13-year-old girl Australian girl earlier this week.
Crystal-Lee Wightley came down with a fever, body aches and coughing on Tuesday, with her condition worsening over the next 48 hours. She was pronounced dead at her home.
Scientist at Melbourne’s Hudson Institute Ashley Mansell said ‘the potential for these drugs is enormous’