(HealthDay News) — A new single-dose, injected drug appears safe and effective at helping ease flu symptoms, according to an analysis of Phase II and Phase III clinical trials. The research, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and drugmaker BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, was presented Saturday at the American Society for Microbiology meeting in Washington, D.C.

The research team was led by Rich Whitley, MD, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The two placebo-controlled studies (one Phase II and one Phase III) involved a total of 427 adults who were given one injection of the drug peramivir or a placebo within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms.

Compared with those given the placebo injection, patients who received the drug were symptom-free a median of 22 hours sooner and fever-free 24 hours sooner. Those who got peramivir were also less contagious over the first two days after treatment, the researchers reported. In general, peramivir was deemed safe and well-tolerated.

Peramivir was approved for use in Japan and Korea in 2010. If approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the drug would be the only single-dose and injection flu treatment in the United States.

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