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Breakthrough Influenza Treatment To Be Available

Breakthrough Influenza Treatment To Be Available This Winter

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-GLAXO-WELLCOME-NZ-LTD

BREAKTHROUGH INFLUENZA TREATMENT TO BE AVAILABLE THIS WINTER

New Zealand influenza sufferers now have access to a breakthrough product for the treatment of influenza, Relenza (Zanamavir). Glaxo Wellcome NZ managing director Steve Skolsky says approval and registration processes have just been completed for the product, which will be available as a prescription medicine from 1 July.

Mr Skolsky says interest in the new product has been high because of the current influenza epidemic. "There has been considerable anticipation for Relenza because it finally offers a treatment for the causes of influenza where, in the past, there have been no effective options."

Key points

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1. Relenza is administered using an oral inhaler and is a prescription-only medicine. Influenza is a viral infection of the lungs, and administering Relenza by inhalationensures it gets straight to the site of infection, with minimal side effects.

2. Relenza should be used within 48 hours of developing influenza.

3. Clinical trials in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa showed that patients with influenza treated with Relenza experienced a significant reduction in the severity of their symptoms (see references in attached detailed release).Note: Patients suffering from influenza-like symptoms should consult with their general practitioner at the onset of symptoms.

4. The cost to patients of a five-day treatment will be approximately $60-70. Relenza has not received government funding.

5. Relenza was invented in Australia in the 1990s by Glaxo Wellcome and Australian company, Biota Holdings.

(Continues - see next release)

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