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Giving Swine Flu Drug by IV Could Save Lives
Date:9/3/2009

man began to recover speedily, greatly reducing the amount of H1N1 virus in her system. Five days later, she breathed on her own, and in a little more than a week she left the intensive-care unit.

Singer and Kidd also gave the patient corticosteroids at the same time that she received the intravenous Relenza. "We reasoned that the steroids might help by damping down the inflammation once the viral replication was under control," Kidd said. "We have no evidence that this was the case in our patient, but we would like to see this possibility addressed in future clinical trials."

Their success in bringing this very sick patient back from the brink augurs for the wider acceptance of intravenous Relenza for patients seriously affected by the swine flu this fall and winter, Kidd said. "We consider it very important to further investigate this approach as soon as possible, since apart from the obvious individual patient benefit, it could help relieve the pressure on beds that is likely to occur in critical care facilities during the colder seasons," he said.

One U.S expert agreed. "The patient was deathly ill and [the doctor] got permission to use it on this patient, and then it seemed to have helped, and I think that's great," said Dr. Peter Gross, chief medical officer at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey.

"The individual involved was at very high risk of having very serious complications of the novel H1N1 because the person was very immunocompromised," Gross pointed out.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed people with chronic underlying illnesses, such as asthma, diabetes or cancer, and those with compromised immune systems high on the list of those at risk for severe or life-threatening H1N1 infections. Many of the 477 Americans who have died have had some sort of underlying medical condition, CDC officials noted Thursday in their journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly R
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