According to a Science Daily news report, people who die from the flu die from respiratory failure, when the lung’s tiny blood vessels start leaking fluid into the lung’s air sacs. Warren Lee, MD, PhD, a researcher with St. Michael’s Hospital, investigated what would happen if someone developed a treatment that would prevent these blood vessels from leaking, The researcher tested a new drug developed by researchers at Sunnybrook Hospital on mice that acts on the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels.

The key results of the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the drug Vasculotide was effective against multiple strains of influenza, though without the drug 100% of the mice died within 1 week. However, more than 80% survived with the drug. The study also found that the drug worked even if it was given days after the infection began and worked alone and in combination with antivirals.

In addition, Vasculotide worked without compromising the body’s ability to mount an immune response to the virus.

Lee explains that while this research was conducted in mice, he found the results exciting since the drug was effective in two different strains of mice and three different strains of flu. Lee also says that since the mechanism of blood vessels leaking into lungs is common throughout animals, he was optimistic the drug could be effective in animals other than mice, including humans, according to Science Daily.

St. Michael’s Hospital and Sunnybrook Hospital have jointly applied for a US patent for the drug.

Source: Science Daily