Toward a less expensive version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu

Jan 13, 2010
A new way of producing the active ingredient in Tamiflu, above, promises to reduce the cost of the widely used anti-flu medication. Credit: Vantey, Wikimedia Commons

Scientists have developed an alternative method for producing the active ingredient in Tamiflu®, the mainstay for fighting H1N1 and other forms of influenza. The new process could expand availability of the drug by reducing its cost, which now retails for as about $8 per dose. Their study is in ACS' Organic Letters.

Anqi Chen, Christina Chai and colleagues note that the global pandemic of H1N1 has resulted in millions of infected cases worldwide and nearly 10,000 deaths to date. Tamiflu®, also known as oseltamivir phosphate, remains the most widely used antiviral drug for the prevention and treatment of H1N1 infections as well as and seasonal influenzas. But growing demand for the drug has put pressure on the supply of shikimic acid, the raw material now used in making the drug.

"As a result, chemists worldwide including ourselves have explored the possibility of using other alternative raw materials for the synthesis of the drug," said Chen and Chai, who led the research.

The scientists describe a new process for making the drug that does not use shikimic acid. They found that D-ribose, a naturally-occurring sugar produced by in large scales, potentially provides an inexpensive and abundant source of starting material for making the drug. D-ribose costs only about one-sixth as much as shikimic acid. In lab studies, the scientists demonstrated the potential use of D-ribose as an alternative source for the synthesis of ®.

Explore further: Devices designed to identify pathogens in food

More information: "Efficient Formal Synthesis of Oseltamivir Phosphate (Tamiflu) with Inexpensive D-Ribose as the Starting Material", pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/ol9024716

Related Stories

Drug-resistant swine flu cluster on Vietnam train

Dec 09, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A cluster of seven people infected with a Tamiflu-resistant strain of pandemic H1N1 influenza has been identified in Vietnam by a team including Oxford researchers.

Tamiflu Metabolite Found in Sewage Discharge, River Water

Oct 01, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a study published September 28th ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers measured oseltamivir carboxylate (OC), the active metabolite of the popular anti-i ...

WHO says Tamiflu still works against swine flu

Nov 26, 2009

(AP) -- The World Health Organization says isolated cases of drug-resistant swine flu in Britain and the United States have not changed the agency's assessment of the disease.

Old drug may become new bird flu weapon

Mar 15, 2006

Amantadine, a generic drug created in the 1970s to treat seasonal flu might become a new weapon to use along with Tamiflu if a bird flu pandemic occurs.

Recommended for you

Devices designed to identify pathogens in food

May 27, 2015

Researchers at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico have developed a technology capable of identifying pathogens in food and beverages. This technique could work in the restaurant industry as ...

Biosensor may improve clinical diagnosis of influenza A

May 27, 2015

Sensors based on special sound waves known as surface acoustic waves (SAWs) are capable of detecting tiny amounts of antigens of Influenza A viruses. Developed by A*STAR researchers, the biosensors have the ...

New chip makes testing for antibiotic-resistant bacteria faster, easier

May 26, 2015

We live in fear of 'superbugs': infectious bacteria that don't respond to treatment by antibiotics, and can turn a routine hospital stay into a nightmare. A 2015 Health Canada report estimates that superbugs have already cost Canadians $1 billion, and are a "serious and growing issue." Each year two million people in the U.S. contract antibiotic-re ...

Use your smartphone for biosensing

May 26, 2015

An Australian research team has shown that smartphones can be reconfigured as cost-effective, portable bioanalytical devices, with details reported in the latest edition of the Open Access Journal 'Sensors'.

Faster, portable microbial analysis in the field

May 25, 2015

Until recently, it took hours – sometimes days – to analyze biological samples after they were frozen in the field and brought back to the laboratory. But now there is a faster, cheaper and smaller way ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.