FDA approves 1st flu treatment in nearly 20 years

The FDA approved  Genentech's drug Xofluza as the first new treatment for flu in about 20 years, the agency announced Oct. 24.

Xofluza is cleared to treat acute uncomplicated flu in patients 12 years and older who have had flu symptoms for no more than 48 hours.

"This is the first new antiviral flu treatment with a novel mechanism of action approved by the FDA in nearly 20 years. With thousands of people getting the flu every year, and many people becoming seriously ill, having safe and effective treatment alternatives is critical. This novel drug provides an important, additional treatment option," Scott Gottlieb, MD, FDA commissioner said.

The single-dose treatment will be available across the U.S. in a couple of weeks, a Genentech spokesperson told CNBC. The treatment will cost $150, although patients with commercial insurance may be able to access the drug for $30.

While Xofluza can treat the flu, Dr. Gottlieb noted the drug is not a flu vaccine replacement. The CDC recommends Americans receive a flu vaccine by the end of October.

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