New research has found that a single dose of baloxavir marboxil (Xofluza) can reduce the spread of influenza within households, according to a press release from the University of Virginia.

The study examined 752 household contacts of 545 patients with the flu and found that flu infections were much less common in household members who received the drug than among those who received a placebo. Further, only 1.9% of uninfected household contacts who took a single dose of baloxavir marboxil came down with the flu, compared with 13.6% of those who received a placebo.

“This trial established that baloxavir, if taken within a day or so after exposure, is highly effective for preventing influenza illness in households, a high-risk setting for virus transmission,” said researcher Frederick G. Hayden, MD, in a press release. “The findings indicate that baloxavir prophylaxis should prove effective for prevention in other circumstances, such as outbreaks in nursing homes and health care facilities, although formal studies will need to be undertaken.”

A double-blind study found that baloxavir marboxil was effective in adults, children, and those at high risk, regardless of whether they had received the flu vaccine, according to the press release. The frequency of adverse events, such as headaches and nausea, was similar among those who received the drug (22.2%) and those who received placebos (20.5%) with no deaths in either group.

A separate study found that baloxavir treatment shortened the duration of influenza and reduced complications in adults and adolescents at high risk of complications. A single dose of the drug was as effective as a 5-day course of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), according to the study authors.

Baloxavir marboxil is approved by the FDA to treat the flu within 2 days of symptom onset in people aged 12 years and older and those at high risk of developing complications, according to the press release. It was the first novel flu drug in 20 years after its approval in 2018, and the FDA is currently reviewing baloxavir applications for treatment in children aged 1 to 11 years and for prophylaxis.

Single-dose drug can reduce flu’s spread within households, study finds. University of Virginia. Published July 13, 2020. Accessed July 15, 2020.