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

Date:
January 14, 2010
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
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.

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 the American Chemical Society's Organic Letters, a bi-weekly journal.

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 bird flu 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 fermentation 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 Tamiflu®.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Osato et al. Efficient Formal Synthesis of Oseltamivir Phosphate (Tamiflu) with Inexpensive d-Ribose as the Starting Material. Organic Letters, 2010; 12 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1021/ol9024716

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Toward a less expensive version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172256.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2010, January 14). Toward a less expensive version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172256.htm
American Chemical Society. "Toward a less expensive version of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100113172256.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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