Tamiflu gets EU approval for flu prevention in children

The European Union has granted approval for the use of Tamiflu for the prevention of influenza in children aged between 1 and 12, the drug's manufacturer Roche Holding AG said Tuesday. Tamiflu already has approval for the treatment of influenza for adults and children older than 1, as well as for the prevention of influenza for those 13 years and older. A similar approval for flu prevention in children was granted in the United States in December, Roche said.

"The influenza season is just starting in the northern hemisphere and Roche plans to make Tamiflu available to prevent influenza in very young children who are particularly vulnerable during an outbreak of the disease," said William Burns, chief executive of Roche's pharmaceuticals division.

"This is particularly helpful in the family setting when one member of the family catches influenza, using Tamiflu for prevention will stop the spread of the disease to other family members," Burns added. Experts also consider Tamiflu, or oseltamivir, the most efficient treatment in case of an outbreak of human influenza caused by a mutation of the bird flu virus H5N1, which has so far caused a deadly epidemic among birds, reports the AP. I.L.

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