The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工業技術研究院) yesterday said that, after mastering the manufacturing process for Tamiflu, it has now also solved the manufacturing process for Relenza.
The process was said to involve a mere six-step chemical reaction to produce the medicine from the raw material, sialic acid.
The ITRI is the first institution in Taiwan able to manufacture the drug, and it can provide an uninterrupted supply. Manufacturing can begin in seven to 10 days, it said.
The institute is trying to develop the drug -- a powder that has to be inhaled -- into a more practical form.
The drug is still protected by patent rights, however, and a licen-se is needed for production.
Just like Tamiflu, Relenza controls the coat protein on a virus in an infected body, thus preventing the flu virus from surviving in the infected body.
Both drugs must be taken within 48 hours after infection, the report said. Relenza is, however, less convenient to take than Tamiflu, as it comes in powder form. This was also said to be the reason why Relenza is not available in Taiwan.
Since some bird-flu strains have developed a resistance to Tamiflu, Relenza has become a popular substitute. The World Health Organization also recommends Relenza as one of the drugs to use against bird flu.
Lee Lien-tzu (
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