October 19, 2009
New York (CBS) The H1N1 virus can make healthy people suddenly very ill, and once people are ill the vaccine for the virus won’t help cure them. Some doctors say they’d use an experimental drug to help rescue patients on the brink – if only they were allowed, CBS News reports.
Last month, 51-year-old John Boudrot was so sick from the H1N1 virus he was in intensive care, on a ventilator and suffering organ failure. Not in 30 years of practice had his doctor seen a patient decline so quickly – from perfect health to the doorstep of death.
“He was going on a curve like this,” said Dr. Robin Dretler, indicating a steep decline. “Life in immediate danger.”
As a last resort, Dretler got the Food and Drug Administration’s permission to try a promising, but still experimental, drug called Peramivir.
Peramivir is an antiviral drug like Tamiflu and Relenza. But unlike those drugs, it’s being specifically studied as an intravenous treatment for critically ill patients. Human clinical trials in the U.S. and Japan have called Peramivir safe and effective.
Sure enough, four days after John Boudrot got Peramivir he began to improve.
“I am a lucky son of gun to be here, no question about it,” Boudrot said.