20p lozenge ‘fights flu’

A new lozenge to be available over-the-counter from chemists may help prevent and fight colds and flu

A new lozenge developed to fight off cold and flu bugs may be available over-the-counter from chemists within two years.

The lozenge, which will cost around 20p each, should be taken daily. It primes the immune system to attack all forms of cold and flu virus, including swine flu.

It could be used as a preventative, or taken when someone has a cold or flu, to fight the virus.

The Veldona lozenge, developed over 15 years by Professor Manfred Beilharz at the University of Western Australia in Perth, contains tiny amounts of interferon alpha.

This protective protein was called the ‘crown jewel’ of virology when it was discovered 50 years ago, and was used in Russia to fight colds and flu during the Cold War, says the Mail.

Interferon alpha tricks the body into thinking a virus is around, and the immune system gears up to fight it.

Unlike a vaccine, the lozenge, which is currently being tested, should be effective against all strains of colds and flu, says Professor Beilharz.

He says that the lozenge will ease symptoms, rather than completely prevent infection. ‘The immune system quashes it in a couple of days, so you will have some symptoms but they will be rather mild and you will go on as normal.’

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