Pill being trialled in Australia could cut flu recovery time

A pill about to be trialled in Australia could cut the length of time it takes for people to recover from the flu.

The trial comes as more than 70,000 Australian citizens are confirmed to have contracted the illness this year, 7 News reports. Like New Zealand, Australia is also reporting a shortage of vaccinations.

The study and trial will likely take about three years, and other methods will also be tested.

In the US and Japan, the pill is used to treat those who aren't in hospital, 7 News reports.

It can also stop the virus from growing and replicating, senior intensive care specialist Dr John Gowardman said.

"The baloxavir is only needed to be given once, as opposed to five days for the currently available drugs we use, so if patient compliance is an issue this has major advantages," he told 7 News.

"What we're trying to do with this study is to assess the drug's effect on critically ill patients that are hospitalised with influenza, either A or B, and there is really no standard of care drug for that treatment at the moment."

Doctors don't want anyone to die from the flu going forward, said Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital director of infectious diseases Dr Krispin Hajkowicz.

"I guess the promise of these new drugs are better treatments that will stop that from happening," she told 7 News.