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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for a new flu drug, the first new flu antiviral in years.

The drug is called Peramivir and it is made by the American company BioCryst Pharmaceuticals.

The drug is in the same class of drugs as the two key flu drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, but is given intravenously.

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Hospital based specialists who treat severely ill flu patients have been pressing for development of an IV flu drug for use in patients who can't take oral flu drugs or Relenza, which is inhaled.

The FDA says it approved the drug on the request of the Centers for Disease Control.

Infectious disease expert Allison McGeer of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital says she thinks Canadian doctors may be able to access the drug for severely ill H1N1 patients through Health Canada's emergency release system, if the company has adequate supplies of the drug.

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