David Goldman, AP
Emergency department technician Jake Weatherford collects a patient's swab to be tested for the flu at Upson Regional Medical Center in Thomaston, Ga., Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. The flu has further tightened its grip on the U.S. This season is now as bad as the swine flu epidemic nine years ago. A government report out Friday shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu. That ties the highest level seen in the U.S. during swine flu in 2009. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A Japanese drug maker might have created a pill that could cure the flu in a single dose.

The drug maker Shionogi said that its new flu treatment succeeds in 24 hours, at least according to a late-stage trial it conducted on American and Japanese patients, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The cure works faster than any other medication and only needs a single dosage.

According to USA Today, Tamiflu, a popular anti-flu drug, requires two doses a day for five days — three times longer to kill the flu virus.

The Swiss company Roche, which created the flu treatment Tamiflu, helped to develop the Japanese drug, too

However, this potential flu killer wouldn’t be available at U.S. stores until at earliest 2019.

This year’s flu season has been particularly troubling for Americans, with numbers surging to levels comparable to the swine flu pandemic that ravaged the U.S. in 2009, according to The Washington Post.

Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the Post that she is awaiting more information about the level of people affected.

“This does not mean we’re having a pandemic,” Schuchat said. “But it is a signal of how very intense the flu season has been. We may be on track to break some recent records.”

According to Fortune, more than 4,000 Americans died from pneumonia or influenza so far this year. That number will likely rise as more data becomes available.

4 comments on this story

“It gets worse. The death toll in future weeks is expected to grow even higher because flu activity is still rising — and the number of deaths follow the flu activity,” Fortune reported.

In fact, Schuchat from the CDC told Fortune that the recent rise in flu activity will lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

And, she said, the flu season may not end for months.

“We have a lot to learn still about influenza,” she said, according to Fortune. “It’s a wake-up call about how severe influenza can be, and why we can never let down our guard.”