Fast formula for flu fix

The shortest synthesis yet to flu drug, Tamiflu, has been devised by Barry Trost and Ting Zhang, at Stanford University, California. Tamiflu (oseltamivir) a Roche product, is currently synthesized from shikimic acid derived from the Chinese star anise flower. However, such natural sources can be fraught with supply problems in times of crisis, so organic chemists have been hoping to find an alternative route to the drug. Trost and Zhang have now used a commercially available lactone and a mere eight reaction steps to obtain (-)-oseltamivir. Yield is 30% better than other synthetic schemes but scale-up investigations will reveal whether it is commercially viable. .