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Break-Bone Fever Draws Roche Drug as Dengue Virus Hits Riviera

Roche Holding AG, which became Europe’s largest drugmaker selling cancer medicines, is working on the first weapon to fight the most common mosquito-borne virus.

Roche began tests on a drug initially developed for hepatitis C in July to see if it works on dengue fever, which was carried from the tropics to the French Riviera this year for the first time. Roche expects to know within months if the pill, balapiravir, may give it a head start in the hunt for a treatment for dengue, nicknamed “break-bone fever” because of the debilitating joint ache it causes.