The ANU team gave gemfibrozil daily to mice infected with the H2N2 influenza strain, starting on day four after infection. Treatment continued to day 10. Survival reportedly increased from just 26 per cent in untreated mice to 52 per cent in mice given gemfibrozil.
The highly pathogenic bird flu virus has caused more than 150 human deaths since 2003 in Asia, Africa and Europe.
The virus has a mortality rate in humans of more than 50 per cent.