Severe Dengue epidemic ongoing now in French territory of New Caledonia
According to WHO, almost 400 million Dengue cases worldwide annually
Paris, February 23rd, 2017 at 8:00am (CET) – ABIVAX (Euronext Paris: FR0012333284 – ABVX), an innovative biotechnology company targeting the immune system to eliminate viral diseases, is currently screening its targeted library of small molecules to discover and develop antiviral therapeutic candidates against dengue fever. The Company recently discovered several molecules that are active against the virus in vitro, some of which could be developed as therapeutic drug-candidates.
”An effective treatment could benefit millions of patients as, according to WHO almost 400 million individuals are infected with the dengue virus each year,” said Prof. Hartmut J. Ehrlich, M.D., CEO of ABIVAX. “The ABIVAX antiviral platform, which consists of a library of >1000 small molecules targeting the modulation of viral RNA splicing, is an established tool for identifying promising antiviral compounds. Our technology has already been validated by providing product candidates against a number of viral diseases, including HIV and chikungunya.”
“This early progress and investment in drug development is important in view of the more than 600 cases of dengue fever that have been reported since January just in the French territory of New Caledonia, alone. New Caledonian health authorities have declared this outbreak a public health emergency,” said Jean-Marc Steens, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of ABIVAX. “Two patients already have died and there is no effective treatment available to stop the epidemic or prevent additional fatalities. We want to change this.”
WHO1 estimates dengue fever to be present in more than 100 countries, with more than 2.5 billion people, i.e. approximately one third of the world’s population, at risk for being infected with the virus. Dengue is a viral disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes and causes a flu-like syndrome but can also lead to severe dengue disease, which is potentially life threatening. A second infection by the dengue virus can lead to the hemorrhagic form of dengue, killing around 20.000 people per year, mainly newborns and infants. Even with the availability of a partially effective vaccine, the need for treatment of infected patients is very high.
ABIVAX is currently screening its proprietary antiviral library targeting the modulation of viral RNA splicing for molecules that are active against all four dengue serotypes. In an initial screen, the company has identified several molecules against serotype 2 and is beginning to analyze these hits on their ability to inhibit the replication of the other serotypes.
ABIVAX’ goal is to develop a single molecule that is active against all serotypes of dengue.
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