The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) had sent out a public warning that “Global Warming Would Foster Spread of Dengue Fever into Some Temperate Regions”, as long ago as March, 1998.
Since then Dengue’s spread has continued and it is emerging rapidly as one of the most important public health problems in many countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta (CDC), dengue fever risk is about 1 illness per 1,000 travelers, and it is the most common cause of fever in returned travelers from the Caribbean, Central America, and South Central Asia. The CDC has also noted "dengue is the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans... Each year, tens of millions of cases of DF occur and, depending on the year, up to hundreds of thousands of cases of Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).”
The recently reported case fatality rate of 11.5% in an outbreak of DHF in Paraguay in Jan-Apr 2007 is much higher than the previous CDC estimate of 5%, which raises additional concerns.
There is currently no vaccine or cure for dengue, which causes high fever, muscular pain, headaches, vomiting, and in some cases skin rash. With 2.5 billion people at risk out of a total world population of 6.6 billion, the potential sales for an effective dengue treatment can be estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
“Our collaboration with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) should prove to be the best weapon yet in the fight against this globally important and commercially relevant disease,” said Dr. Eugene Seymour, MD, MPH.
On April 9, 2007, the Company announced that they had signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with WRAIR, a principal US Department of Defense agency for infectious diseases research.