NanoViricides, Inc., announced today that its Dengue virus therapeutics program is advancing at an accelerated pace.
Dengue fever is gaining a firmer foothold in southern Texas, putting residents at risk for the most dangerous form of the disease, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on August 10th. Doctors and health officials in parts of south Texas should be on the lookout for dengue fever, a tropical virus that can cause internal bleeding and death, CDC said on Aug 9th.
“The US is at significant risk because the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, which carries the Dengue virus, can easily cross borders, and because dengue virus is becoming endemic in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Central America,” said Dr. Eugene Seymour, MD, MPH, CEO of NanoViricides, Inc.
DHF cases have risen to an alarming 25% of dengue fever cases, with overall dengue cases having increased by more than 600 percent in Mexico since 2001, according to Mexico's Public Health Department, reports Mark Stevenson of Associated Press. Also, the Puerto Rican Health Department has recently reported that Dengue has reached epidemic proportions there. The situation is even more acute in Asia with over 33,000 cases of Dengue reported in Vietnam. In addition, Singapore and India are among countries reporting recent outbreaks of Dengue. Globally, there are an estimated 50 to 100 million cases of dengue fever (DF) and several hundred thousand cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) per year, according to CDC.
“Therapeutics against Dengue are gaining increased importance because the risk of developing the fatal form, DHF, has been increasing rapidly worldwide, as a significant portion of the world population has had an initial infection with the Dengue virus,” said Dr. Anil R. Diwan, President, NanoViricides, Inc. DHF develops primarily in persons reinfected with one of the three remaining dengue viral subtypes, after a previous dengue infection.
NanoViricides, Inc. is preparing to ship dengue-specific as well as broad-spectrum nanoviricides for preclinical testing to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) within the next several weeks pursuant to a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) signed earlier this year. The dengue-specific ligands are derived from work done by WRAIR scientists.
The new spending authority Defense authorization bill now making its way through Congress designates $5 million for NanoViricides, Inc.'s drug development against Dengue fever, according to a recent announcement by the Washington office of Senator Joseph Lieberman.