New compound Viprovex could save millions

The World Health Organization (WHO) and influenza experts worldwide are concerned that the recent appearance and widespread distribution of an avian influenza virus (Influenza A/H5N1) has the potential to ignite the next pandemic and potentially kill millions.

Even in the best-case scenarios, two to seven million people would die and tens of millions would require medical attention. If the next pandemic virus becomes an extremely virulent strain, deaths could be dramatically higher.

  • On December 17, 2004, Dow Jones announced five men in Japan may have contracted the avian flu, which would bring the human case number up to 49 infections and 32 deaths.

  • On December 13, 2004, health leaders from around the world met in Geneva to discuss the potential threat posed by the predicted future mutation of avian influenza into a highly contagious and virulent form that could quickly pass from person to person. Attempts to eradicate the disease have not succeeded, despite the destruction of 100 million birds.

  • On December 13, 2004 an outbreak of bird flu was detected in eastern Indonesia. The virus infected more than 20,000 chickens, highlighting the country's continuing struggle against the disease.

  • On December 8, 2004 the World Health Organization urged all countries to develop or update their influenza pandemic preparedness plans to include avian influenza virus.

  • When announcing his resignation as secretary of Health and Human Services December 3, 2004, Tommy Thomson warned that there still was not a vaccine for the avian flu.

In an attempt to assist local, federal and international officials preparing for the possible avian flu pandemic, ImmuneRegen BioSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of IR BioSciences Holdings, Inc., has made their test results on the Hong Kong influenza virus, which is similar in nature to that of avian flu, available for review. Company executives believe this research may indicate efficacy of their proprietary compound Viprovex in treating the Hong Kong respiratory virus (in mice). Additionally, Company executives believe these test results are vital to research designed to develop a treatment for avian flu.

Dr. Mark Witten, PhD, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of ImmuneRegen BioSciences, Inc., is currently available for comment on this potential treatment for avian flu. He is qualified to provide in-depth commentary on the following issues:

  • What is avian flu and how does it attack the respiratory system?

  • What is the Hong Kong virus and what causes it?

  • How are SARS, Hong Kong virus and avian flu similar?

  • What does the influenza season mean for potential avian flu outbreaks?

  • How does Viprovex work?

  • How can ImmuneRegen's research translate into a potential treatment for avian flu?

  • When could a Viprovex based avian flu treatment be available for government stockpile?

Dr. Mark Witten has over 20 years of experience in the research field and over 220 peer-reviewed scientific publications. His first research initiatives examined the role of lung permeability changes in the lungs after exposure to acute cigarette smoke. With funding obtained from the U.S. Army Medical Research & Materiel Command, Witten began to develop an acute smoke exposure model utilizing diesel fuel smoke. He spent two years as an Instructor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he conducted additional research in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)/Acute Lung Injury (ALI). In 1990, he became Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, where he started his JP-8 inhalation toxicology research for the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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