Dr. Richard Plemper, a professor in the new Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, has received a five-year, $2.83 million federal grant to develop novel therapeutics against Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infection.
The grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute Of Child Health & Human Development of the National Institutes of Health will support Plemper's drug development goals of identifying an anti-RSV drug and at least one distinct alternative compound.
Infections by RSV, a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages, are the leading cause of infant hospitalization from infectious diseases in the United States and result in major human morbidity and mortality globally, particularly among infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
There is no vaccine protection available against RSV and antibody therapy used to prevent illness remains reserved for high-risk patients. This has resulted in an unmet clinical need in pediatric patients for readily available and cost-effective RSV therapeutics. It has also created a high clinical need for the development of innovative therapeutic measures to control RSV spread and improve disease management.
"This project will leverage our expertise in molecular virology and antivirals development with the medicinal chemistry capacity and RSV pathogenesis capacity of our collaborators at the Emory Institute for Drug Development and Emory University's Department of Pediatrics," Plemper said.
Building on his established antiviral program, he will combine the preclinical development of newly identified lead RSV inhibitors with a diversified pool of inhibitors through an independent drug screening campaign.