The anticipated clinical trials in human volunteers (to be conducted in both the U.S. and Asia) are designed to determine whether Alferon N, delivered in a new, experimental oral drug delivery format, can resuscitate the broad-spectrum antiviral genes, which are shut down by dreaded viruses such as avian flu and smallpox.
Considering today's announcement of a "risky" experiment by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to simulate the mixing and matching of genes from the avian flu virus and a common human flu into a pandemic, Hemispherx's upcoming human trials are more necessary than ever.
With the World Health Organization predicting that the avian flu threatens to spread around the world and infect millions of people, Hemispherx Biopharma is one of a few companies evaluating a potential treatment for the deadly virus in a safely designed and controlled environment.
The multiple actions of cocktails of material human alpha interferons is the crux of Hemispherx's belief that Alferon N (already FDA-approved for treatment of human papilloma virus) may be able to inactivate avian influenza by boosting the immune system of both birds raised as poultry crop so as to prevent infection, as well as act as both a short-term immune boost lending to a long-term vaccine-like protection in humans. Initial studies indicate that alpha interferons stimulate broad-spectrum antiviral and immune system genes when given by injection, but such studies have not yet been systematically controlled by oral delivery.
With the lack of any currently available treatment for Avian Flu in the marketplace, as well as the potential for a "global pandemic" anticipated by many if the virus mutates and transfers from animals to humans, Hemispherx is a drug manufacturer with a novel approach to battling avian flu: Tested in the food and water of birds raised as poultry crops (where the virus may breed) the company has found that Alferon N may reduce mortality rates and may contribute to a healthier bird population. Additionally, and very importantly, Hemispherx is set to begin drug trials in humans within the month looking at relevant gene activation profiles. Recent studies indicate that these disabled genes may have led to the pandemic in 1918/1919, which killed millions around the globe.
Source: Hemispherx Biopharma Inc.