Viragen Files U.S. Patent Application for Natural Interferon to Target SARS


PLANTATION, Fla. -- Viragen, Inc. today announced that it has filed a patent application in the

United States covering the use of its natural human leukocyte-derived alpha

interferon for the treatment and prevention of severe acute respiratory

syndrome (SARS). This is Viragen's third patent application related to the

SARS indication.

"Based on growing evidence we are obtaining that supports alpha interferon

as a prime candidate for the treatment of SARS, we are moving forward with

patent strategies designed to protect the global positioning of

Multiferon, our natural human interferon," stated Dr. Karen Jervis,

Viragen's director of technology and projects coordinator.

While the immediate threat of SARS has been largely contained, many

international health officials continue to predict that additional global

outbreaks are likely to recur at some point in the future, possibly at

epidemic or pandemic scales. Viragen has been supporting SARS research by

providing samples of Multiferon to international research organizations

including the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), which last year reported

positive results from in vitro studies that placed Multiferon among the most

encouraging drug candidates tested.

Jervis reviewed the company's patent history with regards to SARS.

"We filed the original patent application with the British Patent Office in

May 2003 which covers the use of natural human leukocyte-derived alpha

interferon for the treatment and prevention of SARS. We then updated our U.K.

application in August 2003 to include additional data produced by the GIS

which we believe significantly strengthens our position. Now with patents

pending in the U.K. and U.S., we are potentially positioned not only for the

treatment of SARS, but also to include prophylactic properties which may

prevent infection from occurring. We believe we are establishing a broad

proprietary position for SARS in many international jurisdictions and,

therefore, continuing to enhance Viragen's growing intellectual property


The majority of alpha interferons that are marketed are single-subtype

recombinant interferons. Therapy resistance is not unusual with recombinant

interferons with a significant percentage of patients failing to respond to

standard therapy. In some instances, recombinant interferon is rejected by

the patient's immune system, usually caused by the formation of neutralizing

antibodies which may lead to a loss of clinical efficacy. Also, many patients

cannot tolerate the adverse side effects sometimes associated with recombinant

therapy. High doses of recombinant interferon may cause serious, even life-

threatening side effects.

Multiferon is a highly purified, multi-subtype, natural human alpha

interferon derived from human white blood cells and is approved in Sweden and

Mexico for the second-line treatment of any and all diseases in which patients

show an initial response to recombinant (synthetic) alpha interferon followed

by treatment failure, probably due to the formation of neutralizing


Viragen is a biotechnology company specializing in the research,

development and commercialization of natural and recombinant protein-based

drugs designed to treat a broad range of viral and malignant diseases. These

protein-based drugs include natural human alpha interferon, monoclonal

antibodies, peptide drugs and therapeutic vaccines.

Source: Viragen, Inc.

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