Hemispherx Biopharma and Researchers with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to Discuss Clinical Trial Studies Aimed at Developing a Universal Influenza Vaccine to Prevent Pandemic Influenza Threat
WASHINGTON, DC - January 27, 2014 - Hemispherx Biopharma (NYSE MKT: HEB) announced today that the ASM Biodefense Meeting is scheduled for January 27-29, 2014 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington DC. The University of Alabama and Hemispherx peer reviewed presentation is entitled “Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and a TLR-3 Agonist, Rintatolimod (Ampligen®), Given Intranasally Produced Cross-Reactive IgA Antibodies Against Pathogenic H5N1 Influenza HA” and will be provided in poster format by Dr. E. Turner Overton, an infectious disease expert at UAB, in the afternoon of January 29, 2014. The abstract of the presentation will be simultaneously available on the Hemispherx website. Ampligen® (rintatolimod) is an experimental therapeutic.
Of special concern regarding avian influenza infections in humans is the impact of travel related to the Chinese New Year and recently reported mutations in the avian influenza viruses expected to increase virulence and morbidity.
As officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report widespread flu activity this season in the U.S., Chinese health officials are announcing rising cases of the deadly bird flu virus, H7N9, and two deaths (Canada and Vietnam) from another deadly avian influenza virus, H5N1, have already been reported this year. Thus, influenza epidemics continue to represent a significant medical problem around the world. Even with existing vaccines, annual influenza epidemics typically results in 20-50 million cases, resulting in 30,000-40,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. A possible pandemic of avian H5N1 or H7N9 could have even more devastating consequences.
Representatives of Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc. and Prof. Overton, the principal researcher conducting the clinical trial at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will describe the results to date of the Ampligen®/FluMist® intranasal influenza vaccine clinical trial and address questions during a media conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC scheduled on Thursday, January 30 at 10 a.m. following the formal presentation at the ASM Biodefense Conference.
The current flu vaccines used in the United States have a number of disadvantages including slow and expensive manufacturing, and reduced efficacy in elderly, children and immune-compromised populations. These weaknesses could be multiplied during a pandemic. The use of Ampligen®, an experimental therapeutic, as a candidate adjuvant combined with FluMist® (a commercially available vaccine) may have potential advantages as compared to traditional inactivated vaccines: including intranasal administration and potential generation of a broader immunity at the natural site of entry of the influenza virus. The stimulation of cross-protection against pre-pandemic H5N1 avian influenza strains is an ongoing clinical research goal. As FluMist®, due to its intranasal administration, imitates the natural entry of the influenza virus, it is already known to generate local 'first-line' immunity as well as the traditional systemic immunity. The objective of the proposed “vaccine cocktail” is to enable potentially wider immunity, including additional protection against a variety of highly pathogenic influenza viruses.
- Date: Thursday, January 30, 2014
- Time: 10:00 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.
- Location: National Press Club, Lisagor Room (529 14th Street NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045)
- Dr. William A. Carter (Moderator), Hemispherx Biopharma, Inc., Chairman and CEO
- Edgar Turner Overton, M.D. (Speaker), Principal Researcher, University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
About Dr. William A. Carter
In addition to the peer-reviewed articles on antiviral therapy, he has been Editor of two major textbooks, including “Selective Inhibitor of Animal Viruses” which went thru more than 10 printings. He was Principal Investigator on numerous large NIH Program Project Grants in the area of antiviral and cancer therapy, with annual budgets of several million dollars. Dr. Carter initiated the first clinical studies in a number of diseases in which interferon is now the treatment of choice, including chronic viral hepatitis and multiple sclerosis. He is inventor, or co-inventor of several hundred patents that are exclusively licensed to Hemispherx Biopharma.
About Dr. Edgar Overton, M.D.
Dr. Overton is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases and currently serves as the Medical Director for the Ryan White funded UAB 1917 HIV Clinic and as the Medical Director for the recently created Viral Hepatitis Clinic at the 1917 Clinic which offers comprehensive care for HCV-infected persons. He is an Associate Scientist at the UAB Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) and serves as the Co-Chair for the Clinical Core of the CFAR.