Injectable drug seen as potential treatment for flu, both seasonal and avian

first_imgOct 2, 2006 (CIDRAP News) – Recent tests suggest that an antiviral drug given by intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) injection could eventually serve as another weapon against influenza, according to results presented at a conference last week.In animal studies, peramivir improved survival in mice and ferrets infected with H5N1 avian flu, according to a news release from BioCryst Pharmaceuticals Inc., Birmingham, Ala., which is developing the drug. The results were presented Sep 30 at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in San Francisco.In addition, in phase 1 clinical studies, IV and IM doses of peramivir produced high blood levels of the drug in human volunteers without causing any adverse events, according to Dr. Charles E. Bugg, PhD, chairman and chief executive of BioCryst.The clinical studies “showed you can achieve high blood levels in humans safely,” Bugg told CIDRAP News in an interview today. The combination of those results with the animal studies is promising, he said.Peramivir is a neuraminidase inhibitor, like the licensed antivirals oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and zanamivir (Relenza). Oseltamivir is an oral drug, while zanamivir is inhaled as a powder. Many countries have stockpiled oseltamivir on the assumption that it will help if the H5N1 virus sparks a pandemic.BioCryst started developing peramivir in 1998 in partnership with Johnson and Johnson, Bugg said. Early studies showed the drug inhibited flu viruses effectively, but when taken orally, its bioavailability was very low, which prompted Johnson and Johnson to pull out of the program.Because injectable peramivir looked promising in animals, the program was resurrected with help from the National Institutes of Health about a year ago, Bugg said. He explained that the company is developing an IV formulation intended for hospital patients and an IM formulation for outpatients.In the animal studies, four groups of mice were infected with an H5N1 virus and then were treated with either a single IM injection of peramvir, five daily IM injections, oral oseltamivir for 5 days, or an IM placebo injection daily for 5 days, according to the news release. The single-injection group had a 70% survival rate and the five-injection group a 80% survival rate, compared with 36% for the placebo group and 70% for the oseltamivir group.In the ferret experiment, one group received a daily IM injection for 5 days, while a second group received an IM placebo daily for 5 days. Eighty-six percent of the treated group survived, versus 43% of the placebo group, according to the news release.Bugg said treatment was started an hour after the animals were infected with the virus. He said additional studies will involve longer time lapses between exposure and the start of treatment.Results of the clinical studies were presented by flu expert Frederick Hayden, MD, of the University of Virginia. Three groups of volunteers received different IV doses of peramivir, and a fourth group received increasing IM doses once a day for 3 days, the company release said. “Preliminary safety results indicate that in the four studies, all doses were well-tolerated with no adverse laboratory events or ECG findings reported,” the statement said.”I think peramivir looks very promising,” said Hayden, as quoted in a Sep 29 Bloomberg News report. “It’s proven to have very good activity in single doses.”In an interview, Hayden told Bloomberg that injecting peramivir into the bloodstream or into muscle can produce blood levels 100 times higher than those seen with oral oseltamivir, now considered the most promising treatment for H5N1 infection.Last January the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave injectable peramivir fast-track status for regulatory approval, according to BioCryst. But Bugg said it would take at least several more years to gain FDA approval.”We’ll do a clinical trial this flu season, and then two more next season,” he said. “We’re looking at several more years.” He said the company will be meeting with the FDA soon to review the program and may have a better idea of the timeline after that.Bugg said plans also call for testing the drug in human H5N1 patients at sites in Thailand and Vietnam and also to make it available in Turkey, which had human cases early this year.”We’ll be trying to collect data from H5N1-infected patients in Southeast Asia in collaboration with the World Health Organization,” he said. “We’ll be on the front line to capture H5N1 if it occurs. But realistically we won’t have enough [patients] for a meaningful statistical analysis.”In a Sep 29 Reuters report, Bugg said peramivir is easier to make than Tamiflu. One Swiss manufacturer can make 1 metric ton of the drug in a month, enough to treat an estimated 8 million people, he said.See also:Oct 2 BioCryst release on peramivirhttp://investor.shareholder.com/biocryst/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=213054last_img read more

H5N1-infected bird found in Hong Kong

first_imgJan 8, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Hong Kong government officials recently announced that a wild bird found dead near a busy shopping district on Dec 31 tested positive for H5N1 avian influenza.The infection in a scaly-breasted munia, a species often imported from mainland China and released in religious ceremonies, marks the first case found in Hong Kong since February 2006, according to reports published by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). Hong Kong has reported no human H5N1 cases since 1997, when the virus first jumped to humans.The Hong Kong government’s Jan 6 press release on the H5N1 finding doesn’t specify if the virus was the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain, but Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that it was.Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department (AFCD) announced Jan 4 that a preliminary test for the virus was positive and confirmatory tests were being conducted. AFP reported that the bird was the only one of 6 dead birds found that tested positive for the virus.A bird watcher from Hong Kong who posted an item yesterday on ProMED-mail, the Internet-based reporting system of the International Society for Infectious Diseases, said the scaly-breasted munia is not frequently seen in urban Hong Kong but is said to be one of the 2 species most commonly released during religious ceremonies at temples. The practice of releasing these birds is a concern, he said, because they’re not subject to the disease-prevention measures used with poultry, and sellers and buyers can come into contact with infected bird droppings.The Hong Kong AFCD, in a Jan 6 press release, advised the public not to release birds, because they have little chance of surviving in the wild. A department spokesperson said the AFCD has contacted community groups, including religious groups, to warn them about releasing birds.The statement did not refer specifically to the H5N1 case, but it said pet birds imported from mainland China must come from registered farms and be accompanied by a veterinary health certificate certifying that the birds have been quarantined and have tested negative for H5 avian flu viruses.Farms on the mainland that are allowed to export birds to Hong Kong are inspected by mainland authorities and occasionally by AFCD authorities and must have had no avian flu outbreaks in the past 180 days.The government said its records show that 38,000 munias, including white-backed and scaly-breasted ones, were imported into Hong Kong from the mainland in 2006. It added that the scaly-breasted Munia is a resident bird in Hong Kong and has been found all over the territory.A department spokesperson advised Hong Kong residents to avoid personal contact with wild birds and live poultry and to wash their hands thoroughly after coming into contact with birds.Meanwhile, in Vietnam, several ducks have died in the past few days in the southern province of Soc Trang, prompting concern about the further spread of avian flu. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, reported yesterday that specimens from the ducks were sent for avian flu testing.If tests are positive, Soc Trang will be the fourth province affected in the recent series of outbreaks, which started in early December in the south Mekong Delta provinces of Ca Mau and Bac Lieu, spreading to nearby Hau Giang province. OIE reports list 32 outbreaks during that period.Officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are in talks with the Vietnamese government about sending experts to investigate the source of the outbreaks, Voice of America News reported today.Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, a spokesperson for the FAO office in Hanoi, told VOA the outbreak isn’t surprising, because officials believe the virus is still present. “The information that we’ve got so far is that the recent outbreaks were triggered as a result of raising illegal ducks,” she said. In earlier news reports, officials blamed local animal health officials and farmers for not maintaining poultry vaccination programs and farmers for hatching poultry illegally.In December, an FAO-OIE crisis management team traveled to South Korea to investigate the H5N1 outbreaks in poultry that occurred south of Seoul in late November.See also:Jan 6 Hong Kong government press releasehttp://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200701/06/P200701060189.htmJan 6 Hong Kong press releasehttp://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200701/06/P200701060187.htmWikipedia photo of scaly-breasted muniahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scaly-breasted_muniaJan 7 ProMed mail report on Hong Kong birdOIE reports on Vietnam 2006-07 outbreakhttp://www.oie.int/downld/AVIAN%20INFLUENZA/A2006_AI.phplast_img read more

MMA sports roundup

first_img Bio The athletic directors of the eight conference institutions voted in the summer to name the trophy for Mottola, who had a four-decade association with the conference and served as its commissioner for eight years.MMA is one of only two remaining charter members of the NEFC dating back to 1965, and is the only member with a presence throughout its existence.This is placeholder textThis is placeholder textThe dedication was held at halftime of MMA’s 34-9 exhibition game football win over Holland College of Prince Edward Island, Canada.The Mottola Trophy, commissioned by Endicott College President Richard Wiley, will be held for one year by each team that wins the NEFC championship. The name of every champion dating back to 1965 is engraved on the trophy.The MMA football team will open its conference season on Saturday at Anna Maria College.Women’s soccerMMA’s Lady Mariners scored a 1-0 win over the University of Maine – Presque Isle on Friday, the opening day of the Terrier Women’s Soccer Classic hosted by Thomas College.Morgan Libby provided the winning goal, heading in a corner kick cross from Briana Obshatkin in the 87th minute of the game.The Lady Mariners fell 1-0 to the University of Southern Maine in the final round of the classic.MMA held the Huskies scoreless for nearly 84 minutes until C.C. Pelletier scored on an assist from Analies Ross-Dyjak.The 2-2 Lady Mariners are slated to host the University of Maine – Fort Kent today (Thursday).Men’s soccerThe Mariner men notched their first win of the season on Saturday, nipping the University of Southern Maine 1-0 in the final round of the Husson University Eagles Challenge Cup tournament in Bangor.The game-winning goal came in just the sixth minute of play when Gabriel Warren scored on an assist from Christopher Gilman.The Mariners outshot the Huskies 27-2.In the opening round of the tourney, MMA fell 1-0 to Gordon College on Friday.VolleyballThe still-winless Lady Mariners dropped a pair of non-conference matches on Saturday at Colby College in Waterville.Colby scored a 3-1 victory over MMA with game scores of 25-16, 16-25, 25-15 and 25-13.For MMA, Gillian O’Neal had 12 kills, Sydney Robertson had 10 kills and Betsy Trenckmann had 22 assists and 11 digs.In a 3-2 loss to Gordon College, MMA rallied from a two-game deficit before falling in the final decisive contest.Game scorers were 25-13, 25-17, 15-25, 23-25 and 15-6.O’Neal had nine kills and Molly Marcotte had eight for the Lady Mariners.Cross-countryMMA freshman Zachary Kinsman placed second at Saturday’s Husson Harrier Classic with a time of 29:34.70 in the eight-kilometer cross-country contest.Two other Mariner men also placed among the top 10 as MMA finished second as a team, just four points behind the University of Southern Maine.MMA’s Wyatt LePage was eighth in 31:13.96 and Chase Hughes was ninth in 31:37.09.For the Mariner women, who were third in their team competition, Jessica Faltings led the way with an eighth place finish in 24:39.20 over the five-kilometer course.GolfIt took a fifth player to give the University of Maine – Presque Isle a win over MMA in UMPI’s season-opening golf invitational on Friday in Presque Isle.The two teams completed the match with identical scores of 323, but UMPI’s fifth man, Eric Depner, carded an 81 to best MMA’s Karson Eaton, who had an 87.For MMA, Dan Mackenzie led the way with 77, followed by Keenan Kalthoff 78, Kevin Pepin 82 and Liam O’Leary 86. Latest posts by Hugh Bowden (see all) Is this the kind of government we deserve? – July 10, 2017 Latest Posts CASTINE  — A new New England Football Conference championship trophy was dedicated Saturday to Bill Mottola, a longtime coach and athletic director at Maine Maritime Academy. Like he did in the ’60s, Noel Paul Stookey sings out in troubling times – December 27, 2017 Hugh BowdenExecutive EditorHugh writes editorials, covers Hancock County sports and helps out where needed in The American’s editorial department. When he’s not on the sidelines, he enjoys playing jazz and tennis. hbowden@ellsworthamerican.com GSA surges in 4th to win Northern Maine title – February 26, 2017last_img read more