Is your product a vaccine?
No. The product we are developing is potentially a drug you would take by mouth to treat infection with Dengue virus. While the product has been shown to be effective pre-clinically in protecting against infection, or reducing the severity of infection, it is not a vaccine.
What’s the difference between a vaccine and a therapy?
A vaccine is an agent that teaches your immune system how to fight an infection from a virus or other infectious agent. It can take many forms, from attenuated infectious agent, synthetic or purified proteins or in some cases DNA or RNA that can be converted into proteins that mimic the infection. Our product does not work in this manner. Rather, it is a small molecule that can be taken by mouth and may treat patients infected with Dengue virus.
What viruses can be treated with your product?
The product we are developing has not undergone clinical trials so we cannot say if it will treat human infections. However, we are focused on developing it to treat patients infected with Dengue virus. In pre-clinical animal models it was effective at preventing infection or treating animals infected with four strains of Dengue virus, West Nile virus, Zika virus and Chikungunya virus.
I heard that the problems with Zika were over-hyped and that pesticides actually caused microencephaly and other birth defects? If so, why is a Zika therapy a big deal?
We are developing this drug for the treatment of infections with Dengue virus. However, multiple groups have shown that it is also effective against Zika virus infection in animal models. There has been considerable debate about whether Zika virus caused abnormalities in babies born to infected mothers. The debate was largely based on a study of the microencephaly rates in in children born to Zika virus infected mothers in Brazil, which were higher than in other countries. Some groups suggested that pesticides used in Brazil were the cause of the elevated rate of birth defects. However, following more robust studies, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has concluded that Zika virus is in fact the causative agent of microencephaly. Because of this, there remains a significant need for a treatment for patients infected with Zika virus, which we may investigate following clinical trials in Dengue virus infected patients.
For more information please see attached file CDC Concludes Zika Causes Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects