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H1N1 Drug Gets Positive Results in Preclinical Tests

AVI BioPharma Inc. of Bothell, Washington reported positive results from two preclinical studies evaluating the therapeutic potential of its drug AVI-7100 against a fully virulent pandemic H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu. The results showed statistically significant reductions in average viral titer — a quantitative measure of biological activity in a recombinant virus — in lab animals (ferrets) versus a saline control and a control with Tamiflu, a standard flu drug.

Microscopic examination of the lungs of the infected lab animals seven days after infection revealed mild damage in the AVI-7100 treated animals versus severe damage in both saline controls and Tamiflu controls. An examination of the lung and spleens of the AVI-7100 treated animals appear normal, but noticeable damage was observed in these tissues in the saline and Tamiflu controls. Also, the number of infiltrating macrophages in the bronchiolar space was reduced in the AVI-7100 test animals compared to the saline or the Tamiflu controls.

The studies of AVI-7100 were supported by the Transformational Medical Technologies program (TMT) of the U.S. Department of Defense to identify RNA-based drug candidates against a pandemic H1N1 virus. The studies were part of a rapid response exercise demonstrating TMT’s ability, including AVI, to rapidly respond to a real-world viral threat.

Related: HHS Review Highlights Role of Business in Medical Countermeasures

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