Promising Trial Results of Drug to treat RSV Published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Dr DeVincenzo (2)
John DeVincenzo, MD

A new antiviral drug, ALS-008176, designed to fight respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) has shown potential against RSV infection. The medicine, developed by Alios Biopharma Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, in collaboration with laboratories at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital and physicians from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, could re-define how physicians worldwide treat RSV, the No. 1 cause of hospitalization in infants. Study results published in the Nov. 19 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine highlight that ALS-008176 demonstrated substantial antiviral activity against RSV in healthy adults.

RSV is a seasonal virus that affects the lungs and airways and there is currently no vaccine or effective treatment available. Worldwide, there are around 64 million cases of RSV infection every year among adults and children every year resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality.

“The data suggest that ALS-008176 has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for RSV infection. The primary endpoint of the study was met and ALS-008176 significantly reduced viral load and symptoms of disease severity,” said John DeVincenzo, MD, the lead study author and Professor of Pediatrics, and Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, and Medical Director of Molecular and Viral Diagnostics at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. “ALS-008176 can inhibit the replication of RSV even if the cells of the respiratory tract have already been infected with the virus. As a result, this treatment has an antiviral effect and is likely to be effective even if started at a later stage of RSV infection.”

These study data established critical proof of concept for ALS-008176 that contributed substantially to a decision to initiate a study in hospitalized infants infected with RSV, a first in over 40 years. This multinational study is planning to recruit patients at medical centers across the world, including Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where Dr. DeVincenzo will be the Principal Investigator. ALS-008176 will also be studied in hospitalized adults.

DeVincenzo JP, et al. Activity of Oral ALS-008176 in a Respiratory Syncytial Virus Challenge Study. New England Journal of Medicine. 19 November, 2015.

Study funded by Alios BioPharma, Inc., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies

About Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., treats more than 250,000 children each year through community programs, regional clinics and a 255 bed state-of-the-art hospital. Le Bonheur serves as a primary teaching affiliate for the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and trains more than 350 pediatricians and specialists each year. Nationally recognized, Le Bonheur is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s Hospital. 

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