WEST HAVEN, CONNECTICUT -- April 7, 2011 -- NanoViricides, Inc. (OTC BB: NNVC) (the "Company") reports that post-infection treatment with its optimized FluCide™ drug candidates resulted in significant reduction in lung tissue presence of leukocytes, and in particular, that of eosinophils in a lethal influenza infection animal model.
Four days post virus infection, animals treated with three of the optimized FluCide™ nanoviricide drug candidates exhibited a substantial reduction in overall leukocytes in lung tissue as compared to untreated infected control. More importantly, the eosinophil count in the lung tissues of the nanoviricide treated animals was also significantly lower than untreated animals. Further, this reduced lung tissue presence of damaging immune system cells was found to persist over the entire duration of study. In contrast, animals treated with Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®, Roche) showed reduced eosinophil and leukocyte count initially that rapidly rose to the level of untreated animals.
Eosinophil expansion occurs in response to a viral infection, and is indicative of a viral infection. Various white blood cells (leukocytes) also increase in response to a viral infection. These phenomena are part of the normal immune response. In severe influenza cases, it is thought that patients can go into a stage called “cytokine storm syndrome”. This may be thought of as an all-out attack by an expanded army of white blood cells in response to an uncontrolled viral infection. In an attempt to control the viral infection, the immune system attacks the infected cells as well as nearby normal cells. This can lead to severe lung damage that may rapidly become fatal.
“The finding that FluCide drug candidates showed substantially reduced extent of white blood cells, and in particular, eosinophils, in the lung tissue, is very significant,” said Randall W. Barton, PhD Immunologist, CSO of the Company, adding, “This indicates that FluCide drug candidates may be highly effective in severe cases of influenza as well as cases of bird flu, H5N1, by protecting the patient from cytokine storm phenomena.”
He also observed that the reduced white blood cell and eosinophil counts were consistent with the dramatic reduction in lung lesions that the Company has recently reported.
The studies were conducted by Dr. Krishna Menon, PhD, VMD, MRCS, at KARD Scientific, MA. One million virus particles of Influenza A Strain A/WS/33 (H1N1) were aspirated directly into the lungs of mice. The same quantity of virus infection was repeated at 22 hrs. This influenza model was designed to be uniformly fatal in 100% of the infected, untreated animals within 5 days after infection. Treatment with the FluCide candidates and Oseltamivir commenced 24 hours after the first viral infection. The duration of study was 21 days. Animals were sampled at 4.5, 9.5, 13.5 and 19.5 days for histological studies.
The Company had previously reported that the same three optimized FluCide™ nanoviricide drug candidates achieved significantly increased survival (20.2 to 22.2 days) as compared to animals treated with Oseltamivir (only 8.3 day survival). The lung histology (microscopic tissue examination) data show that the observed increase in survival was accompanied by a dramatic reduction in virus-induced lung inflammation and necrosis.
The Company is presenting its work at the “2nd Annual NanoBusiness NYC Conference” (http://www.ctnanobusiness.org/NanoBCA/our-conference/new-york-city-2011/) being held in New York City, today, April 7th. Anil R. Diwan, PhD, President of the Company, will be presenting the Company’s work as a pioneer in antiviral nanomedicines at this Conference. Dr. Diwan has been invited to participate on the panel on “Nanomedicine: Innovation, Partnership and Investment”, chaired by Dr. Mostafa Analoui, PhD, Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences, The Livingston Group. The Company plans to include the late-breaking information discussed in this press release in the presentation.