Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a respiratory virus that infects the lung and respiratory tract and is a major cause of lower respiratory tract infections in young children and infants. RSV is extremely common and contagious, with nearly all children being infected with RSV by age two. Usually RSV results in mild cold-like symptoms in adults and healthy children, but in some patients, such as infants, RSV infection can result in severe and even life-threatening symptoms. RSV is the most common cause of bronchial inflammation in children less than 1 year old and results in over 57,000 hospitalizations and 2.1 million outpatient visits annually in the United States. Complications to RSV infection are also a major cause of respiratory problems in older adults which is another growing patient population in need of better RSV therapeutic options.
The only targeted therapies for RSV either require hospitalization for the treatment period or require expensive monthly injections to prevent infection. The cost-benefit for these therapies typically limits their use to high-risk infant populations. Vaccines, which are typically beneficial for preventing other viral infections, are not effective for RSV given the age of the high-risk populations and the naturally poor immune memory response humans have to RSV. The net result is that treatment options for most patient populations, especially for adults, are extremely limited and often simply include NSAIDs and fluids.
Specialized treatment options are needed for all patient populations to help reduce the potential risks and severity of RSV infection.
New technology that can reduce lung inflammation and improve response to viral respiratory infections
The technology is a new use for an existing drug that was originally discovered and developed for use in treating cancer and neurodegeneration showing effectiveness in pre-clinical studies. The inventors have discovered a new use for this drug in RSV infected mice, with treatment helping to promote viral clearance while reducing lung inflammation and immune cell infiltration.
- Treating respiratory syncytial virus infections in infants and older adults
- May effectively prevent viral replication during infection
- Reduces lung inflammation and lung pathology