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. Canopus Biopharma Chinese Researcher Team Up To Treat Avian Influenza

File photo: Credit: AFP.
by Staff Writers
Guangzhou, China (SPX) Aug 20, 2008
An internationally renowned avian influenza expert has hailed "encouraging and exciting" results from experiments conducted by his research team. This study demonstrated impressive efficacy of a novel statin/caffeine combination, StatC in the treatment and prevention of H5N1, H1N1 and H3N2 in a mouse model.

Dr. Jiahai Lu, from the School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China, has published extensively in the field of avian influenza, and has been researching the breakthrough compound StatC for the past two years on behalf of Canopus Biopharma, a Los Angeles corporation that discovered and patented the potential of this antiviral candidate.

"The global distribution of the highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has caused the World Health Organization to show its profound concern regarding the possibility of the virus spreading from human to human in the future," stated Dr. Lu.

"Furthermore, the development of resistance to two approved anti-influenza drugs, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), as well as the lack of adequate vaccines has increased the need of developing new antiviral drugs. Consequently, I am delighted to be involved in the preclinical research stage of this innovative antiviral candidate, and look forward to continuing our successful collaboration with Canopus Biopharma in this area."

"The results of our study suggest that a statin/caffeine combination may be a viable treatment or preventative against influenza virus infections," said Patrick Prendergast, Chief Executive Officer, Canopus BioPharma.

"The synergistic statin/caffeine combination investigated through the study effectively lessened lung damage and inhibited viral replication in animal models for the H5N1, H3N2, and H1N1 influenza viruses.

"With these findings, we will aggressively continue the development of StatC," he said. "It's clear that there's significant global need for a superior, low-cost and plentiful alternative in the fight against various forms of increasingly harmful influenzas."

Dr. Lu and his colleagues have conducted extensive animal studies with StatC against three influenza strains, H5N1 (avian influenza, bird flu), H1N1 (Spanish influenza) and H3N2 (Hong Kong influenza).

StatC is a combination of two FDA approved compounds which have been re-formulated by Canopus BioPharma for the prevention and treatment of Influenza. Oseltamivir and ribavirin were used as positive controls in this study.

In the H5N1 model, StatC prevented and relieved the symptoms of H5N1 infection, inhibited lung damage and H5N1 virus replication in the lungs of mice, and was as effective as oseltamivir in both prevention and therapy models.

There were no animals with positive viral detection in the groups nasally administered with StatC. Likewise, StatC demonstrated similar results against the H3N2 and H1N1 viruses.

"We are encouraged with these findings," said Dr. Lu. "It is possible that higher doses of statin than those used in this study may result in even greater efficacy. StatC also appeared to be more effective when administered preventatively."

With current positive results, Canopus BioPharma is looking to form a co-development agreement or licensing arrangements with pharmaceutical companies and Government health authorities interested in providing more economical and universal treatment for their populations in the event of a pandemic.

At the forefront of influenza research in Guangzhou, China, Dr. Lu is perfectly placed to further investigate the synergistic properties of the statin/caffeine combination.

"We are also motivated at the potential of this compound in comparison with other currently available anti-influenza medications. It's clear that there is significant global need for a superior, low cost and plentiful alternative in the fight against influenza." added Dr. Lu.

While StatC has proven to be highly efficacious against the most virulent strains of influenza, it must be noted that StatC is also extremely effective against non-fatal, human forms of the virus that occur annually.

Approved by the Food and Drug Administration, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) is the leading prescription medicine approved for the prevention and treatment of influenza in adults and children.

Datamonitor, the world's leading provider of online data, analytic and forecasting platforms for key vertical sectors, forecasts that global market demand for influenza treatments will expand to 370 million doses and a market value of approximately $3.7 billion by 2010.

Canopus BioPharma's strategy for developing StatC includes continued animal testing in partnership with its extensive network of American and Chinese based research laboratories.

The next step involves a ferret animal model using a lethal strain of influenza to examine the efficacy of StatC. Once completed, Canopus BioPharma's preclinical results will then satisfy the FDA's Animal Efficacy Rule and will make StatC available for Government stockpiling for use in the case of a pandemic.

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UN gives aid to Guinea Bissau to fight cholera epidemic
Bissau (AFP) Aug 16, 2008
The United Nations gave 400,000 euros (600,000 dollars) in aid to the tiny west African nation of Guinea Bissau to fight a cholera epidemic that has claimed 40 lives to date, the UN said Saturday.

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