From time to time, nearly all people experience viral infections such as the common cold, the flu, and perhaps even COVID-19. Fortunately, most viruses cause no long-term damage to our health. But for those with underlying health conditions or challenges, many common viruses—even the “common cold” virus—can be deadly or cause long-term health consequences.

Among the tens of millions of Americans who face this risk are people living with chronic lung diseases like COPD and people who are immunocompromised due to cancer, cell or organ transplants, and many other health conditions. For these individuals, a simple case of the sniffles can evolve into bronchitis, pneumonia, a bloodstream infection, or even “polio-like” paralysis.

Altesa’s goal is to change this frightening “reality” for patients at risk from common viruses.

For millions of vulnerable people,

a cold is never “just a cold.”

Up to half of all upper respiratory tract infections (e.g., the “common cold”) are caused by rhinoviruses.   Rhinoviruses are very diverse, with more than160 types, making the development of vaccines impossible with today’s technology.  As such, the development of safe and effective medicines that can prevent or treat rhinoviruses is the most direct way to help those at high risk of serious outcomes, including:


The elderly, especially those in long term care;

Adults and children with lung diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, primary ciliary dyskinesia, and asthma; and other diseases affecting the lung such as Sickle Cell Disease.

People with compromised immune systems (natural or acquired), including those undergoing solid organ or stem cell transplants or cancer treatments, neonates, and those with HIV/AIDS;

People with other conditions who are on therapies that suppress or dampen the immune response, for example, to treat auto-immune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis; and

Those with other serious underlying health conditions.

The Promise of Vapendavir

Viral infections causing the common cold are difficult to avoid. Even people who work hard to avoid getting sick, like those with COPD, suffer, on average, more than one cold per year, which can lead to a dangerous loss of lung function, and even death. Altesa is developing a new treatment to prevent loss of lung function by directly stopping the virus from multiplying in the body.

Today’s new generation of highly sensitive and easily accessible diagnostic tests can catch viral infections at their earliest stages. In vulnerable people, early diagnosis and treatment provide an opportunity to stop viruses in their tracks—before they can damage lungs and many other organs. This is the future of medicine: preventing downstream outcomes resulting from uncontrolled viral infections.