All of us have experienced 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 many common viruses—even the “common cold” virus—can be deadly, or cause long-term health consequences among vulnerable people.

Tens of millions of Americans are at risk of long-term health effects, and even death, from these infections. These include people living with chronic lung diseases, cancer, bone marrow transplants, immature or compromised immune systems (e.g., neonates, those with HIV infections), or other health conditions. For these individuals, a simple case of the sniffles can turn into pneumonia, a blood stream or brain infection, or “polio-like” paralysis, in which infection can lead to critical organ damage or failure, and possibly even death.

Globally, thousands of adults and children die each year from viral diseases like dengue, yellow and West Nile fevers, and Zika-related infections.

Altesa will change this paradigm.

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, a subset of the picornavirus family.

These viruses can cause hepatitis, Ebola disease, hand-foot-and mouth, SARS, influenza, polio, measles, AIDS, COVID-19, and many other debilitating or deadly conditions. Collectively, these viruses are responsible for a large burden of disease around the world. Effective antivirals are needed to treat vulnerable infected or exposed individuals, because viruses are so diverse. In addition, they mutate so frequently that vaccinations are effective against only a small minority of these viruses.

People at High Risk Include: 

The elderly, especially those in long term care;

Adults and children with lung diseases like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma;

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 certain 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.