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Experimental flu treatment may help related virus

An experimental drug being developed to fight influenza may fight a common but little-known virus called parainfluenza virus, researchers and the company said on Friday.

Tests in mice showed Fludase, made by privately held NexBio, could stop parainfluenza viruses from replicating, the researchers reported in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Anne Moscona of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and colleagues tested varying doses of the drug, also known as DAS181, in lab dishes and on mice.

"Therapies for parainfluenza are urgently needed," Moscona, an expert on parainfluenza viruses, said in a statement.

"Development of effective antiviral drugs and vaccines for human parainfluenza virus has lagged far behind influenza, despite the recognized impact of these diseases in children" and adults, "particularly the elderly, immunocompromised and patients with underlying airway disease."

Parainfluenza viruses are not closely related to flu but belong to another family of viruses called paramyxoviruses. They cause most cases of croup and can cause pneumonia and bronchiolitis -- an inflammation of the small air passages in the lungs.

There is no treatment or vaccine for parainfluenza.

Fludase is already in phase 2 clinical trials for use against influenza. Adding parainfluenza to its approved indications would provide a unique and potentially large market for San Diego-based NexBio.
 
 

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