Investigational Drug Shows Promise In Treating Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever Interview with:
Alison E. Heald, M.D
Harborview Medical Center
Seattle, WA 98104

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Heald: Marburg virus causes a very serious, potentially fatal infection in humans for which there is currently no licensed or approved treatments or vaccines.  We demonstrated that AVI-7288, an investigational drug specifically directed against Marburg virus, is effective in preventing death in monkeys exposed to Marburg virus in an experimental model, and that AVI-7288 raises no safety concerns in parameters measured in the healthy human volunteers dosed at or above the estimated efficacious dose. Importantly, taken together, these results have allowed us to predict a dose that could be expected to protect humans exposed to Marburg virus.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? 

Dr. Heald: Developing new drugs for treatment of uncommon, lethal infectious diseases is difficult, since it’s unethical to deliberately give the infectious agent to humans to test promising drugs, and it’s difficult to conduct field studies for an infection that occurs infrequently.  This report bridges between efficacy studies in monkeys and safety studies in humans, demonstrating that AVI-7288 holds promise as a potential therapeutic for Marburg hemorrhagic fever.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Heald: Additional studies of the safety of AVI-7288 need to be conducted in humans, and additional studies of AVI-7288 need to be completed in monkeys to determine its efficacy after longer delays in treatment and after inoculation with other variants of Marburg virus.


AVI-7288 for Marburg Virus in Nonhuman Primates and Humans

Alison E. Heald, M.D., Jay S. Charleston, Ph.D., Patrick L. Iversen, Ph.D., Travis K. Warren, Ph.D., Jay B. Saoud, Ph.D., Mohamed Al-Ibrahim, M.B., Ch.B., Jay Wells, B.S., Kelly L. Warfield, Ph.D., Dana L. Swenson, Ph.D., Lisa S. Welch, B.S., Peter Sazani, Ph.D., Michael Wong, M.D., Diane Berry, Ph.D., Edward M. Kaye, M.D., and Sina Bavari, Ph.D.

N Engl J Med 2015; 373:339-348

July 23, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa141034

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Alison E. Heald, M.D (2015). Investigational Drug Shows Promise In Treating Marburg Hemorrhagic Fever 

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