| 15 August 2016
SAN DIEGO, CA: Aethlon Medical, Inc. has announced that its researchers have completed in vitro studies that demonstrate the rapid capture of Zika virus by the Aethlon Hemopurifier®. The Hemopurifier® is a leading broad-spectrum treatment countermeasure against viral pathogens that are untreatable with or resistant to antiviral drug therapies. At present, the immunotherapeutic technology is being advanced through an FDA approved human feasibility study. The Zika studies, which were conducted with small-scale versions of the Hemopurifier®, demonstrated a 95% clearance of Zika virus from cell culture fluid in 5.5 hours and an approximate 50% clearance of Zika from human blood serum in 5 hours.
The studies were conducted with the Zika viral strain that has recently spread from South America to ravage Puerto Rico and likely responsible for the first wave of infections that have begun to occur in the United States. Zika has been declared a global health threat by the World Health Organization and is not addressed with a proven drug or vaccine therapy. According to the CDC, more than 7,300 Americans have been diagnosed with Zika virus infection, including 1,825 individuals in the continental U.S. and Hawaii. Researchers have linked Zika virus infection with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a severe neurological disorder that can cause paralysis. In pregnant women, Zika can cause Microcephaly, which results in babies being born with a small head and underdeveloped brain. Zika infection has also been associated with Arthrogryposis, a condition that results in deformities of joints in the arms and legs of newborns.
"As a result of our research team's validation of Zika capture, we have further reinforced the potential of our Hemopurifier® to be a first line of defense against the growing list of infectious viral pathogens that are not addressed with traditional drug or vaccine therapies," stated Aethlon Chairman and CEO, Jim Joyce.
Aethlon also disclosed that it entered into an agreement with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to validate the in vitro capture of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was discovered to be infectious to man in 2012 and has an approximate 30% mortality rate. Like Zika virus, MERS-CoV is not addressed with a proven drug or vaccine. The agreement is based on the modification of a contract milestone underlying the Company's participation in DARPA's Dialysis-Like Therapeutics program.
Broad-Spectrum Virus Capture Validations
Zika virus is the most recent of four significant arboviruses that have spread to the Western Hemisphere. It follows Dengue, which first emerged aggressively in the 1990s; West Nile virus, which emerged in 1999; and Chikungunya, which emerged in 2013. "Arbovirus" is a descriptive term applied to hundreds of predominantly RNA viruses that are transmitted by arthropods, most notably through mosquitoes. As a result of the Zika study, the Hemopurifier® has now demonstrated the capture of each of these four arboviruses.
Beyond Zika, Dengue, Chikungunya and West Nile virus, the Hemopurifier has also been validated to capture Monkey pox, which serves as models for human Smallpox infection. Specific to pandemic influenza threats, the Hemopurifier has been validated to capture the H5N1 avian flu virus, H1N1 swine flu virus, and the reconstructed 1918 influenza virus, which represents a model for the strain of influenza that killed an estimated 50 million victims.
Human Treatment Experiences
In regards to human studies, Hemopurifier therapy has previously been administered to individuals infected with Ebola, Hepatitis C and HIV. In the case of Ebola, the successful treatment of a comatose physician with multiple organ failure contributed to the emergency use clearance of the Hemopurifier® by the FDA and the government of Canada.