The possible emergence of a pandemic influenza virus in swine with the ability to infect humans is a serious concern for the swine (pork) industry. Consequently, improving the effectiveness of vaccines to prevent or reduce the severity of swine flu is of primary importance to swine producers and health officials. IMT504 has that potential.
Swine flu is a respiratory disease of swine (pigs) caused by multiple subtypes of type A influenza viruses. The virus is endemic in swine populations in North and South America, Asia, and Europe. The clinical signs may include fever, lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, coughing, sneezing, nasal and ocular discharge, conjunctivitis and labored breathing, although all of these signs do not occur in all infected animals. Clinical signs appear in approximately 2-3 days and the morbidity rate can be extremely high.
Like influenza viruses in humans and other animals, swine flu viruses change constantly. Pigs can be infected by avian (bird) influenza and human influenza viruses as well as swine influenza viruses. When influenza viruses from different species infect swine, the viruses can reassort (i.e. swap genes) and new viruses that are a mix of swine, human and/or avian influenza viruses can emerge. Over the years, different variations of swine flu viruses have emerged. At this time, there are three main influenza A virus subtypes that have been isolated in pigs in the United States: H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2.
Current Unmet Medical Need
Flu vaccines for swine are helpful, but the current vaccines are nowhere near 100% effective. Sometimes the vaccine used may not protect against the virus or viruses circulating.
In addition, current vaccines for swine influenza are inadequate due to their:
-Limited amount of protection (efficacy)
-Limited period of protection due to influenza virus drift and shift (influenza virus strains are constantly mutating and changing to evade host immune responses)
-Limited duration of antibody response (antibodies wane over time and protection is lost; hence, the need for repeated annual vaccines)
-Vaccines may not be available for all viruses, or combinations of viruses, present in an area. A poor match between the HA component of the vaccine and the circulating field virus will compromise protection
PAH Medical Solution and Competitive Advantage
IMT504 has the potential to provide a swine influenza vaccine that has:
-Vastly greater levels of protection (much higher antibody levels and longer duration of antibody protection)
-Broader cross-protection against other strains of influenza (heterologous protection)
-Prolonged period of protection
-Superior safety profile
-Could be produced more efficiently than current vaccines (antigen dose-sparing)