ATLANTA—Dr. Richard Plemper, Distinguished University Professor in the Institute for Biomedical Sciences at Georgia State University, has been awarded a five-year, $3.65 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop antiviral therapeutics for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections.
RSV is highly contagious and is a major cause of infant hospitalization from infectious diseases. RSV is responsible worldwide for more than three million hospitalizations and 60,000 deaths in children under 5 years of age annually. In addition to young children, older adults and patients with preexisting health conditions are at risk of severe RSV pneumonia. No vaccine protection or safe and effective antiviral treatments are available.
“Recognizing the urgent unmet clinical need for efficacious, cost-effective and well-tolerated RSV therapeutics, my lab has launched an anti-RSV drug development program,” Plemper said.
In their previous studies, the researchers have discovered two orally efficacious RSV drug candidates that target the viral polymerase, a virus-specific protein complex essential for replication of the viral genome and expression of viral proteins.
“With the support of this award, we can subject the lead inhibitor classes to a preclinical characterization and de-risking program that will identify a therapeutic candidate suitable for clinical trials,” Plemper said. “Pursuing chemically different types of inhibitors simultaneously in this project allows us to proactively mitigate the risk of early-stage failure or lay the foundation for future application as companion drugs.”
View an abstract of the grant, R01 AI153400-01, at the NIH’s Project ReRORTer website.