Yellow fever, a hemorrhagic disease that is common in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, infects about 200,000 people per year and causes an estimated 30,000 deaths.
Yellow fever, a hemorrhagic disease that is common in South America and sub-Saharan Africa, infects about 200,000 people per year and causes an estimated 30,000 deaths. While there is a vaccine for yellow fever, it can’t be given to some people because of the risk of side effects, and there are no approved treatments for the disease.
An international team of researchers, led by MIT Professor Ram Sasisekharan, has now developed a potential treatment for yellow fever. Their drug, an engineered monoclonal antibody that targets the virus, has shown success in early-stage clinical trials in Singapore.
This class of antibodies holds promise for treating a variety of infectious diseases, but it usually takes several years to develop and test them. The MIT-led researchers demonstrated that they could design, produce, and begin clinical trials of their antibody drug within seven months.
Their approach, which condenses the timeline by performing many of the steps necessary for drug development in parallel, could also be applied to developing new treatments for Covid-19, says Sasisekharan, the Alfred H. Caspary Professor of Biological Engineering and Health Sciences and Technology. He adds that a potential Covid-19 antibody treatment, developed using this approach in a process that took just four months, has shown no adverse events in healthy volunteers in phase I clinical trials, and phase 3 trials are expected to start in early August in Singapore.
Read more at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Image: “Traditional drug development processes are very linear, and they take many years,” says MIT Professor Ram Sasisekharan, pictured here. “If you’re going to get something to humans fast, you can’t do it linearly, because then the best-case scenario for testing in humans is a year to 18 months. If you need to develop a drug in six months or less, then a lot of these things need to happen in parallel.” (Photo Credit: Bryce Vickmark