Coronavirus (COVID-19) kills by inducing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). According to a recent article in The Lancet, 12 out of 41 (29%) COVID-19 patients from Wuhan, China developed ARDS and 6 ultimately died from coronavirus-induced ARDS.
Vasomune’s lead medication, AV-001, is being developed as a new therapeutic approach to pathogen-induced ARDS. It involves targeting the lung vasculature. In particular, AV-001 is designed to activate the Tie2 receptor in the lungs and trigger a multifactorial response to restore normal barrier defense. In ARDS, vascular leakage causes fluids (edema) to build up in the lungs, decreasing gas exchange and leading to organ failure as well as death. Our drug focuses on modulating the host vascular response instead of targeting the pathogen itself, giving time for the body to mount an effective immune response to clear the virus.
In a pivotal proof-of-concept animal study, 12 daily injections of AV-001 significantly improved survival, reduced pulmonary edema and increased lung function compared to untreated mice in a lethal model of influenza (Hkx31; H3N2). Importantly, administration of AV-001 increased survival independent of the type of viral strain and was effective against (Hkx31; H3N2), PR8 (H1N1) and 2009 swine-origin pandemic H1N1 (Sugiyama et al., 2015) viral strains.
AV-001 is an investigational medicine that is transitioning soon to the clinic. At present, AV-001 has not been approved for clinical use by regulatory agencies. Read more about the coronavirus in the New England Journal of Medicine in the article entitled, “Another Decade, Another Coronavirus” (Perlman et al., 2020).