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Hemispherx Announces Biosecurity Program To Potentially Reduce Pandemic Influenza Threat

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 26, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma (NYSE:HEB) announced that at the 2 nd International Conference on Biodefense and Natural Disasters meeting in Orlando, FL on August 22, 2013, Professor Dr. Juergen A. Richt, DVM, Ph.D., a scientific advisor to Hemispherx, described his experiments in human lung cells evidencing that Alferon N Injection®, the only multi-species, natural interferon approved in the U.S. for the treatment of human refractory HPV genital warts, is biologically active, in low doses, against various classes of viruses occurring naturally in animals and humans. Dr. Richt is the Director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence for Emerging and Zoonotic Animal Diseases, the Regents Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University, and an Eminent Scholar of Kansas Bioscience Association.

The increasing prevalence of oseltamivir-resistant Influenza A viruses, particularly H7N9, has been widely reported and is due in large part to the fact that just a single-step mutation in the neuraminidase gene of this genetically unstable virus makes it resistant to oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Relenza). Dr. Richt reported on this instability in 2010 in the peer-reviewed Journal of General Virology, an international journal (" Viral reassortment and transmission after co-infection of pigs with classical H1N1 and triple-reassortant H3N2 swine influenza viruses", .)

Hemispherx believes that the results of Dr. Richt's recent Kansas State University experiments, coupled with his work on reassortment and other published studies, set the stage for evaluating the possibility that mutational changes and reassortment could be prevented in animals by the use of type I interferon and/or a type I interferon inducer.

Professor Richt's diverse experimental program, sponsored in part by the US Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, European Union, US Department of Agriculture, and private entities, focuses on molecular mechanisms and pathogenesis of emerging pathogens in livestock populations as a critical first step in promoting and causing human disease, including various zoonotic viruses such as highly pathogenic influenza viruses, H7N9 or H5N1(i.e., zoonotic agents).

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