PHILADELPHIA, June 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hemispherx Biopharma (NYSE MKT:HEB) announced that it has confirmed that one of its advanced stage biological products, Alferon® N, inhibits replication of the MERS virus in vitro. Chien-Te (Kent) Tseng, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, led the Alferon® N MERS-CoV experiments. Calu-3 cells were treated with Alferon® N 24 hours prior to infection with MERS-CoV. At 36 hours, supernatants were collected from cells and the virus titers were thereafter measured. Alferon® N showed significant dose-dependent inhibitory effects, thus suggesting the potential of Alferon® N as a preventative. Laboratory (in vitro) studies of potential antiviral agents are not necessarily predictive of clinical benefits. The Company supplied the Alferon N, but was not directly involved in the conduct of the experimentation. The results were forwarded to Hemispherx at the conclusion of the experiments for its review and formal publication is pending. The ability of Alferon N to inhibit replication of the MERS-CoV was also recently shown by experiments conducted at the National Institutes of Health ( http://www.hemispherx.net/content/investor/default.asp?goto=781).
MERS-CoV is a recently emerged human coronavirus responsible for the lethal pulmonary syndrome known as MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). Globally, over 630 laboratory-confirmed cases of infection with MERS-CoV have officially been reported to WHO, including over 190 deaths. ( http://www.who.int/csr/don/2014_05_23_mers/en/). Hemispherx plans to expand its MERS testing program.
About Alferon® NAlferon® N is the only natural source, multi-species alpha interferon currently approved for sale in the U.S. Alferon® N is approved in the U.S. only for the treatment of refractory or recurring external genital warts caused by human papilloma virus in patients 18 years of age or older. About The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston(UTMB) Established in 1891 as the University of Texas Medical Department, UTMB has grown from one building, 23 students and 13 faculty members to a modern health science center with more than 70 major buildings, more than 2,500 students and more than 1,000 faculty.