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Amarillo Biosciences to Explore Low-Dose Oral Interferon Therapeutics in China as a Line of Defense Against Coronavirus and Other Viral Indications

February, 14 2020

Amarillo, TX, Feb. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via NEWMEDIAWIRE -- Amarillo Biosciences, Inc. (“ABI” or the “Company”), (AMAR), a diversified healthcare company, today announced that its China licensing partner, Xiamen Weiyang Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Xiamen Weiyang”), has begun initiating the sharing of proprietary clinical research information with health officials in China to potentially explore the effect of ABI’s low-dose oral interferon in combating the spread of novel coronavirus, now officially known as Covid-19, along with other related viral indications such as influenza. There are currently no approved therapeutics or vaccines for Covid-19.

While dialogue with Chinese health officials are still in its early stages, Xiamen Weiyang will focus on seeking appropriate regulatory channels in which to either fast track formalized clinical research trials for low-dose oral IFN-α, or at the very least expedite the development process with Chinese health authorities to pave the way for proactive studies in preparation of future similar viral outbreaks. Xiamen Weiyang will work closely in conjunction with ABI’s subsidiary branch office in Taiwan, where the Company already has a local presence and maintains a medical facility staffed with specialist physicians and senior research personnel ready to deploy when necessary.

The threat from the novel coronavirus outbreak has recently prompted the China National Health Commission to formally recommend the use of anti-AIDS drugs and inhalable interferon. Several antiviral treatments including ribavirin, interferons and the anti-HIV combination lopinavir/ritonavir or remdesivir are under investigation for use against MERS-CoV infection and have been initiated against the Covid-19. This has brought renewed attention to the importance of delivering interferon in a safe and effective manner to treat Covid-19 and other various viral indications not just in China, but globally.

"Given the tragic viral outbreaks throughout the past decade and resulting death toll, there is no doubt that virus prevention and effective treatment is an urgent and growing public health issue for the foreseeable future," said Stephen T. Chen, Ph.D. and Chief Executive Officer of ABI. “While the recent novel coronavirus situation highlights the need for better preparedness, it also brings to light the imperative need for safe, viable treatment solutions such as low-dose oral interferon as part of a first line of defense to prevent the proliferation of Covid-19 and other viral diseases such as influenza where in the U.S. alone, more than 10,000 people have already died from the flu and unreported flu-related illnesses this season.”

Interferon and its various sub-types are key modulators in our innate immune response to viral infection. Almost every cell in the body can produce interferon when under attack, but interferon seems to be especially important in the cells that form the frontline defense with the outside world, such as the oral and nasal mucosa. Its anti-viral effects include inhibition of viral replication, destruction of virus-infected cells, and activation of other, important immune cells. Interferon-alpha (IFN-α), specifically, has anti-proliferative effects which can be targeted at rapidly spreading viruses or rapidly dividing cancer cells.

ABI has been a leader in the development of low-dose oral IFN-α and is uniquely positioned to develop safe, low-dose interferon therapeutics in China with its licensing partner, Xiamen Weiyang. We have amassed 30 years of expertise in the use of low-dose oral IFN-α for applications ranging from the common cold and warts to cancers, HIV and hepatitis. The therapeutic diversity of IFN-α stems from its ability to induce the transcription of hundreds of genes that stimulate the immune system. Our animal and human clinical trials have shown promise to deliver equal or superior efficacy to the high-dose systemic IFN-α currently available, but with none of the adverse effects. In clinical studies, ABI’s proprietary oral IFN-α formulation lozenges exert both local and systemic effects, but at such low doses that the adverse effects which plague high-dose injectable IFN are not an issue. In fact, low-dose oral IFN-α has even been shown to reverse some of the adverse effects caused by high-dose IFN such as in thrombocytopenia. And because of ABI’s several patents for the treatment of thrombocytopenia using orally administered IFN-α, our company is in prime position to meet this need.

Yahoo 2020/2/14

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