Dengue Antiviral Candidate Found Efficacious and Safe
A novel antiviral may soon become available to treat dengue infections, which impacts millions of people and is threatening people in south Florida and Puerto Rico in 2023.
While two dengue vaccines are authorized in certain countries, no antiviral is commercially available.
To address this need, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson today announced the publication of new data in the journal Nature, showing that an early-stage clinical candidate (JNJ-1802) provides strong protection against dengue in non-human primates and mice.
This first-in-class antiviral was also shown to be safe and well tolerated in a Phase 1 first-in-human clinical study.
The new data indicates JNJ-1802 is effective against all four dengue serotypes in mouse models and provides strong protection against two tested serotypes (DENV-1 and -2) in non-human primates.
Furthermore, this new research supports the phase 2 clinical development of JNJ-1802 for the prevention and treatment of dengue.
"The unprecedented rise in dengue outbreaks throughout the past years offers a glimpse of what lies ahead as climate change continues to put more people and communities at risk of dengue," said Ruxandra Draghia-Akli, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Global Public Health R&D at Janssen Research & Development, LLC, in a press release on March 15, 2023.
"We know an antiviral will be critical to addressing the unmet needs today and tomorrow, and we are committed to developing our breakthrough compound to expand the toolset available to prevent and treat dengue."
Dengue is a significant and growing global health challenge impacting millions of people.
As many as 400 million people contract the dengue virus each year, and the resulting illness is one of the leading causes of hospitalization among children in countries in Latin America and Asia.
For example, in 2022, countries like Singapore, Nepal, and Bangladesh experienced some of their worst outbreaks, while non-endemic countries like France reported their first locally-acquired cases.
And reinfection is possible due to the presence of four dengue serotypes.
Johnson & Johnson uses artificial intelligence to forecast dengue hotspots and build predictive models for dengue incidence to accelerate trial recruitment and site sourcing to support the Company's clinical development program.
Additionally, the Company launched the Satellite Center for Global Health Discovery at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore in June 2022, which is focused on accelerating early-stage discovery research to address the growing challenge of flaviviruses, including dengue. To learn more, visit jnj.com/global-public-health/discovery-centers.