If you have ever wondered how infectious disease treatment developments and trends have evolved, you are in luck. A new report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) offers insight into how these trends have shaped our lives. Among other topics, it explores how vaccines and antibodies have been developed to treat the leading causes of death and disability around the world.
Biological treatments such as monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) can offer new therapies to patients suffering from infectious diseases. Unlike vaccines, which target the host immune system, mAbs can be administered directly to the patient. They also provide long-lasting protective immunity.
However, there are many challenges in developing mAbs for the treatment of infectious disease. The following review highlights recent developments and trends. These will help determine the strengths and weaknesses of biological treatments.
Anti-toxin mAb therapies limit damage to the host and bacterial virulence. For example, a humanized mAb targeting anthrax toxin has limited bacteremic infection. This is achieved by endotoxin neutralization. Also, a mAb directed against a biofilm has been demonstrated to reduce its formation. A combination of these therapeutics may improve the immune response and the elimination of the infection.
Despite recent advances, there are still many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of mAbs for infectious diseases. Developing a better understanding of pathogen biology will be key to advancing these therapies. In addition, improved pre-clinical studies are necessary to investigate the therapeutic potential of mAbs.
COVID-19 is a serious viral respiratory disease that affects a large number of people. It causes acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and can lead to multi-organ failure. However, with effective antiviral treatment, the duration of illness and complications are reduced.
Treatment of COVID-19 depends on the severity of the infection. Patients with milder illness can be treated at home, while those with more severe cases may require hospitalization. Some patients may also develop cardiogenic shock.
Several different types of antiviral medications are available for COVID-19. Antiviral drugs limit the production of new viruses inside the host cell. In addition, some patients will develop neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 after treatment.
Clinical researchers have made significant progress on COVID-19. A number of different treatments have been developed, including mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). These cells have been shown to reduce the severe inflammatory response of SARS-CoV-2. They also have powerful tissue repair functions.
There are a variety of noninvasive techniques that may be used to treat COVID-19, including non-invasive positive pressure ventilation and continuous positive airway pressure. Patients on these devices can be monitored by using continuous pulse oximetry.
The anti-TB drug pipeline is healthy, with several major classes of drugs repositioned or repurposed for active TB management. The focus of the research community is on prioritizing and evaluating promising drug regimens for effective treatment. In addition to the pharmaceutical industry and academia, non-profit organizations and the medical community are also engaged in collaborative initiatives.
The development of effective TB infectious disease treatment is complicated by the diversity of host responses and disease progression. This has impeded progress in drug discovery and prevention strategies. However, recent advances in TB therapeutics have the potential to contribute to the first three goals of active TB treatment: preventing the spread of infection, controlling infection and achieving a durable cure.
To address these challenges, a new paradigm of pan-TB regimen development has gained momentum in the past five to ten years. This paradigm combines systems biology, computational tools and synergistic drug interactions.
Despite a strong drug candidate pipeline, the need for more clinical trials and drug combinations remains high. A new paradigm is required to evaluate and prioritize the growing number of drug candidates.
Despite massive progress in reducing the global number of HIV infections, deaths from AIDS remain very high. In addition, many of the countries most impacted by the epidemic continue to have significant increases in the number of HIV infections.
Fortunately, the global prevalence of HIV infection among adults has leveled off since 2001. However, new findings suggest that the risk of new HIV infections is increasing for gay men globally.
This trend in HIV prevalence is particularly pronounced in Sub-Saharan Africa. As of the end of 2009, there were over 3.9 million HIV-infected people in this region.
Compared with other regions, the rate of HIV-related deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa is lower, but the share of the population that is dying from HIV continues to increase. The decrease in AIDS-related deaths is due to the scale-up of antiretroviral treatment (ART) and the development of a vaccine.
ART has become an essential part of the response to the AIDS epidemic. It has reduced HIV infection rates by 60%, saving 1.2 million lives a year.
MRNA vaccines are an innovative form of vaccination. Unlike conventional vaccines, these vaccines have higher efficacy and safety. They can also be easily produced and can be safely administered via non-viral delivery.
Various infectious diseases are becoming more common in recent years. Besides, mRNA vaccines have the potential to improve the body’s immune system. This may lead to more effective and affordable disease treatments. Several companies are developing mRNA-based vaccines to combat the most commonly encountered infections. The market for mRNA-based vaccines is expected to grow in the coming years.
Despite a growing market for mRNA-based vaccines, there are still a number of hurdles. One of the biggest concerns is the high cost of testing mRNA-based vaccines in clinical trials. However, several players are working to reduce the costs of testing vaccines.
Researchers are exploring ways to create mRNA-based vaccines without altering the natural function of mRNA. In addition, researchers are looking into ways to speed up the production process.
Among the many mRNA-based vaccines being developed are those for influenza, cytomegalovirus, and Zika virus. Other potential targets include drug-resistant malaria, rabies, and Lyme disease.
SARS-CoV-2 infects alveolar epithelial cells. Infection occurs in two ways: via phagocytosis of the infected epithelial cell or through escape from lysosome. Both methods are associated with an inflammatory pathway, which is sustained by IFNg-secreting T cells. The findings also suggest that tissue-resident alveolar macrophages may play a role in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Previously, SARS-CoV-2 has been detected by immunofluorescence microscopy and smFISH, which detects the negative-strand transcripts of SARS-CoV-2. Alveolar macrophages containing SARS-CoV-2 are present in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia. They form a positive feedback loop with T cells, promoting alveolitis. However, the mechanisms of infection and the resulting alveolar inflammation are not known. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the composition and function of alveolar macrophages.
We performed flow cytometry and differential expression analysis to identify the cellular population that comprises the alveolar macrophages. Alveolar macrophages are divided into two subsets based on the expression of CD206. High-abundance CD206hi alveolar macrophages are found in healthy controls, while low-abundance CD206lo alveolar macrophages are found only in patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Vaccines for new variants
The field of vaccines for new variants in infectious disease treatment continues to evolve. A number of new formulas have emerged in recent years, demonstrating promising results in early clinical trials. These results have prompted several biotechnology firms to pursue commercialization of mRNA vaccines. In addition, multilateral initiatives are investing billions of dollars to expand production facilities worldwide.
One of the more promising approaches to developing mRNA vaccines is self-amplifying mRNAs. These vaccines are derived from engineered genomes and generate multiple copies of an antigen-encoding mRNA. As these mRNAs circulate in the body, they induce the host’s immune system to express high levels of the heterologous gene. This results in stronger immune responses than conventional vaccines.
Another approach to developing mRNA vaccines is to modify mRNA by adding nucleosides to avoid recognition by innate immune sensors. However, this strategy does not guarantee safety. For example, modified mRNA-based vaccines were shown to protect guinea pigs from Ebola virus disease.
Another method to improve the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines is to incorporate 5′ and 3′ untranslated regions into the mRNA “code”. This results in increased translation efficiency, which allows for greater delivery of the vaccine into the body.
Vaccines for pre-existing immunity
Vaccines for pre-existing immunity in infectious disease treatment have made tremendous progress in recent years. Vaccines have saved thousands of lives and are effective against a range of diseases. However, they still face some challenges. These include a limited supply of doses and a lack of public support.
Global competition for the limited supply of doses has motivated many countries to increase their production capabilities. Many are investing billions in new vaccine production facilities. The World Health Organization has set a 70 percent coverage target for all countries by mid-2022.
In high-income countries, vaccination rates per capita are higher and the estimated number of deaths averted by each vaccine is higher. Lower-income countries, however, have a lower estimated number of deaths averted per vaccine and have a poorer vaccine coverage.
Currently, there are thirty vaccines approved for general use by the majority of countries. A significant number of these vaccines were developed by private pharmaceutical firms and university labs. Typically, government funding covers the early stages of development.
In addition to providing protection against certain pathogens, vaccines have potential uses for cancer prophylaxis and elimination of allergens. Despite their successes, the development of vaccines for pre-existing immunity in infectious diseases continues to face challenges.
The infectious diseases team combines knowledge in biotechnology, small-molecule chemistry, pathogenesis, and immunology to provide treatment methods for companies and organizations that are innovating within the infectious disease sector.
Our integrated team can provide strategic IP services for companies and organizations involved in innovation in the infectious disease sector. Our services include patent portfolio strategy and freedom-of-operate analysis (including design around counseling for diagnostics and treatment), patentability analyses and patent procurement, licensing, and cooperative research and development agreements. We also provide litigation support (including at the USITC).
We have extensive experience in the following areas:
- Anti-infectives including:
- Antibiotics and antibacterials
- Virulence markers
- Personalized medicine
- Diagnostic tests