WNV Treatment Trial Begins

GenoMed, a medical genomics company, is seeking horses to participate in a free trial to test a medical protocol for treating West Nile virus (WNV). David W. Moskowitz, MD, MA, FACP, chairman, CEO, and chief medical officer for GenoMed, said the treatment protocol has already been successful in limited human trials.

The treatment uses either angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors if the horse's blood pressure is high or angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) if it is normal to low every 12 hours to regulate the horse's immune response to the virus (veterinarians check the horse's blood pressure and dose accordingly). Both medications are already FDA-approved and are used to treat high blood pressure in human patients.

Current treatment for WNV includes supportive care, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and WNV antibody serum (for more information see www.TheHorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=5360).

"We think that the animals (and humans) who get into trouble from the virus do so because they overreact to it," Moskowitz said, "If anything, their immune response is too strong, not too weak, as is still claimed for humans. This explains why most of the people who die of WNV were so healthy beforehand."

A study published in the April 2004 issue of Current Topics in Medical Chemistry, which evaluated GenoMed's treatment protocol on eight human patients diagnosed with WNV, showed that seven patients had signs of improvement within 48 hours after the initial treatment.

Moskowitz said two veterinarians working with Raptor (an avian rescue group) have been using the treatment protocol in birds for the past two years with some success (often birds infected with WNV are found in very poor condition). He said there are no equine veterinarians using the treatment protocol right now.

He added, "Anybody can get involved in the trial by downloading the protocol from our web site, www.genomed.com (there's a link for WNV near the bottom of the screen)." For trial specifics and dosages, he encourages horse owners/veterinarians wanting to participate in the study to contact him directly at dwmoskowitz@genomed.com (the horse owner's veterinarian must be involved).

"This approach, which we've applied for a 'use' patent on, may work against most viruses in vertebrates, including horses," explained Moskowitz, "It may work against most viruses in humans as well, and is included in the Project BioShield II Act of 2005." (According to the National Institutes of Health, the BioShield II Act of 2005 was designed to provide incentives to increase research by private sector entities to develop medical countermeasures to prevent, detect, identify, contain, and treat illnesses, including those associated with biological, chemical, nuclear, or radiological weapons attacks or an infectious disease outbreak.)

For more information on how to take part in the study click here.

About the Author

Chad Mendell

Chad Mendell is the former Managing Editor for TheHorse.com .

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