Siberia | Technology & innovation | Finance, business
In Siberia, new smallpox drug slated for launch next year
7 Feb '14
Scientists at Novosibirsk’s Vektor State Center of Virology and Biotechnology in Siberia have unveiled plans to start production of their innovative NIOKh-14 smallpox drug one year from now, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a statement by Vektor CEO Alexander Sergeyev.
“Production is tentatively scheduled for next year; where it will be located has yet to be decided,” Mr. Sergeyev said.
In animal tests, the Vektor scientists are not using monkeys as is standard across the world. According to the CEO, monkeys are too expensive for a large enough number of tests which are required to corroborate initial results. In addition, monkeys are administered smallpox specimens intravenously while in the world of humans, man contracts the disease through inhalation. To contract it likewise monkeys have to receive “millions of times” more viral particles than man, Mr. Sergeyev explained.
The Siberian researchers have found what they claim is a better solution by testing the drug on a special kind of mouse, designated ICR. “The animal’s sensitivity to the smallpox virus is comparable to that of man,” the Vektor CEO said.
According to Vektor, preclinical trials of the NIOKh-14 are over, with its safety, effectiveness and pharmacokinetics verified. The Novosibirsk center claims the NIOKh-14’s efficiency is on a par with the ST-246, the widely known U.S.-developed analog.